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Mar 29, 2022

This week we sit down with Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist, Kurt Roeser from Ability Physical Therapy in Colorado to discuss recovery strategies for gravel cyclists. We dig into the things we can be doing at home to recovery faster along with the various products that have recently been developed to aid recovery. 

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Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

Kurt Roeser - Recovery

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I'm your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don't need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

So as we start out this week, let me ask you a question when you're done with a ride. What's next? Do you just hang up the cleats, put the bike away and go onto the next thing,

Or do you take a moment for self care?

If you're like me, it's often onto the next thing with Naria thought for what? I just put my body through.

This week's guest is Kurt. Roser. A board certified orthopedic specialist and physical therapist at ability physical therapy

. Kurt is an experienced distance runner and cyclist. And brings a wealth of experience to the field of recovery.

Before we jump into this week, shall I need to say a big thank you to this week, sponsor the feed. The feed is the largest online marketplace for your sports nutrition,

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With that said let's dive right into this week show.

[00:02:42] Craig: Hey, Kurt, welcome to the show.

[00:02:45] Kurt: Hey, Craig, how's it going? Thanks for having me,

[00:02:47] Craig: Yeah, it's going great. I'm excited to dig into this conversation about recovery. I feel like half these podcasts are guided by my own personal interests. So I just hope the the listener likes to join me on this journey.

[00:02:59] Kurt: for sure. Yeah. So it is all about learning, learning for yourself and helping some, some other folks at the same time.

[00:03:05] Craig: Yeah, exactly. I'm appreciate you giving me the time to pick your brain. Let's start off with a little bit about just your background and how you got into your profession. And then we'll, we'll dig into some questions.

[00:03:15] Kurt: Yeah, definitely. So I kind of grew up being a, being a distance runner. I ran college it in track at the university of Florida. And then like a lot of runners, I got injured a lot. So, I w me to want to be a PT. And then when I was in PT school, I got into cycling a lot and some triathlons.

And so, yeah, kind of developed a, just broader enjoyment for endurance sports in general. Yeah, so now I, I am a physical therapist working in an outpatient setting and work a lot with runners and other endurance folks whether it's cyclists or, or skiers all, all sorts of fun stuff, just kind of helping people get back out there.

And then, yeah, I still like to run like competitively. So, my marathon vest is a two 17, so I got to run in the. USAA marathon trials a couple of years ago. So hoping to get a couple more good marathons and in me, and then just a transition to more, just fun, fun diverse stuff more biking and, and all that good stuff.


[00:04:13] Craig: Nice. I imagine being in Colorado, you've got no shortage of patients bringing their bodies in damaged from the great outdoors and their endurance athletic pursuits.

[00:04:24] Kurt: Oh, yeah, definitely. Yeah. Overuse injuries. And then I mean, cycling tons of yeah. Impact injuries, falling, you know, shoulder stuff. Yeah. There's a, there's lots of good ways to hurt yourself doing fun things here. So, it is yeah, good for good for me. But I think I like to think I do more good than I take away from society, so, but

[00:04:44] Craig: I imagine if you're getting people back out on the trails and the, and the the slopes, you're doing a service to the citizens of Colorado.

[00:04:51] Kurt: Yeah. And it's, it's, it is really fun for me to like help people that are motivated to get back to doing you know, whatever their activity is or sport it is. And if, yeah, people really love doing something they're super motivated to do their, do their PT whether it's coming in for manual therapy or do their exercises or strengthening or, or whatever it is.

Yeah, so it's a, it's a fun place to practice for me, for sure.

[00:05:14] Craig: I wanted to open up a conversation about recovery from bike rides. I mean, we all, every listener of this podcast, and as I mentioned earlier, a lot of listeners are doing big gravel events, a hundred mile gravel events, or the training for those types of events. And every single one of us has come home, had a little food and then had our legs start to get really solid and heavy.

And I just thought it'd be. To talk to someone, a professional and understand what's actually going on. And then later in the conversation, let's talk about what we can be doing about it.

[00:05:46] Kurt: Totally. Yeah, That's something that like, Everybody is going to encounter encounter soreness. And yeah, it's such a, it's kind of like a hot topic, like recovery. I feel like the past, you know, five to 10 years is getting a lot more spotlight and we see what the pros are doing in various sports. And I think we all are.

You know, here are the best ways to optimize their own training and lifestyle and stuff. So, yeah, it's a, it's a really kind of hot topic now, but basically like the physiologic, like kind of like process of, of soreness is a very normal response to kind of a newer type of exercise that you're doing.

