An Athlete’s Guide to Resting Up and Getting Back in the Game

At PREP Performance Center, we know how important an athlete’s sport is. It’s more than just a hobby – it’s a lifestyle that you’ve chosen to take on for yourself. While you may be eager to start training for your next tournament or competition as soon as one is complete, it is important to take time for proper rest and recovery. Letting your body rest is a crucial part of being an athlete – it allows for recovery from repetitive strain and actually helps in increasing your strength in the long run.

Without rest periods, your body becomes worn out and your risk of sustaining an injury increases. If you’re a committed athlete and you’re interested in learning more about sports physical therapy for proper rest and recovery, contact PREP Performance today!

6 important stretches for avoiding pain:

After a tireless weekend of physical activity at the tournament or competition you trained so hard for, your mind may immediately go to what your next training plan will look like. However, the period of time between completing a competition and beginning training once again is the ideal place to rest and recover. It is important to stretch your body after a physically demanding event, in order to avoid pain or injury. Some helpful stretches to incorporate include:

1. Kneeling hip flexor stretch. Kneel on a mat or soft surface. Make sure you’re positioned so your right knee is straight up and the bottom of your right foot is flat on the floor. Extend your left leg behind you so the top of your left foot is flat on the floor. Begin to shift your weight forward and stop when you begin to feel the stretch in your hip. Hold for 30-45 seconds, then switch legs.

2. Pigeon stretch. Begin on a mat or soft surface. Sit so your left leg is extended behind you, with the top of your left leg flat on the floor, and your right leg bent so the outside of your calf and thigh are flat on the floor. Your right foot should be almost touching your left hip. Slowly lean forward with your arms outstretched so your chest is resting on top of your bent right leg. Keep your head tucked toward the ground. Hold for 30-45 seconds, then relax and switch sides.

3. Calf stretch. Stand with your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg and bend your knee, keeping your left leg straight behind you. Place your left heel flat on the ground so you feel the stretch in your left calf muscle. Hold for 30-45 seconds, then switch legs.

4. Quad stretch. Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Relax your shoulders and flex your abdominal muscles. Use your right hand to pull your right leg toward your buttocks, so your knee is bent facing the floor. Hold your right foot in your hand for 30-45 seconds, then repeat on the left side.

5. Hamstring stretch. Begin by holding onto a stable object, such as a wall, chair,  or railing. Place your right foot on a slightly raised surface, such as a step or a curb, so your heel is touching the surface and your toes are facing upwards. Make sure your hips are straight. Slowly bend your left knee until you begin to feel the stretch in your right thigh. Hold for 30-45 seconds then repeat with the left leg.

6. Supine twist stretch. Begin by laying on a mat or soft surface, with your back flat on the ground and your right knee bent. Use your left arm to bring your bent right knee to the other side of your body, keeping your right arm outstretched flat on the ground. Rotate your hips slightly to the left in order to do this. Hold for 30-45 seconds then repeat with the left leg.

Contact PREP Performance!

If you are a committed athlete and you’d like to focus more on your rest and recovery, contact our Chicago, IL physical therapy practice today! If you are feeling pain, we can help you get started on a treatment plan for your specific needs that’ll get you back in the game as quickly as possible. At PREP Performance, our sports physical therapy programs are aimed at providing relief, improving your optimum performance, and getting you back to doing the sport you love!