How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

Understand regen and how to properly recover after soccer matches.

Part of being a fit soccer player is providing your body with the means to perform at 100 percent. Tournaments, games and practice have a cumulative effect on your general preparedness for performance. Making sure you take care of recovery after playing and practicing will ensure your hard work does not go to waste.

A solid regen plan means you will be able to train harder, maintain peak performance longer and prevent injury. Regen is not just recovery and rest. Regen is the work you do after you play to prepare yourself for your next challenge.  Good regen gives your body the edge to perform better for longer.

Great regen equals optimal performance potential.

Soccer Recovery Checklist

Refuel: Regen begins as soon as your workout ends. Start with a recovery shake within 15-20 minutes to replenish your energy stores with carbohydrates and rebuild your damaged tissue with protein.

Flush: While drinking your recovery shake, spend 10 minutes on a bike (or jogging), working at about 50 percent (low intensity, fast spin). This will start the pumping action within your muscles to clear metabolic waste accumulated from training.

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Reset: When you get home, spend 5-10 minutes focusing on resetting your muscle tissue. This could include foam rolling, trigger point work on target areas and massage.

Mobilize: After you reset the muscle tissue, you have to mobilize it so it stays supple and recovers quickly. Techniques include active isolated stretching, yoga or band stretching.

Reinforce: Once you have achieved improved range of motion within your muscles, you have to use it or lose it. After stretching, go through some bodyweight movements (Overhead Squats, Lunge complex, Push-Up rotation complex) in a slow and controlled manner to reinforce the new mobility.

Soak: The most common question for immersion is hot or cold? The answer depends on the timing of your next bout of training is. If you're not training again until the next day, go hot (hot tub, Epsom salt bath). If you're training again within the same day, go cold (ice tub, 10-12 minutes).

Relax: One of the most important parts of regen is the ability to shut down. It's easy to get fired up, but the best soccer athletes can power down just as quickly.  Meditation, deep breathing and massage are all techniques to help bring you back down and let your body do its work rebuilding.

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