Top 10 Best Soccer Recovery Techniques Worth your Time

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

What are the best soccer recovery techniques? The beautiful game is one of the most demanding sports for the body and mind and using the best recovery techniques is crucial for players looking for faster recovery, decreased risk of injuries, and improved performance on the field.

Nowadays, most soccer players have a false perception of what real recovery is because there is so much information out there and it is hard to know what is true and what is not. How well, or how poorly, you recover is based on various factors and is related to pretty much every aspect of your life from the minute you wake up until the time you go to sleep.

Recovery is not a random recovery session you do once a week where you get on a bike for ten minutes then foam roll and do yoga. Recovery is something that can be improved by doing the right things every day, and by following the tips on this list you can teach your body how to recover better and faster naturally. Check out this post to get a better understanding of what I am talking about; the truth about Recovery.

This blog will cover the best recovery strategies that are actually worth your time and these are the only things you need for optimal recovery. Anything else is extra and unnecessary.

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Rest Days

One of the most important parts of optimal recovery for all athletes is having at least one full rest day a week, which is as equally important as your training sessions. Soccer players cannot be training with 100% effort every single day because this can lead to burnout and overtraining.

During training sessions you do want to give 100% effort and then after a couple of days of hard training, or after tough soccer games, your body will need a complete day off, maybe even two, to recover properly.

During a rest day you are free to take the day off from any type of exercise, but I would highly recommend combining any of the following tips with a rest day for optimal results. This is a type of passive recovery technique and there is nothing wrong with taking rest days, especially if you have been working hard all week long.

However, don’t get lazy and take more than two rest days a week.

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Proper Nutrition and Hydration Daily

All players already know that nutrition and hydration are very important for optimal recovery and performance. As mentioned previously, with so much information out there on this topic it may be hard to know which information to follow which is why I recommend checking out the following blogs for more in-depth explanations.

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Getting Consistent Good Night’s Sleep

After a hard day of training, or even after a successful rest day, the best way to end the day is with 7-8 hours of high quality sleep. Sleep affects everything from your physical performance, to recovery, to your mental clarity and you want to make sure that you are waking up energized and ready to take on the day.

If you are waking up sleepy and with fatigue then that means you need to learn how to optimize your sleep as a soccer player so that you can actually wake up with energy.

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Pandiculations

If you ask any physical therapist they would almost all tell you that stretching is a great way to maintain flexibility and reduce muscle tension, leading to better performance on the field. Although stretching might be able to provide temporary relief, which is why stretching may feel good for a while, it does not target the root cause of injuries and athleticism.

If you really want to get rid of tight muscles and improve recovery, then you are better off performing pandiculations. A pandiculation is a re-patterning technique that consists of a gentle, yawning-like contraction of the muscle, followed by a slow, controlled lengthening to full rest.

Pandiculations are how your system naturally resets your muscle and fascia tension balance. Think of a cat “stretching” as soon as it wakes up, although it is not really stretching because they are pandiculating, which provides much more value than static stretching.

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Water Immersion (Cold thermogenesis, Hot, and Contrast)

Immersing yourself in water, whether that is hot, cold, or alternating between the two, is a great post soccer recovery strategy.

If you are going to use cold water immersion, also known as cold thermogenesis, it is best to perform this type of therapy in a natural body of water, such as a cold ocean or lake, to also get the benefits of grounding therapy. Cold thermogenesis plus grounding is one of the best recovery techniques and it is much better than just getting into ice baths, although that can be helpful too.

Besides cold water, using hot water, such as getting inside a jacuzzi or hot tub, can also be a great way to relax, repair damaged muscles, promote fresh blood flow, and improve circulation. Research shows that if you are able to alternate between the two, for example 2 minutes in cold and 1 in hot, or any other pattern, that will give you the best quick recovery results.

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Grounding Therapy

Grounding therapy, also known as earthing, is real and it is a practice that involves connecting your bare feet to the Earth by walking barefoot on soil, grass, sand, or concrete. Grounding is an effective recovery strategy that has been shown to have several benefits for overall health, reducing inflammation, improving sleep, and increasing energy levels because you are literally absorbing the free energy of our planet.

