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Best Recovery Methods for Hyrox, CrossFit, and Spartan Races

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“The faster you recover, the faster you can go again.” – Sebastian Kienle, Professional Triathlete.

When you give it your all in Hyrox, CrossFit, or Spartan races, the real challenge starts after you finish. These intense events need a smart recovery plan to help you come back stronger, fitter, and ready for the next race. 

Ready to recover? Let’s get started!

Common Recovery Methods for Hyrox, CrossFit, and Spartan Races

  1. Active Recovery Techniques

A study examined the effectiveness of four post-match recovery strategies on muscle damage recovery in elite male rugby players. The players were randomly assigned to one of four interventions: contrast water therapy (CWT), compression garments (GAR), low-intensity active exercise (ACT), and passive recovery (PAS). Results showed that low-intensity active exercise and compression garments enhanced recovery, as indicated by the rate of creatine kinase clearance.

  • Light Exercise 

Engage in low-intensity activities like walking, cycling, or swimming to maintain blood flow and prevent muscle stiffness. These activities help promote circulation and speed up the removal of metabolic waste products from your muscles. They also prevent the muscles from becoming too tight and help maintain flexibility.

  • Mobility Work 

Incorporate stretching, foam rolling, and yoga into your routine to enhance flexibility and reduce muscle tightness. Stretching and foam rolling alleviate muscle tension and improve the range of motion, while yoga adds the benefit of mental relaxation. Stretching should include both static stretches (held for a period of time) and dynamic stretches (involving movement).

  • Dynamic Stretching 

Perform leg swings, arm circles, and hip openers to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension. Dynamic stretches are particularly effective when done before and after workouts to prepare your muscles for exercise and aid in recovery.

  1. Passive Recovery Techniques
  • Rest 

Prioritise adequate sleep (7-9 hours per night) for muscle repair and overall recovery. It is during sleep that your body undergoes most of its healing and repair processes.

A study investigated the recovery practices of elite endurance athletes and found that extended nights of sleep were among the most commonly used and effective recovery methods. The study highlighted the extreme importance of sleep for recovery, with athletes often prioritising long nights of sleep and daytime naps to enhance recovery.

  • Hydration 

Stay hydrated to flush out toxins and support muscle repair. Drink electrolyte-rich fluids to replenish lost minerals, especially after intense workouts or races. Drink at least 2-3 litres of water daily, and increase this amount if you sweat heavily. Proper hydration also helps maintain blood volume and muscle function.

  • Nutrition 

Consume a balanced diet rich in proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates to support muscle repair and energy replenishment. For example, a meal with grilled chicken, quinoa, and avocado provides a good balance of these nutrients. 

Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your diet to ensure you get the necessary vitamins and minerals for recovery. Protein helps in muscle repair, while carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores, and fats provide essential fatty acids needed for recovery.

  • Massage Therapy 

Regular massages reduce muscle soreness and improve circulation. Schedule professional sports massages or use a massage gun on sore areas to release muscle knots and improve blood flow. Massages help to relax the muscles, break down scar tissue, and promote blood flow to the affected areas, speeding up the recovery process.

  • Supplements

Incorporate supplements to further enhance your recovery and overall performance. Use protein supplements, such as whey or plant-based protein powders, to help in muscle repair and growth post-workout. Take BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) to reduce muscle soreness and promote muscle recovery, either before, during, or after workouts. Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids, like fish oil, to reduce inflammation and muscle soreness while supporting cardiovascular health. Use electrolyte supplements to replenish minerals lost through sweat, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, essential for muscle function and preventing cramps. Lastly, creatine supplements should be incorporated to support high-intensity exercise performance, increase muscle mass, and enhance recovery by replenishing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) stores, providing energy for muscle contractions.

Specific Recovery Techniques for CrossFit Athletes

Post-workout soreness after CrossFit, known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), typically peaks 24-48 hours after intense exercise and can last up to 72 hours.  In addition to the common recovery methods, CrossFit athletes should engage in low-intensity CrossFit movements like air squats, light rowing, or gentle kettlebell swings. These activities maintain movement patterns and improve recovery without adding stress to the body.

Specific Recovery Techniques After Spartan Races

After completing a Spartan race, allow your body to recover completely. A recovery period of 3-4 days is recommended before resuming intense training. Besides the common recovery methods, Spartan athletes should soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts to relax muscles and alleviate soreness. The magnesium in Epsom salts is absorbed through the skin, helping to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.

Specific Recovery Techniques for Hyrox Athletes

Hyrox races combine running with functional fitness exercises, requiring a well-rounded recovery strategy. Along with the common recovery methods, incorporate mobility drills that target common tight areas in Hyrox athletes, such as the hip flexors, lower back, and shoulder dislocations.