Or maybe not a new type of exercise, but an increasing training load. So, we see this in the early parts of summer where people haven't. Biking a lot, or haven't been doing whatever their sport is in particular, but then you start doing a lot more of it. And even though we think we're being pretty like gradual with it where you usually are, our mind is biting off more than our body can choose.

So to speak. So soreness is just a result of doing something that you're not used to, and then your body's adapting to it. And in that, in that process, you're going to feel some, feel some soreness. And one of the interesting things that I always remember from exercise physiology, class, the professor saying like the only way to prevent muscle soreness is previous exposure to the same stimulus.

So you can't ever prevent yourself from, from getting sore, but you can just kind of like expect to get sore when you do something hard for the first time or, you know, bike longer than you have in awhile. And then know that like, if you do that same thing again, you're not going to be as sore from it.

Kind of like an up and down process.

[00:07:24] Craig: that makes sense. You know, if I think about my, any given week, you know, I can go out and do an hour long training ride and, and. 1200 feet of climbing and don't feel sore at all from that kind of effort. But when I get out on the weekends and I add, you know, five, six times that amount of climbing, those are the days in which I come home, but I know from experience over time, if I'm training for an event, if I've gradually built, I can then go out and ride, you know, 4,000 foot of climbing ride and not be sore and save that soreness for the 8,000 feet climbing.

[00:07:58] Kurt: totally. Yeah. And I also want it to differentiate between like, muscle soreness and then like tendon or joint soreness. Cause that's a really common thing that people ask about is, and. And how to differentiate that from like an

So like, I think delayed onset muscle soreness who are all like pretty familiar with like, you do something hard and then you're sore from it for a couple of days.

So that processes partly. Kind of like mechanical at the cellular level. So, you're actually getting some microtrauma to the cells that are causing your muscle fibers to contract upon one another, basically these sliding filaments. So you actually like creating some micro tears in those, those fibers, which sounds bad, but it's it's. Body knows to adapt to that stimulus. So if we didn't have that, we wouldn't have that positive adaptation that we're looking for so that we get faster, it can bike like longer or, or whatnot.

[00:08:53] Craig: Now the terror is getting repaired by the body as you rest.

[00:08:58] Kurt: absolutely. So, so when we perceive soreness and when we feel soreness, Definitely linked to some sort of like inflammatory process, which there, we used to always think inflammation is bad. We got to get rid of it, but it's actually like the way that our body signals to bring in like, you know, new protein and all these like building blocks to repair that tissue.

So, soreness is actually like a sign that our body is adapting to that and it just is uncomfortable in a transient manner for us, but it's how our body. You know, working through that cascade of that inflammatory process and ultimately getting stronger from it. So that's kind of like the more mechanical aspect of it.

And then there's also like a, kind of more of a chemical side of it. So like we've all heard the term like lactic acid or more correctly just lactate and hydrogen ions. Like when you're doing really high intensity exercise, your muscles get more acidic. And so that can not can create some of that soreness feeling afterwards, just from those metabolites being.

in, in ourselves, in places that they aren't normally there. So, so that's kind of the two big components of, of muscle soreness and, and some of the things that we can like know about and, work through mentally, but also there's some tools that we can use and and things that we can do to kind of try to limit that and speed it up a little bit.

[00:10:15] Craig:

Did, did the muscle groups react differently when you're doing short, intense intervals versus longer endurance type?

[00:10:24] Kurt: Yeah, so definitely. So, the shorter height, higher intensity efforts are going to be the things that really get the you know, lactate and hydrogen ions, like, to high levels in your muscles and probably in fairly specific places. So, if you're really pushing, pushing the power, you're going to feel it in those.

Muscles that year quads, maybe your calves, if you're, if you're going uphill. So you're going to feel that in pretty isolated ways versus like a one. Kind of like easier day where you're just out kind of cruising around, but maybe you're out for a long period of time. Then I think people are going to be more likely to get soreness in more of like your postural muscles.

So your shoulders, your neck, your back, your arms, like things that are like supporting your, your posture. And, I've heard on the, on the show, you've talked numerous times about like bike fitting. And so that's where. Being comfortable and being set up nice on your bike is really important to make sure that you're just kind of like optimally using those, those postural muscles and not overstressing certain areas and just kind of setting yourself up to be comfortable and enjoy your

Injury arrive, which is probably the most important thing.

