• Sarah Strong

Recovery after a meet

So you finished your meet, congrats! Now what?

While you may be itching to get back in the gym and attempt some numbers you didn’t hit at the meet, as a coach, I advise against that. Competing puts your body under massive stress, and your body NEEDS rest after this. Does this mean you have to sit around on the couch for a week? Absolutely not. But, if you continue to push your body past its limits, you’re setting yourself up for injury.

Typically, I won’t do anything physical for at least two days after competing. That being said, my normal “rest” days are not sedentary because of my job and my home life. So if you have a more sedentary lifestyle, I would suggest getting some steps in and doing mobility work. After competing, I also usually feel ravenous. And I let my body consume more carbohydrates and also make sure to drink plenty of water.

For the rest of the week following a meet, I ease my way back into the gym, but I generally avoid barbell work. Coaches have different schools of thought on this, but I have found this rest from the barbell to aid in recovery and also give me a mental rest from powerlifting. I do get back to strength training, though, just with dumbbells, bands, and bodyweight work. I’m also a duel athlete and train in jiu jitsu. I took time off of jiu jitsu before my meet, so the week after the meet was the perfect time to get back on the mats. This way, I’m still getting physical activity, but I’m not getting burned out from powerlifting. As someone who has been competing in the sport for over seven years, I’ve seen firsthand how jumping back into heavy work drains a person physically and emotionally.

Other things I like to do the week post-meet: get a massage. If I can’t get in for one, I still foam roll, use my massage gun, and do yoga. Epsom salt baths: these are great for recovery and sore muscles. Plan and visualize my next powerlifting goals: I don’t like to go right into another prep, but after a meet, I do like to plan out my next comp and figure out when I do need to start training for it.

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