Know Your Recovery!

To build a strong, lean physique that is capable of handling all of life’s daily stresses, your training is super, super important. In fact, it’s a necessity.

But there is one other thing that’s even MORE important.

And that’s recovery.

Yes, one of the unsexy parts and ALWAYS undervalued aspects of creating the body you want.

Here’s the thing. Don’t mistake recovery with sitting on your butt all day.

I’m going to give you a few methods of recovery – Things you can do to help ease the DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and have your body raring to go for your next training session.

Why Is Recovery Important?

Let me quickly explain WHY recovery is important.

When you work out/train you’re creating teeny tiny micro tears in the muscles. Basically, you’re essentially damaging the muscle. You’re breaking the muscle down so your body can repair it and make it stronger!

So, when you’re recovering, your body is “going to work” – For this it sends out teeny tiny little “fixers” that repair the muscle and make it stronger… I like to imagine little guys in hard hats 👷🏽‍♂️building everything back up!

Ok, maybe I’m a little weird but it works for me.

Then once you’re “fixed” the muscle is then capable of working harder. It becomes stronger, firmer and more resistant to any stress that you apply to it.

Which is why over time you become stronger and more capable of performing certain movements.

Ok, so now what’s the best way to recover?

The WORST way to recover is sitting on your butt all day. Regardless of how sore you are you must MOVE.

As a quick note, and I won’t get into detail in this article but… being sore is a good thing BUT being really sore isn’t – Don’t think the sorer you are the more benefits you’ll get, it’s actually the opposite. Not being able to sit on the toilet is TOO sore... It’s NOT a badge of honour!

That being said, it’s inevitable that after your very first session you will be more tender than usual. But as you progress the soreness will be less. But just remember;

DON’T.

CHASE.

SORENESS.  

The Recovery Processes

As I just previously mentioned, moving is the best way of recovery – Why?

Think of it this way. Your blood is FULL of nutrients (and little guys in hard hats👷🏽‍♂️)… so the more blood you can get passing through your body, the better.

So instead of “resting” the muscle you need to “use” it.

It’s sound a little contradictory, doesn’t it?

Using the muscle is what made you sore in the first place so why then would it make any sense to do the same thing again?

Well for one thing, you won’t be doing the same thing again.

Let’s imagine you’ve just been squatting with 20kg (this is intensity) for 10 reps (this is volume) and the next day you’re feeling a little sore. One of the best things you can do is to squat AGAIN, only this time it will be less intensity and more volume.

So, you might do 20 reps (more volume) with no added weight, just your body (less intensity).

This is just an example of why, if you’re sore, you SHOULDN’T miss a workout. You just adapt it.

But let’s say you’re not working out the next day. What can you do to enhance your recovery?

  • Walk – this will keep your heart pumping and the blood flowing.
  • Drink water – Hydration is super important for recovery.
  • Foam roll – This will help release any tension and it will also improve blood flow to the targeted muscle.
  • Massage – Sports or relaxing massage, either will be just fine.
  • Some form of low intensity activity – e.g include, swimming, casual bike riding.
  • Sauna/steam room – Again this is going to relax the muscles and improve blood flow
  • A nice warm bubble bath – Chill out and relax!

But here’s one of my best methods.

Prowler and sled work…

Prowlers & Sleds

Please bear with me through this next part – I want to explain something super important.

Muscle damage is created through the lowering part of the movement AKA the eccentric phase, and it’s most likely where most of your muscle sorness comes from. Think of a push up… you start at the top and then lower to the bottom, this is the eccentric. You then push back up (concentric).

The eccentric is where the MOST tension is placed on the muscles. This is where the majority of those teeny tiny microtears come from… this is why you get sore.

So, a good way to promote recovery is to do concentric ONLY movements. Concentric movements push blood into the muscles.  Again, let’s think of a push-up.

Only this time you START on the floor and push-up… that’s it.

No lowering movement.

Now, back to the sleds and prowlers.

Dragging a sled or pushing a prowler only requires concentric movements. There is no eccentric.

Therefore, there will no soreness.

Therefore, they are good for recovery.

Therefore, you can do them all day until the cows come home, or you pass out with exhaustion, whichever comes first lol

And that’s… All About Recovery!

I hope this give you an insight to the importance and strategies you can use to make your recovery optimal.

Any questions, feel free to comment or fire me over an email at keir@liftgym.co.uk

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