But then I think where people get the most sore is. Kind of kind of those race situations or group rides where you're going for a long time and at a higher intensity than you're used to. And I think that's what a lot of us kind of do. We're kind of in that maybe weekend warrior sort of a, a situation where we're doing maybe an hour during the week, and then maybe double that Triple that on the weekend and

more Verdun.

So th that's when you're going to get just globally sore and a lot of your, your cycling muscles and that's going to be from that kind of acidosis and mechanical breakdown. And then just as you fatigue out your, your slower Twitch fibers, you're gonna start to rely on the fast Twitch fibers that aren't used to working as much, and they're gonna fit.

Faster and get more sore because they're just not used to working, but again, part of like a broader, good adaptation process I think so kind of that good soreness.

[00:12:23] Craig: Yeah, well, first off, guilty as charged. I'm often one of those people who goes out and tries to do things I have no business doing. I think that's a bit of the gravel cycling mentality, right? Is this like, you're going to have a lot of challenges in front of you and these long events, and you're going to push through it.

When, when a rider is taking themselves beyond, let's just call it their, their fitness or what they've been able to train to for a particular event. What kind of damage is being done at that point to the body. And does the body just sort of naturally give you the feedback? I mean, we've all sort of shut down on a climb or cramped in a long event and the body's screaming at you.

Hey, you can't do this. You need to take a break. Can you just talk about like what what's going on in the body at that point and how should we be reacting? Obviously, we, we have strong mental desire to complete the events, but that may exceed what our bodies are capable of at that point.

[00:13:18] Kurt: Yeah.

So that's, that's really hard hard spot as a, as an athlete to be in, I think. And, and I think it's really important to know that like when you're feeling that like, subjective. Discomfort or like, you know, muscle work or just overall fatigue setting in like that's our, our brain is trying to tell us that we're doing something that we are, is like kind of outside of what our brain perceives we can do.

But. Very, it's almost impossible to exercise

yourself to death or to actually do any damage to any, to your tissue. So that's one thing that we should be very confident that we're not going to damage our, our muscles by cycling for, even for a long period of time at a very high intensity. In other sports, like, you know, like CrossFit or an ultra running, like you hear people getting robbed in my analysis, which is where you're doing so much damage to your muscles, that it that those muscle proteins get back into your.

Bloodstream, and then eventually to your kidneys, and you're basically creating like kidney failure, which is a medical emergency, and that does happen. And I've seen it in CrossFitters and ultra marathoners, but kind of more from that centric type of loading reaction. So in, in cycling, you're, you're, I've never heard of that happening in cycling.

So, Yeah. so we can be pretty confident that we're not going to really truly like damage anything per se. But it should be. One of those things, like a pick, choose your battles, you know, or like live to fight another day. So, and I think that's, it means different things to different people, but if, if it's worth it to, to really push it during this particular race, like just know that you're going to be really sore for for a few days.

And it's gonna like, kinda mess with your next week of training, but ultimately you're going to be fine from it and you're going to adapt to it. So.

[00:15:04] Craig: Yeah. I think if I think back to my iron man days, I can remember just basically not being able to walk down the stairs after doing an iron man, having to hold on the railing because I just, I couldn't support my body weight going down.

[00:15:17] Kurt: Oh yeah, totally. Yeah, so it's but I guess maybe better answer your question. Like, like there's no point in like that we should ever be worried. Push ourselves too hard under most circumstances, obviously like within like reason. But like at the end of the day, like we just got to remember like we're out there to have fun and and keep the bigger picture in, in in mind too.

And like, you could have the perfectly designed training program and ramp up very gradually and you're still going to do stuff that's going to make you sore. So yeah, it's kind of a unavoidable.

[00:15:49] Craig: How should riders think about it? So let's say you go for a massive ride on Saturday and you still want to ride on Sunday. And you're obviously you're waking up sore a little damaged from the day before. Any concerns going out the next day or does the body just tend to give you the information you need and regulate your abilities based on that soreness?

[00:16:10] Kurt: Yeah, so. It's definitely gonna be good for you to go out and still get a ride in the next day. Like a nice like recovery ride. So obviously like back-to-back hard days are going to be challenging and you're just going to accumulate more fatigue essentially. But but yeah, it's definitely like good for you to get out and get some easy, easy spinning in and probably even help you recover faster.

