The formula: targeted + holistic regen
The reason: Even if you already commit to recovery options that tend to your muscles individually and your nervous system as a whole, you’d be smart to pair them up, says Sean Peters, New York City-based lead educator for EQX Body Lab. For example, rather than getting kinesiology taping (a targeted treatment) on Tuesday and a deep-tissue massage (a holistic therapy) on Friday, he recommends getting both at once.
“It’s important that we don’t only favor local approaches with athletes,” he explains. “The body needs to be in the right state for these applications to be the most effective.” The “right state,” he says, is parasympathetic mode. In it, you’re mentally and hormonally primed for modalities such as foam rolling and stretching.
The reason: “Exercise puts you in a sympathetic state,” explains Dan Daly, New York City-based Tier X coach and global area coordinator for the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. In it, tissues break down and inflammation increases, which brings recovery to a full stop. “It’s only once we get into a parasympathetic state that we can rebuild tissues and rid the body of cellular waste from exercise.”
To help you get all the benefits of coupling up, the EQX Body Lab now allows you to mix and match performance-based services in personalized sessions. Here, three smart recovery combos you should work into your routine.
Why you need it: For deep relaxation and to promote muscle recovery
How it works: Cold water constricts blood vessels; hot water dilates them. Going back and forth jumpstarts the removal of excess fluids from the tissues. If you get a Hypervolt treatment at EQX Body Lab post-shower you'll increase blood flow to and from the worked muscles even more, further reducing inflammation in the tissues, Daly says.
Get the most from it: Do both treatments immediately after your workouts to jumpstart recovery. Peters recommends always starting with hot water to bring the blood to the surface. Use a three-to-one hot-to-cold ratio (for example, 30 seconds of hot followed by 10 seconds of cold), completing two to five rounds. Afterward, get taped by an EQX Body Lab therapist.
Why you need it: To improve mobility in restricted joints and muscles
How it works: Deep-tissue bodywork relaxes the fascia to allow for greater range of motion. Getting taped right after locks in your newfound flexibility, Peters explains.
Get the most from it: Do this pre-workout, with a focus on the muscles and joints you’re training that day (such as your scapular muscles before an upper-body day or around your knees before a run). As a result, you’ll have better form and build more strength, since you’ll move through a greater range of motion. Peters recommends scheduling weekly or biweekly sessions at EQX Body Lab, especially if you’re in pain or have poor posture.
Why you need it: To relax post-workout or before bed
How it works: Passive stretches (those in which a strap or therapist does most of the work) reduce tension in tight muscles. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing stimulates parasympathetic tone to help quiet the mind and further relax those muscles so you can move deeper into each position. It also increases blood and oxygen circulation to the tissues being worked, upping the benefits even more, Peters says.
Get the most from it: Post-workout or pre-sleep, perform 5-7-8 breathing (inhaling for five seconds, holding for seven, and exhaling for eight) for up to 2 minutes as you move through passive stretches, either at home or at EQX Body Lab, Peters says. Daly suggests prioritizing the muscles you worked that day as well as any that feel tight or restricted.