How Elite Athletes Recover

Flow Recovery
3 min readJul 23, 2021

Recovery for athletes who participate in elite sports is essential and contributes to their success in their field. In recent years, recovery is recognised as just as necessary as training. You may ask what methods and practices elite athletes do to recover and why does it aid their recovery and allow the elite to perform their best. This blog will answer these questions and outline the importance of these practices.

Let’s take a look at some of the methods elite athletes will recruit to enhance their recovery:


Most elite-level or professional athletes will monitor and track their sleep 24/7, 365 days a year. They will be adhering to a rigorous exercise regime to help them perform optimally at their event, bear in mind some of these events may be weekly in football, so they have to recover in 4-days, others like tennis may only be a day to recover and at the longer end of the scale for the Olympic athletes train for 4 years straight for the ‘possibility to go to the Olympics. All of whom will make the most of sleep; this is where the body is at rest, our heart rate lowers, and any repairs and maintenance are happening at a physiological level. Of course, they also take advantage of naps or the all-famous Spanish “Siesta” to optimise their recovery too! In the real world, though, we don’t have the time for siestas (typically), so you should aim to get 7–9 hours sleep a night!


You’ll often see athletes jumping in the hot tub or swimming pool after an event; maybe they like hot tubs or swimming pools. In all seriousness, they’re a great tool to have access to for your recovery. Immersing in water is suggested to aid blood flow, impact inflammation post-workout, reduce effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and mental perception of fatigue. Knowing these benefits is precisely why athletes will take advantage of the tub or pool, as they will more than likely be travelling or training the next day!

Soft tissue therapy

We’re pretty sure your immediate thought for tired, sore, and achy muscles would be ‘get a massage’ Well, you’re right! The elite will most definitely get themselves a hands-on massage regularly, aiming to promote blood flow and lymphatic drainage to aid recovery and reduce the effects of DOMS.

Compression garments

These have been going for years in the form of your compression running socks or ‘tube grips that you may find in your local sports store or pharmacy! More recently, we have compression leggings, which look like bubble-wrapped pants that inflate around the limb and compress it. They aim to promote blood flow and lymphatic drainage commonly felt in athletes after heavy sessions in the gym or events.

Vibration devices

Handheld massagers are becoming an essential tool in every athlete’s bag, allowing athletes to recover and give themselves a massage on the go when their physio is not around. The vibration devices aim to promote blood flow, reduce the effects of DOMS and mentally prepare and calm themselves for exercise/ fixtures/ events. This device is a highly accessible tool for anyone, which you can check out here.

Get recovery smart #findyourflow