So, there's yeah, there's a reason that like, And during sports, like we're able to do it on like most days. And it's because. In between those harder efforts, like it's really good for you to like, just have a, have an easy recovery day. So, so Yeah.

that's definitely, definitely good. And another really interesting thing is like, even if you, your quads are wrecked and you've like, we did like, some imaging and we saw that, like you had all these.

Tears in your microfibers. Like you're not going to make that any worse by by pedaling through it the following day, you're just going to have less power output. So you're, you're not going to be able to like, you know, work as hard as you, as you

would if you didn't have it, but you're not going to do anything bad by any means.

So, definitely good to get moving.

[00:17:13] Craig: Yeah, that makes sense. I often feel like, you know, if I do a really massive day, I, I sort of, I call it the athletic hangover or the next day I've and I think it's probably part dehydration, but the body's sore. I ended up with a headache. You know, it's just, just overdid it.

[00:17:28] Kurt: Yeah, totally. And that's Yeah, that's like a bigger thing that like I realize With people more and more recently, it's like, you know, I always think about like the physical side of things, like orthopedically, like, you know, muscle muscles and joints and tendons and all that stuff. But like our body's pretty good at telling us, so like how it's doing.

So if we can like learn to suck to listen to the more like subtle signs that our body's telling us, like, can we get better over the years of, of listening to that? Like in it help you maybe adjust. Your workouts that you had planned for that weekend and still go out and, and ride, but just like, like, oh man, I'm just not feeling very good today.

I'm feeling a little off. So I'm just going to take it easy or I'm going to still do my, the intervals that I had planned, but just like dial it back a little bit. So yeah, just like successful athletes and people that have better longevity in, in, in the sport. Or people that are good kind of that like listening to those more subtle signs is what I've found with working with, with people at like pretty elite levels.


[00:18:27] Craig: we're at we're, we're certainly in the heyday of the ability to, to have to have data points to back that up as well. You know, whether it's a device measuring your HRV or just basic heart rate tracking, I think you can really know a lot about yourself and unlike the athletes, maybe of the, of the nineties who might push through it now, I think most coaches are saying, you know, it's better to back off and understand that you've just pushed it too far and live to fight another day, rather than pushing through the training.

If your body's saying, Hey, this is a hard note today.

[00:19:00] Kurt: Totally. Yeah. Yeah. Just keep the consistency, like over time approach and, and know that like what you're doing like this week, you'll be better for like, you know, three months down the, down the road, like everything is just like compounds on itself. So just like keeping, keeping that consistency and that long-term approach, you know, weeks and months and years.

And. And eventually you'll be able to do, do more than you thought you'd be able to do. So.

[00:19:25] Craig: Yeah, you were, you were mentioning sort of there's muscle store, Innes and fatigue, and then there's a fine line between that next stage of actual injury. Are there things that we should be looking out for to know, like, Hey, we've maybe crossed the line and we need to pay a little bit more attention to what's going on.

[00:19:42] Kurt: So I think anything. Well, like pain-wise like in, in muscles or tendons or joint, like, you know, anything that's transitioning towards like a sharp pain or like a nervy sort of sensation where it's numbness or tingling or anything that just like is getting worse as you're going from a pain perspective.

Yeah. Like it's you want to like, not push through too much of that. So we like four out of 10 on a, just a pain, visual, analog scale is a good kind of cutoff. Like, so if you're, if you're doing something and it's like, you're like a four out of 10 or it's pain, that's like not really tolerable or getting worse than it's usually like a good idea to like, you know, shut it down.

Or Go easier and kind of make your way, make your way home. and then, you know, there are like more like medical emergencies. Like rhabdomyolysis that I mentioned like that people are, you're going to notice, like, basically, like you will be completely, like, you'll be unable to go on. And like, people like collapse and it's like an ambulance call.

So obviously like using common sense about that or like anything like with your heart just Yeah,

[00:20:50] Craig: Yeah,

[00:20:51] Kurt: pay attention to your vital, your vitals. If your apple watch tells you you're having a heart attack, then you should probably call an ambulance.

[00:20:59] Craig: yeah, exactly. Don't use your pigheaded endurance athlete mentality to power through absolutely everything. Just some of the hard stuff.

[00:21:06] Kurt: Yeah, exactly.

[00:21:07] Craig: Transitioning a little bit. Now we've talked a little bit about, you know, what's happening post ride, if we're sore and, and what to look out for in terms of injury, are there things we should be doing before we get on the bike that would help our muscles that day and, and after the ride.

