Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weekend Workout #19

Instead of pushing yourself through a challenging workout today, I would like you to give your body what it really needs...some regeneration.  This is simply the process of letting your body recover from all the stress of training during the week.  I want you to think of today as a "active recovery day", as apposed to thinking of it as a day off.  It's what you do today that allows to to be able to push yourself hard during your workouts.

Today's recovery day will include some "active" rest; simply taking a break from your serious training and doing some light physical activity such as golf, a light hike, or some flexibility work and stretching.  Not only is this a day to rest physically, but also mentally.  Let your mind be free of all the clutter.

Rules of Active Rest

  • Keep it moderate to low intensity
  • Don’t overdo it, but do at least 20 minutes
  • Incorporate movements that develop flexibility and mobility
  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
  • Form over power, take this chance to refine movement skills and techniques

By moving lightly you are pumping blood throughout your body, which then delivers nutrients to your muscles leading to a faster recovery period.  Regeneration can be the difference between reaching and not reaching your goals.  Your body actually improves and adapts to stress on these regeneration days.  The benefit to recovering faster is that you are then able to return to your high-intensity workout/s much sooner.  If our bodies don't get enough active rest, sooner or later it will burn out.

Other things to consider on regeneration days are either getting a massage or simply doing some foam rolling.
If you have never used or seen a foam roller, this could soon become your best friend.  Foam rolls are essentially a self-massage tool.

If you have never used a foam roll before, be cautious because it can be quite painful in the beginning.  Not only does a foam roll stretch muscles and tendons, but it also breaks down soft tissue adhesion and scar tissue.  I remember the first time I used one and I nearly screamed through the roof.  Adding a few minutes of foam rolling each week is a great addition to any exercise program.

Here are several areas to focus on when foam rolling.  

Lower Back

More areas can be added as you become familiar with using the roll, and when your muscles and fascia are ready.  Roll on each location for about 20-30 sec.  The more painful it is, the more attention your muscles need.

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