Why Active Recovery Is Good For Your Training
Most athletes are diligent enough with their workouts to incorporate at least one, if not two, days of rest into their workouts to maximize their gains. Rest days are important because they provide much-needed time for muscles to recover from constant use and allow growth and regeneration to occur.
Active recovery is another type of recovery period where you do low intensity exercise, such as walking, light gardening, or mopping the floor instead of being sedentary. Research is beginning to uncover benefits of active recovery that may actually outperform rest in terms of strengthening muscles.
One of the reasons active recovery is a great alternative means of recovery is that it helps reduce lactic acid build-up in muscles faster than normal rest would, when performed directly after exercise. This allows you to achieve greater power output for the duration of your workout and will lead to additional gains in strength.
Active recovery will not affect the physical recovery period as overtraining will, when muscles stop adapting due to overuse of specific exercises. In fact, it helps by having positive effects on physiological recovery, in addition to helping blood circulation throughout the body. This helps pump out lactic acid and provide additional oxygen, vitamins, and minerals while reducing recovery time.
Active recovery can take the form of low-intensity aerobic exercise, or you can go one step further using an advanced technique. A great bodybuilding tip for active recovery is to lower the weights and increase the repetitions that you normally use to help stimulate increasing amounts of growth in muscle. For our example, we will examine the chest press. On the first day, perform the chest press at your maximum weight capacity. Let’s say you can do 3 sets of 10 reps with 100 pounds. Now, on the second day, you obviously won’t be able to do the same workout because your muscles will be extremely fatigued. We could do an active recovery by increasing the repetitions and lowering the weight, for example, doing 3 sets of 15 repetitions at 60 pounds.
You will effectively target your slow and fast twitch fibers, which not only helps with recovery, but may also mean that you will be making gains in a faster amount of time than you thought possible. Try it for yourself by adding active recovery days to your workouts and see if you don’t start to progress faster than before.