[00:21:24] Kurt: Yeah.

So, I think this is kind of like big picture stuff. Like the, the things that we can consistently do over over time to help in a preventative way are kind of like just nailing down the basics that I think we all probably like know about, but like, you know, diet and sleep and overall life stress.

Yeah, like making sure that your nutrition before, before rides and during rides and after rides is, is, is good and adequate. And then making sure that your, your bike set up is good. Your bike fit is good. So in terms of specifically like pre pre ride like. just making sure that you've got enough fuel and hydration.

And like my kind of preference for a warmup is just do the activity pretty easily for the first, you know, 10, 15, 20 minutes. So, I'm somebody that like, I, I like to just, you know, get out and start going pretty, pretty easily and let my body warm up that way. Sometimes people will prefer more of like a dynamic warmup.

So maybe you spend five minutes doing some, some stretches for parts that, you know, are tight hamstrings or

quads or hip flexors or, or back. So a little bit of dynamic stretching is probably a really good idea, but but yeah,

[00:22:36] Craig: Yeah, I spoke to some about that dynamic stretching idea. Just the idea of doing a few, few motions to get your body kind of understanding what's going to come when you throw a leg over the bike.

[00:22:47] Kurt: Totally. And then also like even some like spinal extension, so bending your, your back backwards, just gently, like, all these things. Should you be like gentle around? Not trying to force it, but just like, we're going to spend a prolonged amount of time, like in a very similar position for our spine.

So just doing some of That like, even like the opposite motion of you know, getting some, some back extension or some thoracic rotation in there. So, yeah, any sort of, of movement and kind of being intentionally vague there because one of the issues that I think we have with with warmups or recovery is like, there's so much information out there and there's so much stuff that you could do.

so the best thing to do is, is do something that is. Easy for you to do consistently and that you'll actually do. And that you kind of, to some extent, enjoy doing or get some satisfaction out of doing. So I think there's a lot of room for individual variability in a, in a warmup. But the big thing is you nail the basics and kind of just be consistent with that.

[00:23:42] Craig: That makes sense. The bigger area I wanted to talk to about is really the post ride recovery and the things we can do. I mean, I often get off the bike and, you know, obligated to do something immediately with the family or my son. I need to jump on it and I don't pay any attention other than maybe having a drink and recovery drink after I get off the bike.

But in an ideal world, what are we doing? That's going to help promote the healing of those micro, micro tears in your muscles. And anything you can do to feel better. Maybe talk about it from, Hey, if you only have a tiny amount of time to, Hey, if you really want to go do everything you can, these are what you can do.

[00:24:20] Kurt: Yeah. Yeah, Totally. Yeah. And so that's the that's the hard thing is like, we, we want to spend as much time doing the thing that we want to do. So, we want to get that extra mile and on the bike or do that extra of blue on the, on the bike. And then we come home and like, yeah, I have to go straight into the shower and go to work or like yeah,

take care of the kiddos or, or whatever gets your day


[00:24:42] Craig: I always, I always tell my wife, like the greatest gift I have is when I have a two hour ride, but a three hour one. It just feels like such a luxury because it's usually I have a two hour window and I'm going to do an hour and 59 minute ride.

[00:24:56] Kurt: Yep. That's so that's so true. And I think we're all guilty of that. It's like, like I know that I could get back 10 minutes early and I could do some, some stretches or I could do those strength exercises. My PT told me to do, or I could make myself a better breakfast and not, you know, eat in the car on the way to work or whatever.

But yeah, at the end of the day, like we want to do What we want to do. so I think. I think if it is like, just building in like five minutes, honestly, like, if you can consistently do that, like, maybe not even after all of your rides, but after like a hard effort or your long ride on the weekend.

Just say like, I'm gonna, like when I get off the bike, I'm going to. Five minutes for myself. Just kind of like relaxing, you know, get your post ride nutrition, go and get, get, start to get rehydrated. I think that stuff should definitely be a priority, especially as we're getting back towards the summer months here pretty soon, hopefully.

But and then yeah, for me, like that ritual should include like some sort of like soft tissue, self mobilization, or maybe just dynamic stretching something

[00:25:57] Craig: mean? What, what is that self, what you just said? I didn't understand what that meant.

