Athletes are always looking for an edge… asking, “What can I do to maximize my recovery?”
This is the key to getting more high-quality training into a training week.
One of the most fundamental recovery principles is an effective cool down.
Think of the cooldown as the mirror opposite of a warm-up. A warm-up is basically the on-ramp to the highway that is your workout. And an effective cooldown is the off-ramp.
Skip the off-ramp and it’s like bringing your car to a screeching halt…not exactly optimal for taking care of your “vehicle.”
A “flush” is another name for this aspect of your cooldown, which consists of low-level aerobic movement.
Why Use a Flush
Let’s dip a toe into the vast ocean of physiology.
When you exercise (produce work) above a certain intensity threshold you do so through unsustainable (anaerobic) means.
Byproducts of metabolism (metabolites) get trapped in your working muscles, and you feel fatigue accumulate in your system and exercise becomes more and more challenging to maintain.
So if you do a lot of hard contractions using big muscle groups as fast as you can, you’re basically bathing your muscle in an acid bath of hydrogen ions.
If you finish your workout and just sit there (often quite literally during your commute home from the gym), those metabolites will take a long time to slowly escape out of your muscle.
This is passive recovery, and it’s quite slow.
However, if we take advantage of an active recovery, we can accelerate this recovery process by flush-ing out the muscle.
This light activity keeps the heart working sub-maximally, pushing blood through the muscles and clearing the wastes of metabolism that generate feelings of fatigue and metabolic pain.
It’s the equivalent of hosing down your truck after you take it off-roading.
Examples of a Flush
The KISS Principle
Keep It Stupid Simple.
That’s what I recommend for your flush, as well as your cooldown protocols in general.
You are better doing a 3 minute easy AirBike flush every single day for 5 years without fail, than by doing a fancy protocol that takes 15 minutes but only doing it for a few days and then giving up because you “don’t have the time.”
(1) Pick an Erg
(2) Spend 3-5 Minutes
(3) At a Conversational Pace
That’s it. Now go do it for a lifetime.