An example of a four-step post-tennis match recovery routine
- A little light stretching (which will also help bring you back to a state of calm) ; 15-20 seconds of light stretching per muscle (you're aiming to feel a stretch, but not a big one). The muscles you might want to stretch here are your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes and adductors in your lower limbs; the lumber muscles and trapezius in your trunk; shoulder and elbow muscles in the upper limbs. These stretches will slightly reduce muscle tone to make you feel more relaxed. Try not to stretch too hard for too long as it might make you feel even more stiff the day after.
- Cryotherapy (cold therapy): either taking a bath in water at a temperature of between 50°F and 60°F for 10 to 15 minutes, which will reduce stiffness; or applying ice packs to your joints (ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, etc), which may well be painful after a long match.
- Massaging yourself: with a roller: calves, hamstrings, quads, adductors and fascia lata (the deep fascia of the thigh). Spend 2-3 minutes on each muscle. With some muscles, such as the calves, you can do both sides at the same time to save time, provided that you put enough pressure on the muscle; and with a ball: the rear muscles in the shoulder and all around the shoulder blade (by rolling the ball over it). You can finish off by rubbing massage oil on your forearms if need be.
- You can also wear a pair of compression socks for a few hours after a game. This will help reduce stiffness and muscle tightness and won't take up any more of your time.
So that's you basic four-step routine. Don't forget the three basics either: sleep, food and water.