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Recovery and regeneration microcycles

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A microcycle is the shortest training cycle, typically lasting a week with the goal of facilitating a focused block of training. 

The structure of a microcycle depends on the general  goals of the athlete and on the specific aims of the training cycle and according to their aim in the general training plan a microcycle can be: developmental, shock, recovery–regeneration, and peaking and unloading (Platonov).

Hidrotheraphy (CHN Judo Team), cryotherapy (Li Pinzheng, CHN) and ice bath (Paltick, ISR)

Recovery–Regeneration Microcycle

The goal of a regeneration microcycle is to dissipate fatigue and elevate the athlete’s level of preparedness, which ultimately will improve performance. This microcycle is marked by a significantly lower training demand, which can be created by decreasing training intensity, volume, or some combination of both. Another approach to using this type of microcycle is to include activities that train similar physiological characteristics as the targeted sport but are different than the typical training activities. The regeneration microcycle elevates performance and decreases the potential for overtraining.

Foam roller massage (Wang Sanjiun, CHN), Stretching (Ono, JPN), sauna (Muki, ISR) and massage (Wu Zedong, CHN)
(Garrigos, Spain), stretching (Su Xihya, CHN) (Riner, FRA) (Daniel Dichev, BUL)

There are a number of popular methods used by athletes to enhance recovery. Their use will depend on the type of activity performed, the time until the next training session or event, and equipment and/ or personnel available. Some of the most popular recovery techniques for athletes include:
• sleep,
• hydrotherapy,
• active recovery,
• stretching,
• compression garments
• nutrition • massage

If you are interested about recovery methods we suggest to read the chapter “Recovery and prevention” of Aurilen Broussal’s book “Training and conditioning for judo” (2017).

Stretching (Muki and , Israel) (Biloid, Ukraine) and cold blanket (Jian Jiunjie, CHN)
Active stretching (Uta, JPN), passive stretching (BUL) and jacuzzi (ESP National Team)

Intesting infograph by @golinski_dawid with a proposal of how to quantify the recovery in our athletes. The sum of the different recovery methods applied will give us the total score.

An example of a regeneration microcycle in judo athletes is presented here. This microcycle was designed to remove physiological and psychological fatigue, aid in the replenishment of energy substrates, and supercompensate the athlete at the end of the cycle.

In this example we show a short microcycle (3 days) after a cumulative/development microcycle (4 days). In this case we included several strategies to help the athletes ro recover:

  • Aerobic exercise (dynamic exercises 15′ +low intensity cycling or running 20′)
  • Stretching (20′)
  • Cold/hot bath (15′)
  • Aerobic exercise (basketball game) 45′
  • Passive rest
Weekly training load and monotony index from a elite judo athlete of China National Team (2022)

This graph show the weekly training load from one judo athlete. As we can see, the week 16 is when we did recovery microcycle, reducing the weekly training load compared with previous weeks.

Daily training load and differences between weekly training load from a elite judo athlete of China National Team (2022)
Daily training load and wellness (fatigue, stress, muscle soreness and sleep) from a elite judo athlete of China National Team (2022)
Aerobic exercise (Paltick, ISR), compression socks (Urquiza, ESP) and stretching (Biloid, UKR)

If you want to control the training load in your judo athletes and takes your team’s performance to the next step, have a look at our excel JudoTraining Load V1.0, a new tool for judo coaches.

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