[00:26:01] Kurt: Oh, sorry. So, yeah. So yeah, soft tissue mobilization is kind of a fancier word for essentially like massage. So, soft tissue is, you know, muscle or tendon or a fascia any of the, the softer structures in our body. So, that's like, a really big really big thing in the kind of recovery world is like, we know that.

Elite athletes. They're going to get off the bike. They're going to have an hour long massage. And there is something to that because everyone still does it if they have the time and the money and the luxury to do that. but there's not a ton of like, like great like scientific evidence as to why, like massage or soft tissue work, like how it actually like physically.

Helps us, like there's a lot of like theories at the tissue level. And, then at the person level as to why that like helps us recover. But so, so most of us, like, you know, we're not going to have the time to do that especially every day. So if you can just spend five minutes, like while you're at your car, before you drive back home or before you even like come in the house, you know, just have have foam roller or RA or something like that.

Where you're going to hang the bike up and just like do it in your routine. And so basically saw self soft tissue mobilization to get back to that is using something like a foam roller or the RA or, or the stick or some, some other tool to, massage your muscles yourself. So I think we're all familiar with that.

[00:27:27] Craig: And, and how D how deeply do you need to go into, like, would the stack or a foam roller, like sometimes, you know, when you're laying on the foam roller, you can put all your weight on or only partial weight. I think the masochist in us often like thinks like, oh, you gotta push it in really hard in order for it to have an effect.

What is that right balance? It's just a matter of getting that motion across the muscle or does it need to have some, some power into it?

[00:27:52] Kurt: Yeah.

So that's like, I think you could ask that question to a room of, of PTs or other kind of similar field and you might get you know, 10 different answers, but basically the, the benefits of, of that are the only reliable thing that we know that massage is doing is creating a central nervous system.

Relaxation response. And indogenous dopamine release, which basically means like, you know, dope means are our endorphins, our feel good. Endorphin. So we're creating some sort of relaxation response globally from our brain down to our muscles. So, we can like see that like with certain types of MRIs and, and brain MRIs.

So. And then the other kind of theories are like, we're, we're moving around water. We're kind of flushing out our muscles where maybe loosening up the different fascial layers between muscle and skin and getting those to glide better. There's like the trigger point release theory. So a trigger point is a tight muscle not, or, or abandoned the tissue into your pushing on that and in restricting blood flow.

And then you're getting it. Release that way. So my interpretation of all that is like, we know that we're getting our brain to relax our muscles. And then on top of that, there's probably some of those local tissue level responses that are also at play too. So. Long, long story to that question is like, it can be kind of up to you.

Like what you want. It doesn't have to be extremely painful. And it, in my opinion, I don't think it should be super painful, but like it, you know, it's okay if it's like uncomfortable, for sure. Especially when you find those tight spots in, in the muscles that you've been, been working pretty hard. so I think it should be like pretty firm, but it doesn't have to be killing you.

And if you're really sore, then it could be really gentle. So it could be kind of whatever you feel like you need.

[00:29:42] Craig: So I'm curious, and I'm certainly not asking you to pick either or, but the first thing you mentioned was a self massage or foam rolling. As if you only had five minutes. A lot of times I've thought about like, oh, I get off the bike and I want to stretch, like stretching might be my go-to. Would you, would you say the foam rolling self massage first.

And then if you have more time later and stretching after that,

[00:30:05] Kurt: Yeah.

I honestly I'd say some variability in there is probably good. Depending, it's going to be person to person dependent. So, like there's a lot of days where I feel like I just want to grab the, the RA and just like, you know, roll on my, my quads and my calves and my hamstring. And that's kinda all I need and I don't feel like I need to really do any, any stretching.

But then Yeah. there's other days where like, know the, the opposite might be true. So, I think it's good to like, just get in a routine of spending that time, doing something. And honestly, like if we designed a, a science experiment where we like had group a, do one and group B do the other it probably would come out like fairly similar in a long-term kind of like study It makes a lot better sense to me and my brain to like actually kind of get in there and like use use some force to like, get things like moving around at the, at that local level.

And that's gonna also get like that nice, like central nervous system, like pain modulation, just like get everything to settle down. so I think that the massage kind of stuff is, seems to be more More beneficial in my mind, but it one of those things, again, like if we only have a couple of minutes, like just pick something and do it and don't get bogged on this, the specifics.

