I had the pleasure of interviewing 6 top coaches and sport scientists around the world for the upcoming IAAF New Studies in Athletics journal. It’s a paid printed edition, with the digital version available free of charge after 2 years. So my 2014 articles are not available until next year.
The next issue will focus on recovery and regeneration, and I asked 8 tough questions on this topic. You’ll have to wait until the volume gets published to read the full article.
One of the interviewees was Dr. Marco Cardinale, who is the Head of Sports Physiology of Aspire Academy in Doha (Qatar). He led the Sports Science activities for the preparation of Team GB at the Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Olympics. A published and cited author in the scientific literature on various aspects of human performance, he has also patented an innovative exercise device consisting of a vibratory biofeedback system.
Dr. Cardinale is an honorary reader in computer science in Sport at University College London and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen in the School of Medical Sciences. He holds a B.Sc. from ISEF in Italy, a M.Sc. from the US Sports Academy in the USA and a PhD from Semmelweis University in Hungary.
Dr Cardinale is currently member of the scientific commission of the Italian Track and Field Federation.
3 General Statements about Recovery & Regeneration
In closing, here are 3 general statements about recovery and regeneration from Dr. Cardinale:
1) Recovery is a complex phenomenon and there isn’t a magic bullet. For this reason basic hygiene and recovery practices need to be put in place (cooling down, eating and sleeping). Once the basics are done well, there may be space to explore other modalities making sure the target systems can benefit from the modality of choice
2) Scientific papers can only provide us information on the biology behind some of the measures and/or the effectiveness. However, considering that most studies are performed with healthy individuals but non-athletes it is the job of the coaching staff to assess what they do to find out if it works on their athletes
3) A lot more work needs to be done in science to understand all the recovery and regeneration modalities as well as see if adding them up proves to be better, however a cost/effectiveness approach needs to be carried out by the coaching teams every time to make sure that the “cost” of an intervention (not only the financial cost but also the cost in time/logistics and effort) is effective in recovering the athlete.
He has worked with many groups of athletes and teams and he remembers one particular team he consulted for which showed a recovery plan which had everything (cool down, protein drink, compression garment on, travel to swimming pool and pool session, dinner, bed). However the main issue was the athletes were hitting the bed after more than 3 hours the end of a game and his suggestion was to use the KISS principle (Keep it simple silly) which was: Finish the game, restore energy, sleep.