Today’s easing of the lockdown restrictions sees thousands of gyms opening across the country with millions of people eager to dive back into an exercise routine.
However, after spending months away from the gym with limited equipment and options for our workouts, many people are wary about how their bodies will react to their return to the gym.
Though some people have maintained a consistent exercise routine in lockdown, gym workouts are likely to stress the body in different ways, leading to longer recovery times, soreness and a greater potential for injury.
In light of this, it’s now more important than ever to understand how to effectively recover post-workout to ensure the return to the gym is both safe and enjoyable.
Recovery is one of the most important aspects of any fitness regime, and few people understand this fact better than basketball players. The cardiovascular requirements of basketball coupled with the constant direction changes on the hard court mean that Britain’s top basketball players know every trick in the book to recover quickly and effectively.
With this in mind, The London Lions of the British Basketball League give their top muscle recovery hacks as the nation heads back to the gym:
Justin Robinson – the 2x league MVP and dynamic guard for the Lions has controlled the floor this season with his expert court vision, pinpoint passing and nimble agility on the court and talks on the importance of rest and recovery when working out at home:
Justin’s tip: Rest & ice
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. If you’re one of those people who think you “only need 5 hours,” you’re not giving your body enough time to recover and could be making yourself more prone to injuries in the future, so aim for 7-8 hours per night.
This way, you will be able to keep up with your workouts and will start to see some real results. Ice is the easiest way to reduce inflammation and help your muscles rest and recover post-workout. Using an ice pack on to sore muscle areas for around 20 minutes will help you recover faster and prepare for your next session.
DeAndre Liggins – ex-NBA player turned BBL star has made a real impact since entering the league this season. During his time in the NBA, DeAndre has played with some of the biggest names in basketball from Anthony Davis in New Orleans to LeBron James in Cleveland.
DeAndre’s tip: Cherry juice
Studies have shown consumption of tart cherry juice concentrate increases melatonin levels. As a bonus, tart cherry juice has been shown to do even more for athletes by reducing inflammation, reducing muscle damage, increasing cycling economy and maximum strength following high-intensity exercise.
This is a great hack for at home workout recovery as it is cheap and easy to find, but also one of the most effective ways in reducing inflammation.
Dirk Williams – A graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Williams brought his exciting game to the BBL in 2017 and since then has set the League alight with his versatile game.
In January 2018 with his Dunk of the Year, that saw him go full court, between the legs, before leaping over a Surrey Scorchers defender to slam home. He discusses the importance to rolling out your muscles post-workout:
Dirk’s tip: Roll out your muscles
Foam rollers are cheap and effective tools for breaking up knots and sore spots in your muscles, but even a tennis ball can be effective. Foam rolling breaks up scar tissue and knotting in your fascia, which is important because these knots are often the root cause of sore muscles and joints.
Spend a few minutes in the morning and evening rolling out sore spots makes such a difference when it comes to helping your muscles to recover quickly.
Kevin Ware – A defensive force and an athletic finisher at the rim, Kevin plays each game with the highest level of intensity. His resilience like no other, shown through his inspiring collegiate career, winning an NCAA title during his time at Louisville to then go on to play a key role in Georgia State’s best season in history. He highlights the need for protein in your diet to speed up recovery:
Kevin’s tip: Protein
Eating protein before you go to bed with help with post-exercise muscle recovery. Slow-digesting protein in a bedtime shake prolongs the duration of muscle protein synthesis, building muscles as you sleep.
A protein shake at bedtime enhances your quality of rest and fuels you for the day ahead, and eating a high-protein breakfast when you wake up can also help reduce food cravings throughout the day. Stick with healthy foods like lean meats, eggs, yogurt, and oatmeal!
Joe Ikhinmwin – team captain and 8 year veteran, Joe epitomises the spirit of the Lions. His drive is reflected in how he plays, a defensive sharp shooter with athletic ability to finish at the rim. He says:
Joe’s tip: Hydrate
Often overlooked because it’s so simple, but drinking water after a tough workout helps rid your body of toxins and prevent dehydration. This is important because dehydrated muscles can quickly become painful muscles, so be sure to drink a couple litres of water or more on days when you exercise.