Recovery Revisited: The March Madness Edition

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Today’s guest post comes from certified personal trainer and massage therapist, Geoff Pritchard. Geoff actually wrote a fantastic guest post for me last year around this time (link below), and when he extended the offer to write a follow-up I accepted without any hesitation.

I know for some, the topic of recovery is about as exciting as watching NASCAR or an episode of Downton Abbey.

Ironically, it’s a topic that most people could benefit from reading more on, as it’s generally the one thing that people tend to gloss over on day-to-day basis.

That said, READ IT!!!!!!

A year ago I posted on Tony’s blog about some ideas and people who were shaping the fitness industry in terms of recovery and regeneration. I wrote that article to inspire you to spend more time working on tight muscle tissue. But I realized in my massage business that my athletes were still coming in broken from lack of focused recovery work. So, what advice did I give them? Let’s take a step back in time, revisit what I said before and continue the dialogue with some new action steps to save your soft tissue from harm!

My objectives (as stated in my previous post):

  • Review the foundational items you should do to achieve better performance
  • Evaluate the research and evidence based practice of fitness and bodywork professionals, and
  • Incorporate simple changes into your schedule

These objectives are the key components of what I tell my clients to do for maximum results.

The foundational items are still nutrition and sleep.  The body can only recover from the daily demands of stress from appropriate nutrient intake and adequate amounts of rest. If this foundation isn’t solid, then no matter how hard you try, your recovery steps will be severely compromised … and crumble quicker than the #1 ranked teams in men’s college basketball!

Research and Evidence Based Strategies

Last year I mentioned the names of Nick Grantham and Sue Hitzmann for their recovery strategies and products. Nick is continuing to mentor athletes and fitness professionals in England, while in recent weeks, Sue has published her book, The MELT Method (currently #3 on the New York Times bestseller list) and appeared on Dr Oz to describe the structure of fascia and how it relates to mobility and optimal movement.

Sue was even able to convince NBC to show Gil Hedley’s video of dissection on national TV. If you want a true “inside look” at our muscle and fascia – and have a few hours to be amazed – Gil has made these videos absolutely FREE on his YouTube channel. In my opinion, you need to check it out – it’s pretty freakin’ remarkable!

My 2013 Recommendations

So, which experts are making a huge impact on resolving soft tissue dysfunction and therefore helping to eliminate the long-term consequences of poor movement – chronic pain and muscle damage? My list comes from two sources:

Kelly Starrett

Ok, so this won’t be a new name to most people, but his recent two-day seminar hosted by creativeLive was probably the best all-encompassing workshop I’ve attended.

He spoke for over 12 hours on the mobility paradigm and methods he uses with all clients – and how it all relates to athletes and the general population.  In addition, he enlisted the help of his friends … Carl Paoli (GymnasticsWOD), Brian Mackenzie (CrossFit Endurance), Jim Kean (WellnessFX) and Jill Miller (Yoga TuneUp). This workshop should go right alongside your collection of Assess and Correct, Muscle Imbalances RevealedUpper and Lower Body, and Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training.

While full access to the videos at creativeLive will cost you $99, most of the content can be filtered out through his blog and videos at MobilityWOD (which contains over 400 posts). Just search and go!

My Peers –Bringin’ It in Baltimore.

Fifteen months ago I moved away from one of the major hubs of fitness – Boston, MA – and home of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, Cressey Performance, and the kids of Harvard (where the Ancestral Health Symposium was held) to be living near family in Baltimore. It was a big transition for my family and my uprooted business – as well as my physical health – would be dependent on meeting great trainers and great bodyworkers.

[On a side note… it eases the transition when your Super Bowl success in New England (2002, 2004, 2005) follows you south and you watch the Ravens bring the trophy to Charm City … which I credit my son for doing, since only days before a Wild Card game with Indianapolis he got his first sports jersey J]

Fortunately for me, the local Baltimore community is outstanding. I have access to a wonderful network of people:

Not too shabby!! (And we even get to enjoy the local clothing scene from Under Armour, who just opened their first storefront)

So, how does this relate to recovery and restoration? What changes should you incorporate into your program? My suggestion is anything you HAVEN’T been doing. We get stuck in our ways pretty frequently – think Groundhog Day with Bill Murray – and forget to challenge our soft tissue in areas that need assistance.

One way to do this is to get an outside opinion. Here’s your A-ha moment … Contact someone from your network of local experts (who’s not your regular gym buddy) and ask them to assess and find your weak links! By fixing these areas of dysfunction and stagnant tissue, we restore better resting muscle length, alleviate unwanted fascial restrictions and improve our chances for optimum performance.

You can even utilize online coaching – it’s easy to access the best movement specialists around the world with an Internet connection and webcam. If you have the funds to pay for a couple sessions, then utilize those experts to get you moving, literally and figuratively, in the right direction.

After you know what to do (trigger point, soft-tissue work, and/or active stretching – AIS or PNF), then these restorative changes should be incorporated into your schedule for 15 minutes a day, every day until the change is permanent and integrated (this could mean between two and five trouble areas). And, don’t forget to move! If we don’t integrate the new patterns with movement, then we haven’t fully reset our neuromuscular motor control.

Be vigilant to complete those 15 minutes EVERY DAY! And be aggressive and focused – constantly remind yourself of the agonist / antagonist relationships and go deeper as long as you can control your breathing.

Need Any Help? Free Skype Consultation?

