So I figured a blog post on “active recovery days” would help explain what I do and the concept behind it.
I don’t know about you, but I am pretty much always sore or achy in some regard. When I train hard I am always sore (especially my legs & glutes). Soreness is somewhat normal, but being totally raw and not able to move, in my opinion, isn’t a good thing.
I remember years ago when I was a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter. I would need 2 days after legs to pretty much do nothing. After heavy squats, the next day I would really hurt. The day after that was even worse. So, I somewhat accepted 2 day DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) as normal and part of training heavy.
The only issue with this type of soreness is that it made my quality of life worse. I would avoid going out, walking my dogs was out of the question, and heck, when I worked out of my Heavyweights store, it used to kill me to stand up and sit down 100 times a shift because my legs were THAT SORE.
My goal with my training and my life at the moment is to not only build lean muscle, and get stronger, but also to FEEL GOOD.
Feeling good is important to me, and it should be important to you.
So now after my hard strength training days I do one to two active recovery days. I also use all these active recovery tools throughout the week.
Here was my yesterday for active recovery:
-> As soon as I get up, I down a big glass of water with 15-20g of BCAA’s.
-> Do some very light stretching and a medium warm shower to get blood flowing.
My workout at Heavyweights Training Center consisted of:
-> SMR (Self Myofascial Release)
-> Mobility Drills
-> CNS Activation (Pogo’s & 1/2 drills)
-> Sled Training (all pushing yesterday no pulling) 10 lanes
-> More Soft Tissue Work post-sled
There is an “active recovery” day.
So, what exactly is going on here to help me recovery? Let’s take a deeper look!
AM Recovery Shower
First thing is my shower. When I shower for recovery day, it’s only warm and not super-hot. A really warm shower will lead to feeling awesome, but I do not wish to add more inflammation. You will feel good doing it, but not so good a few hours later. So I don’t overdo the heat.
In the shower, I will slightly stretch my hamstrings, lats, shoulders, arms…pretty much everything to just get my body moving. After the shower I usually take a few more minutes of light movements and stretching again.
Next up is the BCAA’s. BCAA’s work wonders for recovery. They are best used around your workout, but I always take them on my active recovery days and I will even take them some mornings when I know I had a really hard workout the day before (legs & back). Big muscles to me usually mean more BCAA’s.
If you are not using BCAA’s in your training, you should be. The benefits are huge for recovery and increasing lean muscle tissue. At the moment, I am using Xtend, Blox, I will be testing more BCAA’s and posting the results & reviews soon.
SMR (Self Myofascial Release) aka Foam Rolling
Foam Rolling and SMR are amazing. If you are not foam rolling, you are missing out and you should really be incorporating it ASAP into your training!
Foam rolling can help you prevent injuries OR help you recover from them.
You should always be doing all you can to PREVENT injuries, because once injured, it is a lot harder to recover from an injury than prevent one. Usually injury prevention doesn’t take a lot of time (known as “pre-hab”) and can be done before most of your strength training workouts.
Foam rolling only takes 8-20 minutes and it is essential.
Another term for SMR is “Poor Man’s Massage” as it is done with a foam roller, a lacrosse ball, broom stick and many other amazing toys. (I personally use a Rumble roller, TP Therapy Ball & rolling stick.)
Sled training is fantastic for recovery & regeneration.
There is no eccentric phase with sled training, so there is less overall damage to the muscles. This is a big deal when it comes to improving recovery. Generally the Eccentric, the lowering portion of a lift causes most of the muscle soreness. With sled training there is no eccentric therefore it generally doesn’t cause a lot of soreness.
Sled training especially sled pushing can really help stabilize and stretch muscles. I find a low grip sled push amazing for stretching out my hamstrings and calves which has really helped my back pain a lot.
So the next time you are really sore and are thinking about doing nothing for the day try some of my active recovery tips and let me know how they help you.
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