[00:31:14] Craig: Just, yeah, just make sure you're maximizing those minutes, whatever you're doing

[00:31:18] Kurt: and

that's why

[00:31:18] Craig: a little bit more,

[00:31:19] Kurt: I like something that's portable. So like, if you're you know, if you're driving to a parking lot or a Trailhead before you start your ride, then

Something that you can take with you. Like

You're keeping it in your car or. And you're in your bag with your snacks for post ride or whatever, like just, yeah.

Pull out the, the real recovery RA and like that you can do it, like sitting at the back of your, your, your car before you even like, get, get in the. Getting the car and drive away. Like, that's what I try to do because I know like once I get home, I'm not going to do it. But

you see, I mean, in Boulder we see people with that foam rollers that they're Trailhead and all sorts of things the massage guns, like there's all sorts of things that are out there.

And I think finding the thing that works for you is it's totally fine.

[00:32:04] Craig: Yeah, it certainly seems like the recovery industry over the last five or six years has exploded. And we've we referenced the roll recovery, our eight a couple of times already, but we haven't really talked about what that is. So we set the stage by saying, Hey, foam, rolling. Great thing. You can do.

Pretty simple. One tool. The RA is something that is similar in terms of its efficacy. It's just approaching it in a little different, little different way.

[00:32:32] Kurt: Yeah. Yeah, totally. In the, oh, you have the adjustable version too. I

[00:32:36] Craig: Yeah. So what what I, what, it's hard to describe to the listener, right? But it's basically, you know, it's, it's got what, what is like almost four rollerblade wheels and a spring loaded that you can adjust and you can bring it to the outside of your leg and it'll roll up and down, making it maybe easier to use while you're sitting versus a foam roller, which may require you to be laying on the ground.

[00:33:00] Kurt: Yeah.


Sitting or standing. And honestly, I, when they first came out with this product, I. Being a PT, like I, I convinced people to exercise all the time and I thought like, oh, well, I mean, people are, if you were going to choose to spend something that's more expensive than a regular, you know, $20 foam roller, I think most people are just had picked up the foam roller and I've been really surprised.

Like I, you know, having had one of these in the clinic and just like having people try it, like people love it because it's simple, it's easy. And I think even. Getting down on the ground is a barrier for some people. And, and you also just can't you can't get as much pressure, like in certain places where you need it, you know, your calf or like the lateral part of your quad, like new your it band.

So, yeah, I think, I think it is a pretty useful tool to have something that can be handheld and that you can

kind of like adjust the pressure by either like turning the dial to make it harder or pressing a little bit harder. With your hand on that one, one spot and just kinda like run through places that are that are feeling like you worked on.

And then when you kind of find a spot that's sore, kind of just seek and destroy, you know, and you're just like find that tight spot and, and press on and gets released. So, so

[00:34:09] Craig: Yeah, I do find it. I do find it a little bit easier than the foam roller, to be honest, again, just being lazy and maybe sitting around watching TV, I can take the the RA and just run it across my legs and feel like I'm, I'm doing some of the work.

[00:34:22] Kurt: Yeah. And the, the kind of the rubber grippiness is good. Like, I think a lot of times what people like from manual therapy that like I do is like, we're kind of putting a little bit of stretch on that fascia and we're, we're getting things in, things are Elise in that way. So I think there's something to be said for like the kind of the grippiness to, of the different, not inserts that they have, that you can kind of swap in and out.

So, Yeah, that's,

that's one of my go tos, I think

[00:34:46] Craig: the other, the other big thing that's exploded, I think has been the percussion massage tools that are out there and a number of different brands offer that type of product. Is that, is that kind of doing a similar thing just in a more targeted way? Or how do you think about those devices?

[00:35:03] Kurt: Yeah, I think those are any of those are pretty cool as well. Yeah. Everybody's everybody's asking me about those these days, and those are great for those harder to get areas where like, the, the glute meat or TFL, like a lot of times people have tightness there. so it's going to be like a little bit more pinpoint and essentially a similar effect in that it is going to create this again, like top-down.

Relaxation of, of the, of the muscle that we're trying to work on. But it just doing it by like hammering at it really, really quickly. And it's something like for me, I like it in certain areas. And then and then I just like the more pressure in other areas. So if you can have both, then it's like one of those things you can, you can have both, but again, like something that's easy to use and and portable, which is nice.

[00:35:52] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like over the years, I've just sort of subsequently Rico acquired more and more of these devices

[00:35:58] Kurt: Oh, yeah,

[00:35:59] Craig: I haven't, I just don't do it enough. That's the main problem. But again, some of these are really helping me improve the amount of time I spend on my, on my muscles, which they're appreciating

[00:36:09] Kurt: Yeah. Totally.

