Basketball Players–when it comes to feeling and performing your best, recovery is key.

How well you recover from practices, games, and individual workouts will have a huge influence on how well you play and how resilient your body is to injury. The day-in, day-out grind of the season can take a toll on your system, so how can you make sure your body stays ready to go?

I have three strategies that I recommend to all of my players and have used personally with myself since 2009. Each of these strategies has shown to be effective at both helping my muscles recover from a soreness, strength, and mobility perspective and helping my nervous system recover from a heart rate and heart rate variability perspective.

1. Light Steady State Cardio: 20 to 30 minutes keeping your heart rate between 55% and 70% of your HR max. I started doing this in 2009 every time I would see my resting heart rate creeping up in the morning and within 24 hours, my resting heart rate would always be back down to its normal range.

2. Light Strength Training: Total body, using 50-70% of the weight you would normally use doing 50-70% of the sets and reps (i.e. less weight, less volume). Focus on creating and maintaining a strong mind-muscle connection the entire time you are doing each exercise. Sometimes I will do this as a one-off lift, but since 2009 I have been working full weeks of these workouts into my programming every 3-4 weeks. Consistently taking this deload week, even when I didn’t feel like I needed it, has helped me stay extremely consistent and fresh with my workouts for a decade and a half.

3. Muscle Activation Techniques®: Schedule a time to meet with your MAT® practitioner to address the muscles that have been under active and causing other muscles to have to overwork. When you have underactive muscles, not only will other muscles compensate and tighten up, your nervous system regulation can get thrown out of whack. This typically shows up as a decreased HRV score, but can also show up as an increased resting heart rate. Fortunately, getting your muscles worked on with MAT® can help to alleviate all of that, increasing your strength and mobility, reducing soreness throughout your body, and rebalancing your nervous system.

The first two strategies are very simple to implement on your own, but the third strategy (Muscle Activation Techniques®) does need to be done by a trained practitioner. Fortunately, if you are in the Chicagoland area, you have access to some of the top practitioners in the world with us here at Muscle Activation Schaumburg.

If you want to schedule a time to get your body assessed for MAT®, you can see my availability and book your assessment online here. You can also send me a DM on Instagram and we can communicate about what specifically you are needing.

However you choose to help your body recover, at the end of the day, it is important that you have a strategy behind it. Making sure muscle strength, joint mobility, and neural responsiveness get restored after practices and games is of the utmost importance to staying healthy and productive all season long.

The three strategies discussed above not only will help your muscles and joints recover, they will also help your nervous system recover as well. Try them out and let me know how it goes!


Charlie Cates

Charlie Cates is the leading consultant to high-level professional, college, & high school basketball players in the Chicagoland area for injury prevention, recovery, & muscle performance. As a certified Muscle Activation Techniques® MATRx practitioner & former college basketball player, he uses his personal experience & understanding of the game & player demands to create customized exercise options for his clients to recover faster & perform their best. He is certified in the highest levels of MAT®, including MATRx, MATRx Stim, and MAT® Athlete. Follow him on Instagram @CharlieCates!