Matt Jaggard, Head of Strength and Conditioning with the Delgado and Lee Pro Tennis Academy tells us about the negative effects of air travel and how to negate these effects to maximise performance on arrival.
E-Book: International Travel and Tournament Preparation for Tennis
LinkedIn: Matt Jaggard
Air Travel and Improving Athlete Readiness with Compex
If you are an athlete competing at the top then it is highly likely that you will be exposed to a vast amount of international air travel. Travel days are not easy and they are certainly not rest or recovery days which is a point of view I have come across all too often.
Travelling has the potential to, and almost definitely will have an effect on your physiological and psychological state. The research is clear in demonstrating this with both short-haul and long-haul travel.
Direction of travel Time Zones Crossed Flight Time Findings N/A 0 1hr Enhanced cardiovascular stress. Heart Rate, Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure, Rate Pressure Product (Heart Rate x Systolic blood pressure) and Mean Blood Pressure all altered significantly. Psychological and physiological stress contributing to travel fatigue East 6 9hrs 20m Autonomic Nervous System activity assessed via Spectral Analysis of HRV. Reduced function on arrival, full volume and intensity recommended after 3 days East 5 7hrs 50m Athletic function only effected on days 3, 4 & 5. Measures back to baseline on day 6. Delayed effect. West 7 11hrs 30m Autonomic Nervous System activity assessed via Spectral Analysis of HRV. Delayed effects of travel, reduced volume and intensity recommended for day 3 East & West 7 15hrs 30m Irrespective of travel direction, reduced maximal sprint and counter movement jump performance was evident up to day 3 and 4 following travel, respectively
Fig 1. Psychological and physiological information collected on various flight lengths and directions. 1, 2, 3, 4
As you can see from the table above, athlete readiness can be immediately reduced after what seems like a simple 1hr commercial flight. Addition to a number of performance markers are heavily effected for up to 5 days following longer flights.
Competition normally start just days after arriving at a new destination. This means negating the negative effects associated with air travel should be the number one priority for all athletes. Therefore, this will help improve readiness on arrival and reduce the need to manage travel fatigue and drastically alter training plans prior to competition.
Combating the negative effects of travel and aiding athlete readiness
Compex recovery and massage programs which help increase blood flow are available on all Compex Muscle Stim products. This can be effective both during and after short or long haul flights.
Research has shown that whilst using Compex devices, frequencies between 3-9 Hz can demonstrate a 181-276% increase in blood flow5. Moreover, this will help combat the thrombosis experienced during air travel. As a result, this helps to negate negative physiological effects associated with travel and improve athlete readiness on arrival.
To explore international travel in more detail, looking at how to adapt to perform when acclimatising to heat, altitude or after crossing multiple time zones you can learn more from Matt’s book ‘International Travel and Tournament Preparation for Tennis’ with the general principles applying to all athletes and sports.
2 Botek, M., Stejskal, P., & Svozil, Z. (2009). Autonomic nervous system activity during acclimatization after rapid air travel across time zones: A case study. Acta Gymnica, 39(2), 13-21.
3 Fowler, P. M., Knez, W., Crowcroft, S., Mendham, A. E., Miller, J., Sargent, C. H. A. R. L. I., ... & Duffield, R. (2017). Greater effect of east versus west travel on jet lag, sleep, and team sport performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
4 Thornton, H. R., Miller, J., Taylor, L., Sargent, C., Lastella, M., & Fowler, P. M. (2018). Impact of short-compared to long-haul international travel on the sleep and wellbeing of national wheelchair basketball athletes. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(13), 1476-1484.
5 Zicot, M., & Rigaux, P. (1995). Effect of the frequency of neuromuscular electric stimulation of the leg on femoral arterial blood flow. Journal des Maladies Vasculaires, 20(1), 9-13.
We hear from Managing Director of Stronglines Physio Clinic, Fred Braithwaite, as he tells us how Compex assists them on their mission to rehabilitating their clients.
Compex is an awesome product. We have used it at Stronglines for years. We have used it post surgically, to facilitate muscle recruitment and to utilise eccentric overload without direct joint stress. We like it because it works and it fits perfectly into the rehab process.
