Research suggest that it takes a minimum of 48 hours for complete recovery after a heavy training session or match. For players with heavy training schedules correct recovery is extremely important. Total complete recovery reduces the risk of future injuries and helps muscles to develop. From ice baths to stretching to supplements we have everything you need to know about recovery covered between our site and Instagram. ​

For The Pros

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Cryotherapy Chambers (Advanced Cryotherapy)

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a powerful anti-inflammatory and wound-healing accelerator that could help you to recover rapidly from training or matches. It is also a 

great therapy option for speeding up the healing process after an injury.

HBOT works by dramatically decreasing inflammation, improving vascular flow, increasing stem 

cell release and activation, regenerating bone and cartilage damage, and decreasing scarring. In recent studies, HBOT also works in conjunction with platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections for even greater healing potential in other sports-related injuries beside concussions.

Exposing the body to temperatures of -140 degrees Celsius for a matter of minutes in dry nitrogen rich air. The extreme cold forces the blood to rush to the internal organs allowing them to be replenished with nutrients. After three minutes, your body will be flowing with oxygen-rich blood, rejuvenating the skin, increasing energy levels, improving sleep quality and relieving overall stress. Cryotherapy treatment can also boost calorie burn, assist in muscle recovery, encourage the release of endorphins, and is proven to help with pain management.

Myofascial Release

Blood flow plays a massive role in recovery as it is critical to the body's repair process. The blood carries new building blocks (protein, amino acids) to repair sites to enhance recovery and helps remove the waste products, dead cells or damaged cells from the body. Healthy blood flow is also crucial in carrying hormones that allow the body to communicate with itself and stay in balance.

Knots and tension in our muscles hinder blood flow. Myofascial release relaxes the muscle and gets rids of knots. By eliminating barriers (knots) and hills (tension) the blood flow increases to sore areas, allowing the body to heal. Myofascial release relaxes the muscle, increasing mobility/flexibility.  This allows for a wider range of motion, prevents injuries and overuse and allows for more consistent training.

Massage acts to improve performance, reduce pain, prevent injury, encourage focus, and shorten recovery time. It involves two types of response: a mechanical response as a result of the pressure and movement, and a reflex response by which the nerves respond to the stimulation of a massage.

You may not realise it, but massage affects the cardiovascular system.  It dilates blood vessels, which helps them work more efficiently to promote circulation.  The manual assistance of encouraging venous blood flow back to the heart enhances blood flow, which delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and promotes the removal of waste products and toxins. Thanks to the relaxed state you find yourself in during and after the massage, your heart rate also lowers.

As a therapy, massage can be very efficient at speeding up recovery.

Magnetic Therapy

During training and competition two things occur in the muscles. First, they are being torn and damaged. If muscles are not allowed to rest, larger wounds in the muscle may occur resulting in missed training time, decreased vitality, and reduced performance. Secondly, waste products that lead to a decrease in the supply of oxygen and nutrition to the cells accumulate in the muscle tissue. This also leads to a breakdown in training and performance. The constant pulsing of magnets during magnetic therapy penetrate the body, improving blood circulation that can aid in healing and stimulating metabolism that can lead to the faster removal of waste and an improvement in the cells’ supply of oxygen and nutrients. This regeneration effect leads to safer, quicker recovery after training or competition, and increased performance during training and competition.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy induces three key healing growth factor responses which encourage recovery. The therapy can increase ATP and protein synthesis, improve cell proliferation, and change cell 

membrane permeability to calcium uptake. The result of these changes is that muscular damage can be repaired faster, leading to a quicker recovery time.

For All

Blood flow plays a massive role in recovery as it is critical to the body's repair process. The blood carries new building blocks (protein, amino acids) to repair sites to enhance recovery and helps remove the waste products, dead cells or damaged cells from the body. Healthy blood flow is also crucial in carrying hormones that allow the body to communicate with itself and stay in balance.

Knots and tension in our muscles hinder blood flow. Myofascial release relaxes the muscle and gets rids of knots. By eliminating barriers (knots) and hills (tension) the blood flow increases to sore areas, allowing the body to heal. Myofascial release relaxes the muscle, increasing mobility/flexibility.  This allows for a wider range of motion, prevents injuries and overuse and allows for more consistent training.

Foam rollers are the most common form of self-myofascial release. They are cheap to acquire and fairly simple to use. We recommend using a foam roller, 4 times during a recovery day across all leg muscles including the IT band, as well as lower back. For those with a larger budget, a sports massage on recovery days would be even more beneficial.

Self-Myofascial Release


Sleep is an integral part of living a healthy, balanced life, as well as maintaining a high level of athletic performance and recovering after a match.  Physical training is the catalyst for your body to become faster and stronger. However, it is during rest that your body actually repairs itself in response.  If you train hard, but do not get adequate sleep, you are continually breaking the body down without letting it rebuild and adapt to the training.  This can lead to increased injuries, fatigue, weakness, muscle loss, and a weaker immune system.

'Over-training' can be a legitimate concern for players, however the major concern is less about over-training, as it is about "under-recovering”.  Your body can handle a significant amount of serious training if your nutrition is good and you get enough quality sleep.  

