1.) Program breathing into your training
Adding breath work into your training, especially programming it as a final block, is a great strategy to get a head start on the recovery process. Initially, I recommend starting with a simple exercise, such as Gray Cook’s
, in order to work on deep diaphragmatic breaths and 360-degree inhalation. Perform between 2 and 3 sets of 5-10 big breaths, in the nose and out of the mouth. Next, I would progress to more PRI (Postural Restoration Institute) based exercises, for example 90-90 balloon breathing (see photo), or bear breathing
. Lastly, I would make adjustments based on assessments of an individual’s infrasternal angle, pelvic positioning, and compensatory patterning.
2.) Go for a short walk post workout
Taking a 3-5 minute walk outside, immediately following training, is a great way to bring yourself down from a tough session and down regulate. Walking outside is especially advantageous if you lift in the morning due to the numerous benefits of early morning sunlight, including vitamin D and regulation of your circadian rhythm. When walking, focus on breathing, allowing your heart rate to drop back to a comfortable range.
Stretching post workout is probably the most common cooldown in the gym. Unfortunately, I believe some of the stretches, and the technique used, have some negative effects. It is important to focus on overactive muscles, such as the hip flexors, and unquestionably the lats. Using movement flows to open tight lines of tissue is a great option for a post workout cooldown as well. I have a specific Shinbox movement series, posted on my Instagram
, targeting the hips, glutes, and superficial front line that I am a huge fan of post exercise. I also am a big proponent of using ELDOA (see photo), performed for 5-8 breaths, to decompress the spine. I find ELDOA produces a huge parasympathetic effect when performed with intent, and paired with diaphragmatic breathing
Look for more articles from Tom in the weeks to come.