Whether it has been as a player, or as a coach, we’ve all seen someone hunched over trying to catch their breath before a coach barks at them to “stand up and get your arms above your head.”
I feel like the thought that has always been was twofold – 1) being hunched over with hands on the knees is a sign of weakness. If a coordinator sees that from an opponent during a game, you better bet the good ones are going to go right at that kid. 2) it would also make sense that standing upright with your hands over your head would “open the airways” more so than being hunched over.
Well, according to a recently published piece by the American College of Sports Medicine, which looked at the two different recovery postures during high-intensity interval training.
What the study found among Division II soccer players is that recovering with the body posture of hands on the knees may actually be more beneficial than hands on the head when it comes to high intensity interval training. The reason behind that is believed to be because in the hands on knees position, the “diaphragmatic zone of apposition” is maximized more than in a standing position.
While I don’t think that any coach is going to be in favor of 11 players on the field bent over with their hands on their knees to catch their breath during a drive, there is something to be said for allowing full and fast recovery for your players who are giving everything they’ve got.