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a powerful hormone that is naturally occurring in your body, which aids in recovery, healing and metabolising fat.  HGH production is at it’s highest in younger players, as they are still growing and developing. Gradually with age its production slows, but it is still important at any age.  There are two times in a day when HGH is typically at it’s highest level, both of which we have control over: one is directly after a intense exercise and the other during deep sleep (when no food is being digested).  If you want to do everything you can to become the best player you can be, you should take advantage of these two times. To improve the quality of your sleep try the following:

- Get 7-9 hours of sleep. Less or more hours is not ideal.

- Try to follow a regular sleeping pattern. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day.

- Aim to sleep in complete darkness if possible.

- Don't eat or drink before sleep.

- Avoid alcohol and caffeine within several hours of sleep.

When getting into an ice bath, the icy cold water causes blood vessels to tighten and drains the blood out of submerged areas. Therefore after the ice bath these areas fill up with 'new' blood that invigorates muscles with oxygen to help the cells function better. The 'new' blood will eventually circulate out of these areas, draining away lactic acid. Although 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) is seen as the optimum temperature for an ice bath, the water can be higher in temperature and still have a positive effect. It's best not to go much colder than this temperature as it hinders the benefits of the bath. 10 minutes in an ice bath will suffice. There is little extra positive effect from staying in for longer.
Contrast baths too can be beneficial. 2 minutes in warm water followed by 1 minute in cool water, repeated 3 times over. This supposedly speeds up the vasodilation and vasoconstriction of blood vessels seen from Ice Baths.

Ice Bath (Basic Cryotherapy)


Correct nutrition is extremely important for recovery. The main components of nutrition for recovery are protein for aid in protein synthesis and carbohydrates to help replace muscle glycogen as well as enhancing the role of insulin in transporting nutrients into cells. On recovery days, for best results, your first major meal of the day should be mostly carbohydrate with a smaller amount of protein and vegetables. Your final major meal should be mostly protein with a smaller amount of carbohydrate and vegetables. You should keep a variety of vegetables in these meals. They are key for recovery as they contain Vitamins A, B, C, and D as well as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc which are all important for injury recovery. For snacks throughout the day, antioxidant rich foods are favoured. These include fruit such as berries and cherries. Due to the inactivity on recovery days, some players may wish to avoid fattier foods however those players with fast metabolism can usually afford a small 'cheat' meal.


In order to reduce recovery time as much as possible we must rest. Any movement, including walking, prolongs recovery time. You should aim to stay off your feet as much as possible on recovery days.

Active Recovery

By exercising lightly you increase the rate of blood flow to each muscle. This helps to improve the rate of recovery by providing key nutrients faster and also removing harmful toxins. The key with active recovery is to keep it light so that you are not producing a greater number of toxins than you are removing.


Going for a five to ten minute jog is a great form of active recovery. Maintain 30% pace throughout the jog and make sure to include movements in all directions to involve all the muscles in your lower extremities. Follow the jog with static stretching for each muscle group.


Cycling is a slightly more useful form of active recovery due to the lower amount of stress placed on your lower extremities from sitting rather than standing. Again, perform five to ten minutes at a moderate pace. Then finish by static stretching each muscle group.


Swimming is probably the greatest active recovery method. Due to your body's weighing less in water, it takes less energy to move than on land or on the bike, and also places less stress on your joints. Simply swim five or six lengths of a full-size pool, then perform football-specific stretches under the water to complete active recovery swimming.


Footballers can lose between 2-3 litres of sweat during the course of a match and possibly more in hot and humid conditions. They can also lose as much as 2-3 kg (4-6 lbs) in body weight. Losing such a large amount of bodily fluid has a negative affect on performance.

Ideally to counteract dehydration, players should consume 200-400 ml (7-14 oz) of water or a suitable carbohydrate solution (see match-day nutrition for more) 5 to 10 minutes before kick-off. At half-time 300-500 ml (10-17oz) of a sports drink can be very beneficial. During hot weather or strenuous training sessions, coaches should try to provide their players with a break for drinks about every 20 minutes.

Following a match or hard training session, it's essential that lost fluids be replaced. Research has shown chocolate milk to be the most effective post match drink. While plain milk is beneficial it does not replace certain electrolytes found in flavoured milk. Recovery shakes are also effective but aren't necessarily any better than flavoured milk. For the best recovery you should aim to drink at least 250ml within 30 minutes of finishing a match or training session.


BCAA - Enhanced muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein accretion in response to strength training and BCAA supplementation. Improved body weight control and fat loss during energy restricted diets with adequate protein and BCAA. Improved endurance performance via the prevention of central fatigue and/or other factors with BCAA supplementation.

Montmorency Cherry - High in antioxidants which promote recovery.

Isolate Whey Powder - Great for immediate post game to refuel muscles. Should considerably reduce soreness the next day.

Whey Powder - Used as a protein supplement. Full details of benefits can be found on our page for nutrition.

Casein Powder - Used as a protein supplement. Full details of benefits can be found on our page for nutrition.

Recovery Day Score Chart

Recovery Day Score Chart



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Fuel For Football is a football performance  consultancy, based in the United Kingdom, that focuses on aiding footballers to reach their potential.

All information and advice should be used at your discretion.


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