How to successfully manage muscle tightness for Sprinting
Athlete Charlie Francis is wearing #412
ATHLETE CHARLIE FRANCIS ENDED HIS CAREER EARLY DUE TO CONSTANT INJURIES BECAUSE OF TIGHTNESS.
A certain amount of muscle tightness for sprinters or any athlete is normal. Hamstring tightness for sprinting left unchecked over time will lead to hamstring pulls and other injuries that are time consuming to recover from and prevent you from making the most of your goals. Understanding the difference between normal tightness and having chronic tightness in one area of your body is the first step to managing tightness. Managing muscle tightness for sprinting will help you train safely, avoid injuries and make the most of your training efforts at practice as well as in competition. Let’s look at the ways we can avoid muscle tightness for sprinting and avoid issues that might become chronic and prevent us from success regardless of our sport.
ACHIEVING THE RIGHT BALANCE OF WORK AND REST IN TRAINING
It is not easy to know exactly what combination of work and rest is needed to avoid or manage muscle tightness for speed training. A certain amount of muscle tightness is normal but chronically tight hamstrings or any amount of tightness routinely occurring is not considered optimal. Making sure you have a training program that has a sound methodology from a coach you trust is a good start. Gaining more knowledge about training from both coaches and athletes who have achieved success will help you navigate how to train effectively and safely.
Two books I often recommend for athletes, coaches and parents are Speed Trap and The Charlie Francis Training Manual. Both books are enjoyable, easy reads with a wealth of information based on world-class results in sprinting.For Kindle Version:
ROUTINELY AND ACTIVELY RECOVERING WORKED MUSCLES
Actively regenerate your worked muscles with massage, water therapy, acupuncture and EMS as often as possible. Training fresh muscles will bring you rewarding results. If you are routinely training overused and over worked muscles you may not be enjoying the results you expect. Not regenerating enough or routinely may be the reason why your results in training and competition are disappointing. Practice active regeneration every day. Find ways to administer active regeneration on your own as well as combining therapy from a trained therapist you trust.
To understand the role recovery plays in training take a look at Super compensation and Recovery here.
SHIFTING YOUR NUTRITION TO LOW INFLAMMATION DIET
It’s not uncommon for athletes including sprinters to disregard eating nutrient rich balanced diets. The high volume of calories burned in training for many athletes makes the idea of measuring foods for their performance qualities a lower priority without an understanding much about consequences. Foods that create inflammation in the body might differ for each individual. A simple list of inflammatory foods includes alcohol, sugary foods like cake, candies and hard to digest meats such as red meats and pork. Refined, processed foods are also high in inflammatory properties. This is not to say you should not eat these foods but limiting your daily consumption will help you improve your nutrition and maximize your training opportunities.
ADD WATER INTO YOUR LIFE
Drink it , soak in it, swim in it and train in it. Water has healing, cleansing and regenerating properties and when it comes to muscle tightness using water in any way or all ways possible will be helpful. Insure you drink enough water each day by setting up the amount of water you need in your kitchen or take it with you water bottles. Soaking in Epson salt baths loosens tight muscles and helps reset the nervous system and is easy for almost anyone to perform at home.
KEEP YOUR MUSCLES WARM AND DRY
Prevention of muscle tightness begins with keeping your muscles warm and dry as much as possible. Wearing layers of clothes allows you with the option to remove clothing once your training progresses. Depending on your climate the idea of protecting your muscles from extreme hot or cold applies.
PRACTICE ROUTINE WARM-UP WITH LITTLE VARIATION FROM DAY TO DAY
Warming up should be the most routine thing you do in your training with subtle adjustments to add or take away parts depending on the intensity of the training on any given day. Warm ups need to be progressive, somewhat continuous and gradually elevating the intensity as time moves forward. Warm ups should be intentional and very low in intensity.
These are a few key ways you will be able to better manage muscle tightness for sprinting.
"Sprint your own life"
Massage for your muscles will help you to run fast and help you make the most out of your sprint training.
If you like to run fast and you have never had a massage perhaps reading this blog will help you change your mind on how it will benefit your sprinting.
In the sprint world I became a part of in the mid 1990’s, a 10 to 15 minute massage was performed multiple times in a training week. Multiple short massages was one reason I had the ability to perform routine high quality speed work week after week with few injuries over my entire sprinting career.
Massage for sprinting was not about luxury or about relaxing to music while a therapist performs a massage. Massage for sprinting was about performance to run fast.
Massage for sprinting is about performing a little bit of muscle work at a time, before, during and or after a training session. The hamstrings are perhaps the most critical area of the body for a sprinter. The hamstrings need to work efficiently and without error for a sprinter to routinely perform high quality runs. An athlete must sprint well once before that quality of sprinting can be replicated. Much can be gained if the hamstrings are properly prepared from appropriate massage. Much can also be lost if a sprint training programs does not include a variety of regenerative therapies performed routinely.
Key Guidelines of massage for sprinting
- before competition use light, slapping type of massage
- don't go deep into the muscles within 48 to 72 hours of competition unless the competition is insignificant
- deep massage lowers one of muscle to far for what's needed for competition
- use of inappropriate type of massage performed by an unskilled person can
- undo the training effect you have accomplished during final preparation for key competitions.
Massage is important because it will speed up recovery time and improve flexibility. These attributes can benefit athletes and non athletes. It's an exciting idea to know that small fragments of time will be gained in a race by hundredths and thousandths of seconds when appropriate massage is performed for sprinters.
The malleability or tonus of the muscles determines what sort of leg speed you can put out and this of course is a key determinant of performance The Charlie Francis Training SystemTo watch a practical session of how Coach Charlie Francis applied massage for sprinting checkout South Africa Series Practical Session 5: Massage Demo