At Stronglines we are very selective with the clinical intervention we use. Often products that physio’s use are trying to replace hands on treatment or apply some mystical powers to the area with very little clinical reasoning at all. Compex is NOT this.
Compex is unique in its ability as it is not trying to replace anything. It acts as an adjunct to accelerate treatment and allows the therapist and client to work together toward a common goal. It is the only clinical intervention that really facilitates active rehabilitation. Aside from it being the best in the market, it also has products available for both clinicians and clients. This makes it clinically relevant and applicable as the client can take home the benefits from using it in clinic.
We view it as a useful clinical tool to facilitate 3 main things:
#1 MUSCLE INHIBITION (see video)
- In the first clip you see near total involuntary contraction of the quads. The Compex is extending the knee joint almost entirely. For the client, it is uncomfortable yes, but it gives fantastic input and the benefits far outweigh the discomfort.
- Even if there is total 100% muscle inhibition we can fire it up and gain some afferent input as well as stimulating all muscle fibres to help prevent as much atrophy.
#2 NEUROMUSCULAR REPROGRAMMING (see video)
- The second clip is a patterning exercise, this a nice way to create or reinforce the engram without excessive load but offers a real challenge for lower limb control also.
- The electrodes are on the glute and quads in this
- Once the muscle is firing we can put it into a functional pattern and use Compex to turn the heat up on it.
#3 MUSCULAR CAPACITY (see video)
- The third clip is a squat to build capacity in the movement. The Compex creates a massive eccentric component which will bring on serious DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) with very little volume or intensity.
- The electrodes are on the glute and quads for this.
- Once the muscle is patterned we can build capacity with very little loading. Whilst the Compex is on there is little fatigue, but the eccentric component creates superb adaptation.
#4 ECCENTRIC OVERLOAD (see video)
- The fourth clip is an example of loading with Compex. Again you can use relatively low loads but yield high stimulus with Compex.
- The electrodes are again on the glutes and quads.
- Get the most from the protective and restorative effects of eccentric training using Compex. The DOMS from Compex are second to none! This means micro trauma, which means supercompensation leading to a solid recovery.
With all these benefits clinically, you can also use it to recover from sessions with the massage settings. That’s why we love Compex. It is so useful for all clients, from post-surgical, to athletes, to weekend warriors it has a huge potential application.
Dr Sue Knowles is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, who works for Changing Minds UK (www.changingmindsuk.com), and an author of self-help books for young people.
Top Tips for coping in Stressful Times:
1) Getting a good night’s sleep – Sleep is so, so important for your health and wellbeing. Maybe use this opportunity of being in lockdown to think about and improve your sleep routine, and you’ll see a big impact upon how you generally feel. Start by asking yourself, am I getting enough sleep every night? Do I have a proper bedtime routine? Do I generally go to bed and get up at about the same time? Is my bedroom an appealing place to sleep? (cool, dark, quiet). Then start to make little tweaks to your sleep routine and notice yourself start to feel a little more refreshed each day.
2) Closeness and connection – We need closeness and feelings of connection with others – it’s what makes us human. Although it can be hard to be physically close to others right now, think carefully about how you can continue to connect. It might be sending a text, photo or video, checking-in with friends or family, sending an email, or having a videocall, or finding ways to play games together online. You may even want to go old-school and send a letter.
3) Keep up with our exercise – For lots of people, exercise is one of the best coping strategies. It can relieve stress and tension, help us to ‘let go’ of the day, make us feel physically better, and improve our mood. It can also be an important part of our daily routine. Although you might not be able to exercise in the ways that you usually would (such as going to the gym) seek out other ways to exercise and be creative.
4) Self-soothing – One of the best ways to make ourselves feel better, is to find things that help us to feel soothed. Is it snuggling with a blanket on the sofa, having a bath, having a bowl of warm comforting soup, sitting in front of an open fire, or kneading dough? Everyone is a bit different, so you can have fun exploring what works best for you. For example, some people prefer warmth (a hot water bottle, hot bath etc.) and others prefer the cold (a cold compress or icy cold drink).
5) Opposite emotion – One way to alter our emotional state, is to do things that play into the opposite emotion. For example, if we’re feeling sad or low, it can be useful to watch a funny film/comedy show, read an uplifting book or listen to a high-energy playlist. Or if we’re feeling angry, we can listen to calming music and try to relax our bodies.
