Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Active Recovery for Judo

Active Recovery
Twenty years ago active recovery wasn’t even thought of, it’s common knowledge that after a big Rugby League match players would go to the local pub for a beer and pie These days players must attend a session the day after a football game and the session is based around active recovery.
Most sessions are usually based around swimming or walking laps of a swimming pool (or in the ocean) followed by partner stretching.
Judo players usually after big judo competitions have a big night out and then wake up the next day all stiff and sore due to no active recovery or cool down after a competition. This is due to the fact that football players play every weekend so they must be recovered for next weeks game. Judo players compete every 3 months or so recovery after a competition is really no big deal.

What is active recovery?
Active recovery is another name for a really easy session after a really hard session. You know how, after a really hard session, the next day your whole body aches. You may find that the only way to not feel sore is to do some more exercise. It’s hard to get started first but once you get warm and start moving your body loosens up and you feel a lot better. This is exactly what active recovery is.
Active recovery aims to increase blood flow which helps remove lactic acids as well as helps bring any deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
As part of active recovery you must make sure stretching and protein rich foods are a part of it.

This article is not about active recovery after a competition because no judo player will do it anyway. Here is just a few exercises I sometimes do during the week if I am feeling a bit run down sand don’t feel like a really hard session.
Remember we aren’t going for a massive session of training just a light sweat up. I usually put a few layers of clothes on (or a sweat suit) and get started. I do the following exercises in no particular order just what ever I feel.
- rowing machine - forward & back rolls (& into splits)
- swimming - Handstand into rolls
- exercise bike - cartwheels
- swimming - general running
- uchi komi rubbers

I like doing all of the above exercises because you can go for a slow jog (in a dojo) and add them in whenever you like. They are also low impact which is probably what you want if you are feeling tired and run down.

Finish up with static stretching (partner stretching is better) all of the body making sure you breath and relax. Make sure you hold each stretch for around 30 seconds.

Go home and get a protein rich dinner, take some multi vitamins and have a big sleep.

Matt D’Aquino


  1. When I was a teenage college student training in Japan (before you were born!) I would go back to my room and do some exercises and stretching at night before bed. I didn't have a name for it but I just knew that it left me feeling less like I had been run over by a truck the next morning.

  2. Enjoy your blog; great instructional videos, insightful posts.
    As we get older, we get wiser, huh! Yes, my first intro to "active recovery" involved a smoky pub across the street from the dojo and 50 cent draughts! I learned a little more about weekly, monthly, & annual training cycles/plans in Paris, where they like to play soccer (well, football), sauna, etc. as active recovery.
    Thanks for your blog!