Grounding can be done, before, after, and even during a training session, and this is one of those recovery techniques that you cannot overdo. The more time you spend grounded, the better you may feel because this directly helps improve your mitochondrial function.

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Red Light Therapy

At a molecular level, red light and infrared light are basically the same thing as heat or thermal energy, such as the heat that comes from a fire, the sun, or your body. However, red light therapy differs from heat therapy because it requires the use of red light frequencies as opposed to thermal heat.

Red light and infrared are the wavelengths that penetrate deeper into the body than all the other wavelengths and as a result red light can improve blood flow, circulation, and it even helps improve mitochondrial function because it expands the exclusion zone of the water inside the mitochondria.

You can also get plenty of red light from the morning sunlight, which is why it is always recommended to get enough sunlight daily and supplement with red light therapy if you feel you need to.Check out this Instagram post from our page to learn more about the power of the sun.

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Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a great recovery technique that can promote blood flow, improve range of motion, decrease the risk of injury and can actually be used before, during, or after a game or training session. There are different types of massages and the best type of massage you can get is a deep tissue massage from a professional massage therapist.

However, investing your money in a professional massage therapist can get expensive which is why it is best to invest in a reliable massage tool, such as a spiky ball or a tennis ball. There are other tools like foam rollers and massage guns, however I have found the best results by rolling out with a spiky ball, which is great for applying centralized pressure, getting deep into areas, and getting rid of fascia adhesions.

Whatever massage tool you get, just make sure that it fits easily inside of your soccer bag so that you can take it with you anywhere.

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Limit EMF Exposure

Surrounding yourself with the natural electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) of the Earth can be very healing, but just as important is avoiding or limiting your exposure to non-native electromagnetic frequencies (NNEMF), which are manmade.

Natural EMFs include the electromagnetic fields produced by trees, Earth’s heartbeat, known as the Schumann Resonance, and even the electromagnetic field produced by your heart, while NNEMF’s include the radiation from your phone and electronic devices.

Check out this blog to learn more about EMFs which have a huge impact on your health, recovery, and performance, and this is an aspect of life that some people don’t even think about because these topics are not really talked about for some odd reasons.

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Epsom Salts

Epsom salts are a great form of passive recovery and they are very easy to use. To use epsom salts simply purchase salts from a reliable brand, like the source above, fill up a bucket with hot water, pour the salts in and mix until everything is dissolved.

Once everything is dissolved you can put your feet in the bucket and experience a sensation of deep relaxation. You can also take a full body bath with epsom salts, instead of just a foot bath, for optimal relaxation and recovery.

The magnesium, a crucial mineral inside of the salts, will get absorbed by your skin helping to alleviate sore muscles, improve circulation, and aid in sports rehabilitation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best soccer training program?

The best online soccer training program and soccer app is Football Entangled. There is no other program like Football Entangled on the market and this community, much more than just an app, will help you get closer to making your dreams a reality.

What is the difference between passive and active recovery as a soccer player?

Passive recovery involves methods that allow the body to recover without engaging in strenuous physical activity. Techniques such as rest days and an epsom salt bath are two of the best forms of passive recovery.

On the other hand, active recovery is about engaging in low-intensity exercises or activities that facilitate blood circulation and flexibility without causing significant stress on the body. A light jog, dynamic stretching, and even activities like a light game of pickup soccer, futsal, or any other sport falls under this category.

How do you reduce muscle soreness as a soccer player?

The best way to get rid of muscle soreness is by being consistent and using various of the recovery techniques of this list every single day.

Conclusion

In conclusion, having an optimal recovery routine for after a soccer game or training session is crucial to get rid of muscle soreness, reduce inflammation and joint swelling, improve blood flow, recover faster, and get you ready for your next game.

In this list we provided you with various natural recovery techniques, many which are free and that you can start doing today, to begin improving how fast and efficiently your body recovers. The more consistent you are with these techniques, the better your body will get at recovering naturally.

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