6) Release any tension – When we get stressed, angry or anxious, we tend to hold this emotion within our bodies. Sometimes we don’t realise that we are feeling this way until we do a body scan. Try checking in with your body right now – how am I feeling in my body? Am I tense? Are my shoulders relaxed? If you feel any tension, gently let it go on each outbreath. Slowly notice your body start to relax. Other useful ways to let go of any tension are doing progressive muscle relaxation exercises or having a massage.
7) Tune into the here and now – When going through a stressful period, we might notice that our minds race, and our thoughts feel overwhelming. But when we can calm our minds, this can help us to feel much better, more in control, and reduce feelings of stress. Mindfulness is a technique that helps us to pause, quiet our minds, and ‘be aware’ in the present moment. There are lots of great apps out there with guided meditations that you can use, or you might want to try out the ‘breathing mindfulness exercise’ below.
8) Remember what works for YOU – We have often been through tough times in our lives and have somehow learned ways to get through them. Try to think back of what has helped you to cope in the past: what did you learn from that experience? What strengths can you draw upon now to help you to cope with what you are currently going through? What coping strategies can you use again?
9) Be kind to yourself – In this stressful time, the headlines suggest that society is generally being more empathic and compassionate. It’s absolutely true that lots of people are going out of their way to care for, and support, other people. But sometimes, we forget to do this for ourselves. We can continue to hold unrealistic and high standards for ourselves, when we would never expect this of others. It’s important to remind ourselves that we are going through this too, and that “It’s okay to not be okay”.
Find a comfortable position, whether you are lying down or sitting on a chair. If you’re sitting, make sure that your back remains straight, but allow your shoulders to gently drop. Notice your eyelids starting to feel heavy and gently close your eyes. Feel your body becoming heavy and allow it to sink down into the chair or bed. Acknowledge a sense of your body and mind slowing down. When you’re ready, bring your attention to your breathing, breathing in slowly…and out slowly.
Bring your attention to your chest, feeling it rise gently on your in-breath, and fall on the out-breath. Continue to focus upon your breathing, staying with each in-breath and each out-breath.
Every time you notice that your mind starts to wander, as it naturally will, gently bring your attention back to the feeling of the breath. If your mind wanders from the breath a thousand times, then your job is simply to gently bring your attention back to the breath each time, gently and compassionately.
Now, when you feel ready, gently bring your attention to your nose. Feel the cold air rushing through your nostrils on the in-breath, and the warm air rushing out through your mouth on the out-breath. If you find it hard to focus, perhaps swap this around, and breath in through your mouth and out through your nose.
Finally, when you feel ready, bring your attention to the whole breath. Notice how the cold air rushes in through your nostrils, how your chest rises and falls, and the warm air rushes out of your mouth. Be with each breath for its whole journey.
To end the mindfulness exercise, slowly bring your attention back to the room, gently open your eyes, and wiggle your toes.
To receive 20% off Compex Muscle Stim units, use the code: WELLNESS
In these challenging times, many of our Compex Practitioners are still available to offer online or telephone appointments. To book a paid appointment please use the contacts below:
020 8372 5926
The Physio Clinic Bristol - Pete Tang
£25 an online session or FREE for any NHS employees
5 Valleys Physio
Contact: Geoff Twinning
Prime Performance Physiotherapy
Guy Rogers – 01949 485084
Compex extends partnership with Team Bahrain McLaren
Compex is pleased to announce that we will be Team Bahrain McLaren’s official muscle stimulators partner in 2020.
Compex is a Swiss brand that over a period of 30 years has become the world leader in portable muscle stimulators for improved performance & recovery in sports.
Our partnership will allow Bahrain McLaren’s athletes to take advantage of Compex technology through the Compex SP 8.0. Sonny Colbrelli is happy about the partnership in helping his performance “I’m really happy to have Compex onboard. It’s a reliable and excellent support both to perform and to recover better. In one tool we can work on activation, recovery and strength. I use it, especially after a long day of training. It’s the best choice for muscle recovery, to recover faster and better. Moreover, it is easy to use and carry with us during our travels. In this period in which there are no competitions, I do two sessions a day: one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. This serves me to keep the muscles active and recover better after training efforts. I use Compex even in the case of small contractures because I saw that it helps me a lot.”
