How often should you train?
How much rest do you need?
How should you rest - doing nothing, or taking some easy / light training?
This study compared passive recovery (doing nothing) or active recovery (easy cycling plus resistance training) after football matches.
It is interesting to note that there was no evidence that active recovery promoted faster recovery - they might just as well have done nothing it seems?
There are several interesting things to note:
- Playing a match led to immediate decreases in performance in e.g. sprint performance, jumping and strength;
- The match also produced markers of muscle damage;
- The first thing that recovered was sprint performance;
- The last thing that came back to normal was jump performance which was still diminished even when muscle soreness had disappeared;
- So, even when you are no longer sore, you may not have fully recovered.
- The effect was not cumulative - i.e., the performance after the 2nd match was not worse than after the first.
It would be interesting to hear Dr Duncan's views on this one!
Neuromuscular Fatigue and Recovery in Elite Female Soccer: Effects of Active Recovery.
PURPOSE:: To investigate the time course of recovery from neuromuscular fatigue and some biochemical changes between two female soccer matches separated by an active or passive recovery regime.
METHODS:: Countermovement jump (CMJ), sprint performance, maximal isokinetic knee flexion and extension, creatine kinase (CK), urea, uric acid, and perceived muscle soreness were measured in 17 elite female soccer players before, immediately after, 5, 21, 45, 51, and 69 h after a first match, and immediately after a second match. Eight players performed active recovery (submaximal cycling at 60% of HRpeak and low-intensity resistance training at < 50% 1RM) 22 and 46 h after the first match.
RESULTS:: In response to the first match, a significant decrease in sprint performance (-3.0 +/- 0.5%), CMJ (-4.4 +/- 0.8%), peak torque in knee extension (-7.1 +/- 1.9%) and flexion (-9.4 +/- 1.8%), and an increase in CK (+ 152 +/- 28%), urea (15 +/- 2), uric acid (+ 11 +/- 2%), and muscle soreness occurred. Sprint ability was first to return to baseline (5 h) followed by urea and uric acid (21 h), isokinetic knee extension (27 h) and flexion (51 h), CK, and muscle soreness (69 h), whereas CMJ was still reduced at the beginning of the second match. There were no significant differences in the recovery pattern between the active and passive recovery groups. The magnitude of the neuromuscular and biochemical changes after the second match was similar to that observed after the first match.
CONCLUSION:: The present study reveals differences in the recovery pattern of the various neuromuscular and biochemical parameters in response to a female soccer match. The active recovery had no effects on the recovery pattern of the four neuromuscular and three biochemical parameters.