There are many different ways to approach aN active recovery day, but the most important concept that we want to address here at TrainHeroic is that we help aid our bodies to recover.
This will be relative to the individual on a physical platform and also on a mental level. I see too often that on a “rest day” athletes want to just get in the gym and “move around” or “get the body moving” and then in a blink of an eye a teammate or friend challenges you to a max set of bodyweight bench press or a 40 yard race. Before you know it the system is shocked, we have done a little too much and pushed a little too hard and now the upcoming days of training will be effected. Here at TrainHeroic we want to give you a few ideas of what an actual “Rest Day” or “Active Recovery Day” should look like.
1. A low intensity, steady state AEROBIC workout.
Choose a modality (run, row, swim, bike, hike, walk) and put in an easy pace of about 20-45 min. This pace needs to be very relaxed and comfortable, so comfortable that you should be able to maintain a casual conversation while exercising. Studies have shown that these “flush” workouts have sped up recovery with athletes and because we train the ANAEROBIC (think intensity here) so often this “active recovery day” will aid in keeping our AEROBIC capacity as well.
2. Skill work:
Spend your time working on, developing and/or refining a skill for your sport. It could be a weakness that you need to develop so that your skillset is well rounded. Or as simple as “shooting free throws” or “playing catch.” Be careful again here not to overdue your system. Be smart and recover well.
3. Yoga or stretching:
This is a great choice for athletes that need extra help mobilizing and working on their flexibility. It’s also a great solution for people that are extremely sore from previous days workouts.
4. Play a sport or game.
The big take away here is to PLAY, NOT COMPETE. Choose something that will get you moving around with the heart rate up but again keep the intensity low. Again, be careful here to not overdue it. A game of “H-O-R-S-E” can easily turn into a 5 on 5, full court basketball game that lasts for hours. BE SMART.
5. Core Work:
Get in and work on those abs for 10 minutes and get some light stretching in and get home before lunch.
6. Take a nap!
Pretty self-explanatory here, relax and enjoy your rest day. Remember nothing is better for recovery than SLEEP.
7. Meal Prep:
Rest days are the perfect days to prepare your meals ahead of time. This allows us to plan out our meals days in advance so that we aren’t left with nothing after a workout and are forced to settle for poor nutritional choices. Nutrition and recovery are the foundations to athletic performance.
*The activity selected must be restorative for you. The effort expended should leave you feeling energized at the end of the session, not depleted. I would also always prefer to see active recovery done as soon after rising as possible on the active recovery days. It’s an opportunity to start some blood flowing and aid your Recovery.