Arno Bosman, Global Compex Expert, said: “Compex aim is to help improve the performance of the team and relieve muscle pain, so we work together with the Team Bahrain McLaren staff to integrate Compex in the daily life of the cyclists.”
Pascal Bily, Compex General Manager, said: “We’re delighted to extend our successful partnership with the Team Bahrain McLaren with the renewal of our commercial partnership, we look forward to helping the team train stronger and recover faster.”
Physiotherapist and L1 CrossFit Trainer, TJ García walks us through integrating Compex with your functional training routine.
Compex: Hi TJ, hope you're well! What benefits does Compex give you for your functional training?
TJ García: Sometimes functional training focuses on all-over exercises such as squats, dead lifting, and others. But we mustn’t forget the need for exercises that target specific areas, in order to avoid potential imbalances that can stop us from seeing improvements from these workouts. In these cases, electrical stimulation can help us to work on a specific muscle, such as the gluteus medius through squats, to make sure that the knee doesn’t go inwards.
It also helps us to gain strength since electrical stimulation helps us increase the number of muscular fibres that respond to contraction, making it more powerful and efficient. We can also work on muscle resistance to make the muscles more resistant to fatigue. It is a great help in recovery, because it helps our muscles to relax, and it vascularises the area, cleaning waste products away from the muscle, which are generated when we train.
Other benefits are the convenience of being able to stick on some electrodes anywhere, at a competition, in the car, before and after training, and with wireless technology you can easily include it in your training.
Compex: How would you define Compex in 3 words?
TJ García: Effective, convenient and versatile.
Compex: Do you have any tips for anyone starting functional training?
TJ García: Always start off with a good trainer who corrects your technique, and have the patience to learn to do the movements properly.
Compex: What is it that makes functional training attractive and essential to you?
TJ García: The fact that it helps us become more agile and stronger for our daily life, for lifting suitcases or children, having a strong and healthy back, being able to run after your child or your niece or nephew without getting out of breath, at the end of the day it helps us enjoy life more.
Mat was a US Olympic weightlifting team hopeful until suffering a back injury. Despite doctors telling him he would never lift again, Mat was persistent in his recovery and returned to compete for Team USA.
After retiring from weightlifting Mat found CrossFit to start casually lifting again. CrossFit became much more to Mat as he earned back to back second place finishes in the 2014 and 2015 CrossFit Games. Mat claimed the ultimate title as Fittest Man on the Earth in 2016 and 2017.
Compex: Hey Mat, please tell us a bit about how do you use your Compex device?
Mat: I use the strength cycles on it quite a bit, especially on my quads. I have been using it on the muscles around my ankle pre and post workout. Using the warm up program helps loosen up the muscles while the recovery programs help me get through my long training days.
Compex: Sounds like you’re getting great use out of it! How has your Compex device helped your training?
Mat: It's supplemented and added to my training. Like I said I use it for recovery, activation and strength. So it has been very helpful all around.
Compex: Why do you love it?
Mat: I just really like how it is one tool for activation, recovery and strength. It's really easy to use and it works. It's a big part of my training.
Compex: What is your favourite program on the device?
Mat: I love any of the strength cycles. It's crazy to me how much I feel like I worked out after doing one. They are awesome to get some more work in.
Compex: Awesome, thanks for sitting down with us, Mat!
Compex: Hey Will! Great to see you as always, let the Compex audience know a bit about you. What's your background?
Will: Hey guys, so I am based in Cheltenham but own a gym in Worcester. I train at CrossFit Cheltenham and Bullpen Fitness. I've been competing in CrossFit for about 6/7 years now and became affiliated with the Compex UK team, previously I played national level rugby.
Compex: Thanks! Tell us more about your sporting career and your highlights...
Will: I compete in CrossFit. I suppose a few highlights are: finishing twice top 10 in the European Regionals, winning a regional workout, winning an open workout (in my region) and winning various high level competitions throughout Europe.
Compex: That's a great level to have reached and we've loved being a part of your journey. How does Compex Muscle Stim help you to find a competitive edge?
