Post-Workout Recovery: What To Do After Your Indoor Rowing Workout

Pete Donohoe

You just finished a great Hydrow workout. Awesome! Now what should you do to maximize rowing workout recovery and ensure your body bounces back quickly? 

In this blog, we’ll go over some of the best post-workout recovery steps to take specifically after a rowing workout to keep you strong and minimize soreness.

Post-workout recovery: Why care about it?

While a post-workout recovery routine isn’t absolutely essential for your exercise regimen, it’s important to know how your body bounces back from a workout and what you can do to support this recovery process. 

A post-workout recovery routine looks different for everyone, and healthy recovery depends on the intensity of your workout, how long it was, and what you did. Some of the most important recovery habits include hydration, nutrition, massage, active recovery and rest. Here are some of the biggest science-backed benefits that come from prioritizing post-workout recovery, and some different recovery strategies.

You’ll feel less sore

Anytime you try a new type of workout or complete a vigorous workout, you’re probably going to feel a little sore because the new workout intensity can create tiny little tears in your muscle fibers. This is normal. 

To repair your muscles safely, your body responds by increasing inflammation in your muscles within 24 hours of completing your workout. This can cause Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and leave you feeling sore or uncomfortable for up to a few days (this is part of the natural process of building strength!)

A post-workout recovery routine can help your body recover more efficiently and quickly, reducing the downtime that comes from having overly sore muscles.

Your energy levels will stay up

You’re working out to have more energy during the day, not less. Just like it’s important to hydrate before a workout, it’s important to hydrate afterwards too. After a long or strenuous workout, your body is dehydrated and muscle glycogen levels are depleted. These effects can be cumulative if you’re working out often. 

If you don’t have a recovery routine in place, your body will need to spend more of its overall energy on recuperation, leaving you with less energy to focus on and power through your day. Better post-workout rehydration and nutrition equates to more energy overall.

You’ll decrease the risk of injury

A great post-workout recovery routine will keep your body healthy and help speed up your recovery process. Spending a little extra time after your workouts to set yourself up for getting the maximum benefits from your workouts will not only help you in the moment, but also lower the risk of injury and keep you feeling the well earned benefits of your hard work for years to come.

Having a post workout routine can help you feel better after your workouts and boost your motivation to keep up your workout habit.

Post-workout recovery: Overall tips

Your ideal post-workout recovery routine will vary depending on the type of workout you’ve just completed and how rigorous it was. That being said, some best practices apply regardless of intensity. The following tips will be helpful in any post-workout recovery regimen.

Hydrate often – even if you don’t feel thirsty

You lose a lot of fluid when you sweat during a hard workout, and it’s important to replace these levels both during and after your session. Water is essential for your body to function because it keeps your metabolism and other bodily processes functioning. 

Additionally, muscles break down during a hard workout and are then built back up through a process called muscle protein synthesis. This process can’t begin until your muscles are well-hydrated. When you hydrate regularly post-workout to replace lost fluids, you’ll jumpstart muscle protein synthesis and shorten your downtime. Pro tip: If you feel thirsty, you may actually already be dehydrated, so drink water or other fluids regularly.

Get the right post-workout nutrients at the right time

Glycogen carries nutrients to your muscles after exercise. Try to have a snack within an hour of completing your workout that has healthy carbohydrates and a bit of protein; these extra calories will be converted into energy quickly and will help jumpstart the muscle repair process. 

In most cases, a mix of carbohydrates and protein is best. Supplying your muscles with an abundance of protein makes the process of muscle protein synthesis easier. But glycogen is what carries these proteins to your muscles. Carbohydrates can be converted to glycogen quickly and will speed along your overall recovery process more than just protein alone.

Research has shown that a carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of around 4:1 creates the best balance for jumpstarting your post-workout recovery.

Stretch or do light movement to encourage blood flow.

A light workout or stretching session can actually accelerate muscle recovery. That’s because movement encourages circulation and can help your muscles eliminate waste that has built up during the muscle repair process.

After a more strenuous workout, try a 5 or 10 minute On The Mat workout at Hydrow. And consider mixing up your weekly routine with On the Mat workouts, including strength, mobility, pilates, or yoga to keep challenging your body with different movements and mixing in active recovery. 

Types of recovery workouts at Hydrow

It’s nice to have options, so at Hydrow we’ve filmed a wide variety of guided cooldowns to meet your needs! In designing our different cooldown sessions, we took into account how recovery is not only good for you physiologically, but also mentally and emotionally.

First, we have our rowing cooldowns. After completing any rowing workout on the Hydrow of any length, you’ll be prompted to move right into a 5-minute cooldown workout that will help you relax, unwind, and jumpstart the recovery process.

Contrary to other types of cooldowns, post-workout recovery sessions at Hydrow still incorporate technique. Since you’re moving at a lower intensity, why not learn and practice some form adjustments along the way? A slower pace allows you to focus on form, and the small tweaks our Athletes suggest during cooldowns will lead to more strength and power down the road.

If you’ve completed one of our On The Mat workouts and have broken a sweat, keep the party going with an On The Mat Cool Down. Our library’s “restore” yoga classes, mobility classes, and stretching classes will keep you limber and refreshed! New classes come out each and every week, and classes that use props offer substitutions you can make with household items, which means you’ll have everything you need.

Whether you’re aiming to break records or just want to hop on and zone out, having a post-workout recovery plan takes little time to plan out and yields big results. Start incorporating a few of these tips into your routine and you’ll find yourself less sore and more energized than ever.