Techniques Used by Elite Athletes

Elite athletes in Hyrox, CrossFit, and Spartan races often use advanced recovery techniques to maintain peak performance. These methods enhance muscle repair, reduce inflammation, and ensure physical readiness for the next challenge:

  • Active Release Techniques (ART) 

Active Release Techniques (ART) is a soft tissue therapy used to relieve tension and improve muscle function. It involves a practitioner applying precise pressure and specific movements to the affected area. This method targets scar tissue and adhesions within muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, which can cause pain and restrict movement. By breaking down these adhesions, ART helps restore normal tissue function, reduce pain, and improve flexibility and range of motion. It is commonly used by elite athletes to enhance recovery and performance.

Elite athletes use this soft tissue therapy to relieve tension and improve muscle function.

  • Compression Devices 

Elite athletes use compression boots like Recovery Systems Black Max Pro to improve circulation and speed up muscle recovery. These boots apply controlled pressure to the legs, helping to remove metabolic waste products and reduce muscle soreness.

A study focused on the effectiveness of massage and pneumatic compression on recovery from a 161-km ultramarathon. Participants were randomised to receive either a massage, pneumatic compression, or supine rest post-race. The study found that both massage and pneumatic compression reduced overall muscular fatigue scores compared to the control group.

  • Personalised Stretching Routines 

Using apps like GOWOD for personalised stretching routines ensures athletes target specific muscle groups, reducing the risk of injury and improving flexibility.

Bonus Tips for Faster Recovery After Races

  1. Avoid Overtraining and Burnout 

Signs of overtraining include chronic fatigue, decreased performance, and persistent muscle soreness. To recover from overtraining, athletes should reduce training intensity and increase rest. 

  1. Mental Activities on Rest Days 

Mental relaxation activities, such as reading or spending time in nature, also help in recovery. Engage in these activities to give your mind a break.

Conclusion

Prioritise effective recovery to excel in the Hyrox, CrossFit, and Spartan races. Use a mix of active and passive recovery techniques, focus on proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep, and incorporate advanced methods like compression devices and personalised stretching routines. By doing so, you’ll be ready to tackle your next challenge stronger and fitter.

People Also Ask

How is HYROX different from CrossFit?

HYROX is a standardised indoor fitness competition with eight 1 km runs, each followed by a functional workout focusing on endurance and functional fitness. CrossFit consists of varied functional movements performed at high intensity, aiming to improve overall fitness with a broad range of activities, including weightlifting and gymnastics.

How long do you need to train for a HYROX?

Training for a HYROX event typically requires 8-12 weeks of preparation.

How long should you rest after HYROX?

It’s recommended to rest for at least 2-3 days after a HYROX event, with up to a week for full recovery, depending on intensity.

Should you rest before HYROX?

Yes, take at least one full rest day before a HYROX event. Light activities like stretching or an easy run can be done the day before, but avoid strenuous workouts.

What is a HYROX race?

A HYROX race is a fitness competition consisting of eight 1 km runs, each followed by a specific functional workout, completed as quickly as possible.

What is a HYROX workout?

HYROX workouts are functional fitness routines designed to improve performance in the HYROX race, including running, rowing, sled pushes, wall balls, burpee broad jumps, farmer’s carries, and sandbag lunges.

How many days rest after the Spartan Race?

It’s recommended to rest for 3-5 days after a Spartan Race, depending on the race’s difficulty and your physical condition.

How many days should you rest before a Spartan race?

Rest for at least 1-2 days before a Spartan Race to ensure your body is fully recovered.

How many days to recover from the Spartan race?

Full recovery from a Spartan Race can take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on intensity and your fitness level.

How to recover fast from a race?

To recover fast, hydrate well, eat a balanced diet rich in proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, ensure 7-9 hours of quality sleep, engage in light activities like walking or yoga, and use stretching and foam rolling.

What to eat after Spartan Race?

Consume lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil to aid recovery.

How do CrossFit athletes recover between events?

CrossFit athletes recover by hydrating, eating small balanced meals or snacks rich in protein and carbs, engaging in light stretching or foam rolling, and taking short naps if possible.

How long will I be sore after CrossFit?

Soreness can last from 24 to 72 hours post-workout, depending on the intensity and volume of the exercise.

How many days should I rest from CrossFit?

Ideally, take 1-2 rest days per week and listen to your body for additional rest if needed, especially after intense workouts.

How to recover as a CrossFit athlete?

Recover by hydrating, eating balanced meals, prioritising sleep, engaging in active recovery like walking or yoga, and using massage and foam rolling.

How to recover faster after CrossFit?

To recover faster, focus on hydration, balanced nutrition, quality sleep, active recovery, and using massage and foam rolling techniques.

How to recover from overtraining in CrossFit?

Recover from overtraining by taking a complete break from training for a few days to a week, focusing on a nutrient-rich diet, maintaining high fluid intake, engaging in relaxing activities, and gradually easing back into training.

What do Crossfitters do on rest days?

On rest days, Crossfitters might engage in light cardio, yoga, stretching, foam rolling, or other relaxing activities.

What happens to your body after CrossFit?

Immediately after CrossFit, you may experience increased heart rate, muscle fatigue, and a release of endorphins. Long-term effects include improved strength and endurance, muscle growth, and an enhanced metabolism.