Will: For me, every time I squat I use my Compex SP8.0 WOD Edition afterwards. Ideally I'll use it within 3 hours just to get some blood flow through my legs and speed up the recovery process. I have had tendon problems in my knees in the past because of tight quads so the Compex definitely helps to relieve this tightness.
Compex: Which program/s do you use?
Will: Mainly training or competition recovery after workouts and events.
Compex: (If applicable) do you use other Compex products?
Will: Knee sleeves to provide support when I'm lifting - I can recommend those for sure!
Compex: Tell us about your team training, if you can send a logo too and if you want any offers putting out.
Will: So Team Training is an online programming company. We initially started writing CrossFit/functional fitness style programmes, but are now beginning to expand. We initially offered strength, conditioning and non bias programmes designed to cater for different athletes. These are priced at £10 per month. We now offer a 3-per-week program, a pure strength programme and a 16 week pull up programe=me. The strength and the pull programs can be purchased in blocks so you will start at the beginning of the cycle. All of our other programmes allow people to simply jump straight in. The strength and pull blocks are priced at £30.
Check our website for more details: www.teamtrainingprogramming.co.uk
Compex: Sounds great and really enterprising Will. Best of luck with it and any upcoming events and we hope to see you again soon!
Compex: Hi Frederik, great to see you and hope you're well! Please give us an insight to you?
Frederik: Hi guys, certainly so I'm from Belgium, living in Menen close to the border with France (Lille) and I'm affiliated to Compex Benelux team.
Compex: Thanks Frederik, and how did you get into your sport?
Frederik: I'm a Triathlete. I started when I was 17 (I'm now 40 in 2019) and I turned pro when I was 23, having previously been a competition swimmer. My goal as an athlete is to continue until 2020 and win as many Ironman as possible. I still have 3 years to prove my value. For me, the important thing is to believe in yourself, and that's what I do all the time.
Compex: That's great, you've certainly been a committed Triathlete for a long time! How does Compex Muscle Stim help you to find a competitive edge?
Frederik: Compex helps me in every concept to improve. To recover faster and better so that I can train harder to get stronger.
Compex: Good to hear! Which programme/s do you use?
Frederik: I use it for Recovery after training and competition which really helps me a lot. I also use it before some training sessions to prepare muscle activity, which is very helpful!
Compex: Do you use other Compex products?
Frederik: I'm really interested in using Compex Tape more often.
Compex: Awesome, well we wish all the best for the season Frederik, we're sure you'll smash it!
Frederik: Thanks a lot guys!
Tony Voisin: Athlete OCR
Fitness instructor and coach
2017 Vice World Champion OCR
Compex: Hi Tony, it's a pleasure to meet with you - please could you tell us a little bit about yourself? How you got into the sport and your relationship with Compex?
Tony Voisin: Okay, so I practice the obstacle course. Sport for me is a lifestyle and I think that today it is the best medicine to guard against the bad things in the world. I've been affiliated to the Compex France team since 2018.
Compex: Great, and which Compex device do you use? How did you hear about Compex and what programmes do you use?
Tony: Currently I am using the Compex SP8 Wod Edition. I discovered Compex in 2016, when I visited the Compex booth at the Body Fitness Show. It was explained to me that this one device could help me recover from competition, and also to participate in my physical preparation and training.
I started to learn a little more and I acquired a Compex device. I first started using the recovery program, and I immediately felt the effects. I also used the program Heavy Legs because I have a problem with blood circulation. Then I integrated the capillarisation and I felt real benefits before my races.
Compex: When and how did you really start integrating Compex into your physical training?
Tony: I started to integrate Compex in my physical training in 2018, in view of the world championships. I first did a 5 week cycle on strength, twice a week, in addition to strength training in bodybuilding and a session in dynamics, that is to say box jumps or heels-buttocks.
Then, I followed up with a cycle of 5 weeks in resistance. I took a week of recovery between the two cycles to recover.
Compex: What did you get out of it?
I feel that in the ribs, which was my weak point, I have more power and I can better resist lactates. I really progressed, my legs are much lighter too!
Compex: The final word?
I will end with a phrase that is a bit my leitmotif: Get up with determination to lie down with satisfaction.