REST vs. RECOVERY DAYS
“Rest days and recovery days are something that is rarely talked about in the strength and conditioning world. The “go hard or go home” mentality is prevalent starting in youth sports, and usually continues into adulthood. It is, however, a very important topic to consider when it comes to ones training regimen. Exercise is a good stress, but it’s a stressor, nonetheless. Excessive chronic stresses can have a detrimental effect on your training, and health in general.
The definition of a “rest day” is actual rest. What it does not mean is “going slower”, “going light”, or anything other than actual rest. Read a book, enjoy the weather, get a massage, or sleep. Perhaps the most important and misunderstood part of rest pertains to sleep. Your body attempts to follow a circadian rhythm responding to lightness and darkness of your environment. Getting the proper amount of quality sleep (research shows between 7-10 hours to be idea)is imperative to your ability to promote health and growth for your body.
It’s important to understand that when you’re training, that process is breaking down muscle tissue. The growth phase of muscle tissue is not while you’re exercising, but during rest. Much of the research shows that muscle growth can continue for up to 48 hours post workout. Rest/sleep and proper nutrition play important roles here; and a topic for another blog post.
The amount of rest needed varies for each individual depending on a number of variables including age, fitness level, nutrition, current health status(sick, disease, etc).
“More is not better; better is better” is something I find myself saying to many members that are focused on increased strength gains and losing fat. Every day does not need to be 100% effort in the gym. Let’s use an example of someone that goes to the gym 5 days in a row. On day 1; they are at 100%. Day 2 is 85-90%, and day 3 slows to 70-80% of max effort. A rest day after day 2 or 3 in this example would help to maximize the intensity for the following 2 days of training during that week, as opposed to keeping it at the 70-80% rate due to inadequate recovery.
While I agree that it’s better than nothing(obviously); that person may consider trying a schedule of 2 days on/1 day rest; or 3 days on/1 day rest to optimize their time spent training.
Another option can be to schedule “active rest” days in addition to “rest only” days. These “active rest” days may include a light jog, bike ride or row for 10-20mins. “Active rest” can also include any rehab or prehab you might be doing; including mobility and stability drills. You can also use this time to schedule yourself some “skills only” time. During this time the weights, if any, would be very light. This time can also be used to practice only parts of a lift or certain movement with the goal of improving motor control through repetition.
If you don’t currently schedule your rest/active rest days; play around with it, and see what works for you.”
3 x 10 Calf Raises (each)
1 min DU’s or Practice
Calf Stretch on Rig x 1 min each calf
2 x 12 Bird Dog Stretch (each side)
2 x 10 Single Leg Hip Bridges (Hold at top for 5 sec)
Hamstring Stretch w/ band x 1 min each side
Run 800 m @ 60% effort
rest 1 min
Row 1000 m @ 60% effort
Tabata – Hollow Rock Hold (:20 ON / :10 OFF x 4 min)
Couch Stretch x 1 min each side