If you want suggestions on movements, leave a comment about what’s hampering your performance or recovery and I’ll reply with a couple ideas to get you started.  Whether it’s “gliding surfaces”, “hydration”, “breathing patterns”, “joint centration”, or “wow… how do Bikram Yoga teachers have such crazy mobility?”, search your favorite blogs and YouTube channels for ways to achieve better movement patterns.

I also want you to comment about local experts in YOUR city that are making a difference – and pushing the envelope against the barrage of magazine and TV mis-information – to educate and influence our understanding of recovery and regeneration.

BONUS… to show my love for Tony and his loyal audience – I’m offering a FREE Skype consultation to one person – chosen randomly – who posts a comment and/or question over the next two weeks.

Now, I’m off to practice my recovery and mobility routine: trunk rotation and extension using active isolated stretching and a couple internal hip rotation mobility exercises from Evan Osar.

Author’s Bio


Geoff Pritchard is an NSCA certified personal trainer and a licensed massage therapist. He has eight years of training experience at gyms, health clubs, and corporate wellness centers. He is passionate about using bodywork and exercise to help people move better. He recently relocated to Maryland and opened up Charm City Massage – Therapeutic Bodywork for Optimum Performance – in Lutherville-Timonium. If you want to contact him, please connect with Geoff on Facebook.


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Comments for This Entry

  • Danny Crescenti

    Hi Geoff, Awesome article! Kstarr's videos have been a huge influence on my warm-ups and pre/re-hab work. Question: A year ago I had torn cartilage around the talus removed from my ankle and my physical therapist has, in so many words, told me that I have to accept my lost dorsiflexion ROM. I know cartilage doesn't really grow back but I refuse to accept that I won't be able to trail run or pistol squat ever again. Could you please point me in the direction of a program, protocol or expert that could help me get back on track? Thank you for your time!

    March 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Geoff Pritchard

      Danny - Thanks for getting the questions started! The immediate information I need from you are: * How much cartilage was removed and how significant is the change in ROM from what you had previously? And in comparison to what you currently have on the opposite ankle? * What are you training for? Do you enjoy running and want to do that regularly? Does it have to be trail running where the surface is uneven and may compromise your ankle integrity? * Are you performing pistol squats as a way to help mobilize the ankle in preparation for squats (part of the presentation of Carl Paoli went through this) or are you interested in loading pistol squats with weight and using them as a strength exercise? * Finally, what results did you get from PT? Does it feel stable when doing one legged balancing movements? And, what have you tried that you feel gives you more mobility in that ankle without compromising its structure? Lots of questions, but please feel free to email me through my Charm City Massage website or FB page to continue the dialogue. Thanks!

      March 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply to this comment

  • James

    Welcome to Bmore ... and go Ravens!

    March 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ankit

    Would love to Skype about SI joint dysfunction and how to fix it so I could pull 500 + like tony without becoming hunched over.

    March 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Geoff Pritchard

      Ankit, Thanks for the comment, although a solution to SI joint dysfunction is probably best done by someone in person. A thorough evaluation should be covered and hands-on tests conducted to judge the cause of dysfunction. I agree, that pulling 500+ like Tony would be great though!

      March 13, 2013 at 10:31 am | Reply to this comment

  • Mark

    Hey Geoff, not sure if this really relates, but I have had a lingering issue with my left hamstring, right below the glute. It seems overly tight and is affecting my squats and deadlifts, and I stopped doing GHR's as they exacerbated the issue. I've tried resting it, icing, foam rolling, stretching, and nothing seems to really make a difference. Not sure what to do with it. Thanks.

    March 11, 2013 at 10:31 am | Reply to this comment

    • Geoff Pritchard

      Mark - Good question and you've been trying all the "normal" methods of attacking a nagging issue - time off, ice, roller, etc. Unfortunately, these techniques won't get deep enough into the area of the ischial tuberosity. And, they aren't directed at the root of the problem. Our brain sends signals about these "overly tight" areas because of the discomfort that exists. However, the tension on the hamstrings COULD be the result of extra pelvic tilt (typically caused by lack of glute strength and overactive hip flexors). Going into a fully loaded hamstring position, like the GHR, would put too way too much tension on this area. I would suggest visiting a qualified physical therapist or certified movement specialist who could see what your passive and active hamstring length are and evaluate your pelvis and glute activation to give you a clear picture of what's happening. Hope that helps!

      March 13, 2013 at 10:28 am | Reply to this comment

  • Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 3/13 | Edwards Performance

    [...] Recovery Revisited: The March Madness Addition by Tony Gentilcore [...]

    March 13, 2013 at 7:24 am | Reply to this comment

  • Gil Gallotto

    Great Article Geoff, hope the business is going well. Maybe we can catch up if you come back to Boston

    March 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply to this comment

  • R. Smith

    Good stuff, Tony. Love the 15 minutes-a-day suggestion. I still do homework (OK, not EVERY day) from my CP visit: mobility/activation drills for ankle, adductor, hips, rotator cuff and t-spine. RS

    March 13, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Geoff Pritchard

      RS - Hope you don't mind that the info didn't come from Tony! I'm glad you enjoyed my article, although I know Tony would have made the topic much more comical! Sounds like you already have a good sense of what to accomplish from your visit to CP. Just take those 15 minutes and get it done.

      March 15, 2013 at 10:59 am | Reply to this comment

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