Following on from the recent blog post entitled "How to build muscle correctly in the gym". I thought a useful follow-up for those of you who read my blog post, found it useful and like lifting, would be to cover off what to do on rest days and just how important they are within the overall process.
For those of you who enjoy weight lifting, rest days can be a real pain. However rest days don't have to be spent dealing with lifting withdrawals. They can and should be spent promoting recovery and working on that all so important technique to ensure you adopt the correct movement patterns when you lift.
Trying to perform at 100% every single day can be detrimental to your plan, as well as your health. Packing heavy weight using dysfunctional movement is very likely to lead to injury.
Your body wants to recover. As the body compensates for the stresses of training, it will adapt by growing stronger, gaining power and increasing it's working power. Taking a rest from lifting at least twice a week is enough to promote a proper recovery.
It is important to be aware that by simply resting various muscular groups for 3-4 days, is never going to be the answer. You need to make absolutely sure the entire body gets the recovery it needs and deserves!
They say no pain - no gain, but equally remember no rest - no chest.
So what to do on your rest days?
No lifting doesn't have to mean no gym; light cardio can be a solid strategy for recovery. But more importantly, corrective exercises should be the focus of your rest day.
Rest days are the perfect time to put right your body's structure. It sounds complicated, but simple dynamic stretches, light bar work, or foam rolling on that tight Achilles tendon or hip, will change the way your body performs.
While your body recovers and your muscles are repairing themselves, you can keep going with light exercises. Anything that keeps your blood flowing, bringing nutrients to your muscles, will help the rest-out process. However please just make sure not to overdo it.
Take the kids to the park, walk the dog even practice some yoga. These gentle and light activities help keep your body going while it's resting.
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