Workout Recovery

Competing in the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta In England this summer was a excellent adventure for me. I waited over 10 years to once again compete in the 2nd highest level of competition and go up against the reigning Henley Champions of 2010 in the 1st round, Harvard University Varsity Crew.

I trained very hard for 4 months and logged over 20 hours of workouts a week. Roworx members witnessed and participated in these extremely demanding workouts and covered thousands of meters with me during each rowing class session. However, after these workouts I neglected to let my body rest and did not do the necessary workout recovery routines that I usually do after hard workouts. Therefore, injuries were looming and it was just a matter of time before I suffered a few injuries due to tight muscles and lack of better nutrition. Coming back from England was a rude awakening for me as I suffered a bad upper/mid back injury due to tight hamstrings and lack off hydration during workouts. There was also the neglect I had for my body by not getting deep tissue massage at least once a month nor being treated with a session or two from the chiropractor. One of the best things you can do for fast effective recovery is simply stretching in the shower. The use of hot and especially cold water is also very important as discussed in the featured article below.


In a recent article In Rowing News Magazine, Topher Bordeau gives expert advice through research on the best ways to recover.

Chill Out

More than anything else we do after training, the shower marks the intermission between the end of suffering and the beginning or recovery. And especially since worries over hot and humid conditions leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics reminded us of the restorative effects of cold-water immersion, many rowers and athletes have taken to turning the shower into part of the recovery process itself. Some rowers and athletes replace their post session shower with an ice bath while others just crank the shower dial to “cold” for their final few minutes of rinsing. Some swear by alternating stints of hot and cold water to alleviate soreness and promote recovery. But as it turns out, not all methods are good ones, especially if the next workout is both difficult and near. Recent research sheds some light on how and when to take your next plunge. Before we look further into the issue, it should be noted that in both studies, when researchers refer to “immersion,” they mean just that: the subjects submerged themselves in hot or cold water. Standing under the shower doesn’t really do the trick.

Hot, Cold, or Both? Two years ago, researchers at the University of Western Australia’s School of Human Movement and Exercise Science wanted to see if they could measure the difference in the effectiveness of cold-water immersion vs. alternating hot an cold immersion on post workout recovery after exhaustive exercise…. The researchers found that in comparison to the control group and the alternating hot and cold water immersion group, the athletes who practiced cold-water immersion reported significantly lower muscle-soreness ratings and also suffered smaller losses in leg strength 48 hours after their testing. The cold-water treatment also helped athletes regain their original sprint speed faster, though the athletes who treated themselves with hot and cold water reported lower soreness scores 24 hours after exercise. Bottom line? If you want to recover as fast as possible, you only need to prepare one bath: a cold one!


Be Careful When You Chill

It’s important to realize that cold-water submersion isn’t an anytime, anywhere panacea, as evidenced at the James Cook Universtity’s Institute of Sport And Exercise in Townsville, Australia’s. The researchers running the study wanted to check out the effects of cold-water immersion on recovery from anaerobic (very hard training) cycling. They asked 17 active cyclists to take part in a randomized testing program that involved two testing sessions separated by between two and six days. The testing protocol involved two 30-second maximal efforts on a cycling ergometer, with one hour between efforts. During that hour, all athletes completed a 10-minute warm down, but then some immersed themselves in a cold-water bath for 15minutes and rested for the remainder while others rested for the remaining rest time. The researchers found that peak power, total work, and post-exercise blood lactate were significantly reduced in the group that immersed themselves in cold water when compared to the first exercise test. In the group that just rested, however, and stayed away from the cold-water immersion, there was no significant difference in performance on the two tests. In addition, maximal heart rate was lower in the cold-water immersion group when compared to their first test and to the control group. the researchers used their data to conclude that cold-water immersion caused a significant decrease in the second piece, which would indicate that immersion between sprint races or immediately prior to max effort workout might not be as beneficial as some of us would think.

Roworx offers over 20 group training classes every week specializing in Indoor Rowing. Whatever your passion is please remember to take care of your body in order to get the most out of your workouts! Visit in order to simply get the best nutrition in you body everyday. Most of all… Have Fun And Let’s Get Fit Together.

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Jack Nunn

Jack Nunn is the head trainer and owner of Roworx. Jack is a former national team rower who has competed in more than 100 triathlons, including 9 full Ironmans. He has created a system of rowing that prepares the whole body for both competition and fitness longevity.

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