[00:36:11] Craig: the other one I wanted to just, just tease out with you and understand a little bit better.

You know, when we see the pro tour riders on the road, In their, in their team buses after the races, I often see them in these air recovery boots. And I'm curious, like just what's going on with those.

[00:36:28] Kurt: Yeah. So, I'll be honest. I've only used those a couple of times. Like when they were pretty new, when I was like in college who had some of those in the training room and basically it's compression and I believe it's greeted and compression. So it's kind of the idea Is mechanically pushing pushing fluid back, like approximately towards your Towards your torso.

So helping you kind of queer lymphatic fluid or like are kind of low pressure venous system. So that's the idea is it's kind of like helping to flush you're flushing your muscles out. So for me, me personally, the, the juice isn't worth the squeeze with, with those I being a PTM bias to encourage people to do some sort of movement.

And, and those are kind of the opposite of that. It's saying like, oh, well, why don't you do. Sit here and then this will help you help your muscles. And in reality, I think if you probably just went for a walk or chased your kids around the playground for that same 20 minutes, I think that might be that might be the same benefit there.

[00:37:26] Craig: Is it, am I understanding you correctly that it's attempting to do something different than the foam rolling or massage gun would do?

[00:37:32] Kurt: I think so, because those are going to be just more global. It's just pressure on your whole, whole leg. So it's in at the same time. So on both at the same time, they're just pushing, pushing fluid up to your lymphatic system to be kind of like flushed in and cleared out. I haven't seen any data or anything on, on, on the ethicacy of that, but like, a lot of people still use them, especially in pro situations.

And I feel like everyone I know in Boulder has has one and and people love them. So I think there must be something, something to it. But but yeah, the idea is it's it's pushing fluid away from your, extremities, which in theory should be, should be helpful. So I think that

could be a helpful to,

[00:38:12] Craig: does your body process? So if it's pushing it away from your extremities, into your, your kind of core, does the body process it through the core more efficiently and get it out of the body?

[00:38:22] Kurt: yeah, exactly. So basically like any time. Like our lymphatic system and our venous system is a low pressure system, will our arteries are high pressure. So, if that's why gravity has an effect on DEMA and swelling. And so if somebody, you know, was is, has surgery or screens, if you sprain your ankle, that's an extreme case of there's a lot of.

Swelling in that limb. And so, you know, if you elevate your leg above your heart, while you're laying on the couch, then gravity is going to help that kind of like trickle down sort of torch your organs, where that's going to be like filtered and then put that fluid gets put back into your bloodstream eventually.

So it's the idea is it's basically like, compressing and bringing that fluid to be recycled faster. Yeah, that makes sense.

[00:39:11] Craig: Yeah, it's super interesting. Super interesting. Cool. Well, I appreciate you giving us like this overview and I like the fact that we've left, left the listener with this idea of like, you know, there's a hierarchy of things you can be doing to support yourself post ride. And the very basics are carve out just a few minutes of your time.

Work on a little foam rolling or self massage as at a bare minimum. And then beyond that layer in these other modalities of repair, if you have time, but the important thing is just build this into your routine.

[00:39:45] Kurt: Totally. Yeah, And then and just have it be something that you can do consistently and then also just make sure that you're, you're covering the basics with yeah. Your nutrition and sleep and life stress. And we should all be doing some strength training, like twice a week, even if it's not our thing I'm doing.

Some just general strength training for the legs and arms can be whatever you want, or it can be very specific to biking is also really important for our bodies and longevity in the sport and moving in different ways. So I definitely think that's an important part of recovery, even though it's kind of on the, on the front side, you know, it's not gonna help you after you're sore, but it'll help you from getting sore by doing things if you're, if you're stronger going into that.

[00:40:26] Craig Dalton: That's great perspective, Kurt. Thanks. And thanks for joining us.

[00:40:31] Kurt: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for having me fun to talk with you.

[00:40:33] Craig Dalton: Cheers. That's going to do it for this week's broadcast big. Thanks to the feed for sponsoring the show. And remember, simply visit the gravel ride to get 50% off your first order of the feed formula.

And a big thank you to Kurt for joining us. I hope you learned a lot about recovery. I know, I sure did. There's definitely things that I need to integrate into my routine. If you're interested in connecting with me, I encourage you to join the ridership. Simply go to and join our free online community.

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