Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Small Workouts for Recovery and Conditionong

I know what its like to want to train constantly. To always be in the mood for training . but sometimes there is a limit to how much and how often you train before you start destroying your recovery and progress. Here I present to you a way to improve your recovery and work capasity by adding small extra workouts to you routine. These can help quench your enthusiasm for training while actually improving your ability to recover rather than impeding it.

These workouts can be focused on upperbody , lower body or full body depending on what kind of routine you are following and work best the day after a hard workout for that body part. They will take around 30mins to complete and can be done at home or on the gym depending on what exercises you want to use. The good thing about them is that they are beneficial each time you do them. Its not something you have to do for a long time to see the benefit. It will help you from the very first session.

Here's what you do.
Pick 2-3 exercises for each body part and perform 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps with an EASY weight. This is very important. This is not the time to try and set pr's. You are just simply trying to pump blood into the muscle to aid recovery. You should not struggle with these sets in the slightest and you should not need to psyche yourself up for them. There are certain exercises which can work well for this. I would suggest you avoid the typical big lifts and work smaller exercises and muscles. Its also a good idea to include prehab/rehab type exercises here. The ones which are good for balance and injury prevention but which you never get round to doing in your main workouts.

If you are going to do these workouts at home its good to have resistance bands and kettle bells or dumbbells which should enable you to hit pretty much everything. Here are a few sample exercises to use

Lower body

Goblet squats with kettle bell or dumbbell
Bulgarian split squats (do 6-10 reps for these)
Step ups
Band leg curls
Glute bridges
Kettle bell swing
Band good morning

Same options as for home
Machine leg curl
Leg extension
Adductor/abductor machine
Pull through
Barbell Good morning
Back extension

Upper body

Press up
Band tricep extension
Kettle bell or dumbbell overhead press
Band rows
Band curls
Kettle bell or dumbbell row
Band pull aparts overhead
Band pull aparts across chest
Band lateral raise
Side plank
Lying leg raises

Same options as home
Cable curl
Cable push downs
Chin ups
Body rows
Face pulls
Pec Dec
cable crunch

Here are a few examples of full body recovery workouts

Goblet squat 3x12 with 16kg kettle bell
Kettle bell swings 3x15 16kg kettle bell
Band leg curl 3x20
Press up 3x15
Kettle bell rows 3x15 with 16kg
Band curls 3x20
Band push downs 3x20
Plank 3x30 secs

Bulgarian split squat 4x6
Pull through 3x20
Leg extent ion 3x20
Machine shoulder press 3x15
Face pulls 3x20
Lateral raise 3x15
Band pull apart overhead 3x15
Cable crunch 3x20

Lunge 3x20
Band good morning 3x20
Band pull apart overhead 3x15
Dumbbell press 3x15
Band pull aparts across chest 3x15
Push ups 3x15
Band curls 3x20
Band push downs 3x20

If you were to do a session aimed at increasing recovery after only working the upper body or lowerbody then you would do a few more exercises for those body parts for example

Upper body only session

Press up wide grip 3x20
Body rows 3x12
Dumbbell shoulder press 3x12
Band overhead pull apart 3x15
Pec Dec 3x12
Face pulls 3x15
Cable curls 3x20
Cable push downs 3x20
Cable crunch 3x20

Lower body only session

Goblet squat 3x12
Kettle bell swings 3x15
Lunges 3x20
Band leg curl 3x20
Glute bridges 3x15
Leg extension 3x20

I'm sure you get the most of how it works. Pick a few easy exercises for each body part perform 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps. Rest 30-60 seconds between each set. Make them easy you just want to get some blood in the muscle to help it recover and ease soreness. You are not trying to build muscle here. You should not create soreness the next day from doing these workouts. If you do then you have gone to heavy on these sessions ease up next time. a good way to judge this is that you should feel better when you have finished than when you started. But these sessions can be great to do if you are already sore. It won't eliminate it but it will help ease the soreness.

You can do this on in between days from lifting. If you are also doing  cardio then do the cardio first then finish up with one of these sessions. A typical routine might look like this

Full body

Full body lifting

Cardio 30 min power walk followed by recovery workout

Full body lifting

30 min power walk followed by recovery session

Full body lifting

30 mins power walk followed by recovery session

Full rest

upper lower split

Upper body lifting

Lower body lifting

30 mins cardio full body recovery session

Upper body lifting

Lower body lifting

Interval training upperbody recovery workout

30 mins cardio

This way you can train virtually everyday but still keep to a balanced routine of lifting 3-4 times a week. Your recovery and work capacity will improve and you won't destroy yourself by trying to lift heavy 6 days a week. Despite this you should not jump right into 3 recovery workouts a week. Start with one for 3 weeks and then add a session every 3 weeks until you reach 3 at the most. More is not better in this case.

You'll soon get the idea of how these sessions work and feel free to try your own exercise variations and combinations which work for you.

Try these small workouts and see what they do for your training and recovery and keep up the enthusiasm. Happy lifting!