If you played any youth sports growing up, you likely remember hearing this phrase a time or two:
"Keep your hands off your knees! Stand up to breathe!"
Your coach or PE teacher wasn't just yelling at you for no reason, he/she was trying to help your recovery following a hard practice or during halftime of a game. However, this instruction likely went against your natural instinct ... it felt so good to lean forward and put your hands on your knees to recover, right?
It turns out YOU were right! A study conducted last year compared recovery rates for soccer players after a series of sprints on the treadmill. The researchers measured the players' recovery with their hands behind their heads standing tall compared to recovery with their hands on their knees leaning forward. You can read the study here.
The study found that the "hands-on-the-knees" posture was more beneficial for recovering from high intensity exercise.
Don't be too mad at your coach, however, she was doing the best she could with the knowledge available at the time. This is an important lesson to keep in mind: we should always stay up to date with the latest science/research. Recommendations often change over time and it surprises us!
One of my favorite parts of my job is keeping up with the latest research so I can share it with my clients and use it to their benefit. Contact me so I can share that info with you!