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When was the last time you took a rest day? If you feel run down, chances are you aren’t over training — you’re probably under-recovering!
It’s helpful to think about recovery as an important part of your swim training plan, just like your workouts! Proper recovery, which includes rest, nutrition, stretching and more, is what allows you to make the gains that improve your speed in the water. We like the mantra “train hard, recover harder.”
Check out our tips to boost your recovery both before and after your next swim workout!
1. Warm Up Correctly
Your recovery starts before your workout! Think of your warm up as movement preparation. Ensuring your body is ready to go will optimize your performance and minimize your risk for injury.
Incorporating a dynamic warmup before you start swimming stretches your muscles and gets your blood flowing, allowing you to move more efficiently and reduce strain on your body, which translates into faster recovery!
You’ve probably been told all about the benefits of stretching — but do you actually do it? You should incorporate 2 types of stretching into your routine: dynamic and static.
Dynamic stretching is a great way to warm up before your workout. It usually involves holding stretches for short periods (5-10 seconds), coupled with light aerobic work and low impact exercises that help activate your muscles.
You can check out tons of dynamic warm up suggestions and drills in the dryland section of the MySwimPro app!
After your workout, spend a few minutes doing static stretches! Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and focus on the muscle groups you worked the hardest during your workout. Breathe deeply to help bring your heart rate down.
Related: 5 Stretches for Swimmers
We recommend avoiding too much static stretching before a swim. Studies have shown that static stretching can negatively affect your power in the water if done before a swim!
3. Focus on Nutrition
All of your hard work in the pool and gym are for naught if you aren’t eating right.
It’s important to eat enough calories and hydrate appropriately to promote muscle repair and growth — both before and after your workouts. Check out our interview with Registered Dietitian Maggie Evans for tips about what to eat — and when — both before and after workouts!
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4. Prioritize Rest & Sleep
According to a 2019 study, increasing sleep helped swimmers improve their reaction times, turn times and kick efficiency.
Sleep isn’t just about resting your heart, brain, and muscles. During deep sleep, your pituitary gland releases human growth hormone to help repair and build muscle. No sleep = no gains!
Adequate sleep also ensures you have enough energy to make it through your workouts (and the rest of your day) and boosts your immune system. Strive for 7 to 9 hours per night!
5. Incorporate Active Recovery
On your rest days, it can be helpful to do a short, low intensity workout to keep your body moving. Staying active can be more beneficial than taking a day to lie around on the couch (even though that is very tempting!).
On your active recovery days, you can try going for a walk or hike, riding your bike or doing some yoga. If it’s low impact, it’s fair game!
If you choose to head to the pool for active recovery, avoid spiking your heart rate too high, and focus more on gradual aerobic swim sets. Many athletes who compete in high-impact sports, like running, choose swimming for their active recovery.
What is your favorite way to rest and recover between workouts? Share in the comments! Get 25% off REJOY’s plant-based recovery drinks with code MYSWIMPRO >