The myth about hands on the knees!
An excellent read for athletes and people who train at high intensity.
Have we all heard this? Hands off the knees, “chest up”, “hands-on heads”, etc.
Is putting your hands or chest up really better, though, if so, why do we automatically gravitate to putting our hands on our knees and why does it feel so much better?
Because IT IS BETTER …
Here is proof. Michaelson et. al (2019) compared the effects of putting hands on the knees compared to putting the hands on the head for recovery in athletes.
1) heart rate recovery
2) carbon dioxide elimination
3) tidal volume of the lungs (the amount of air the lungs take in whilst exhaling and inhaling.
What they found was that athletes who recovered with their hands on their knees went 3/3. They had a significantly better heart rate recovery, exhaled more carbon dioxide faster, and had more significant tidal volumes than people who put hands on head.
So how come?
When you’re putting your hands on your head, you’re pulling your ribcage up, extending your back, stiffening up your backside and closing off your posterior rib cage. All those things prevent your rib cage from expanding as much during inhalation and inhibit the diaphragm from working efficiently. In contrast, putting your hands on your knees opens the airways, allows your lungs to take in more air, expands your posterior ribcage to aid in oxygen exchange and get more oxygen to working tissues. This puts your diaphragm in a position to breathe more efficiently, plus getting out of extension can encourage a parasympathetic shift (from fight or flight) which aids in slowing your breathing down.
Great read by Charley Gould. He’s got it down pat, and so do these guys.
Want to choose between quicker recovery or staying gassed?
Effects of Two Different Recovery Postures during High-Intensity Interval Training