Archive for August, 2014

How much recovery do we need between resistance workouts?

The recovery we ‘need’ between resistance workouts depends on various factors.

It depends on the intensity of the last workouts; stress, sleep, age, recovery ability, other exercise, workload, illness and more. In other words, recovery is ever changing.

Luckily, we are very adaptive and all is not lost if you go back to the gym too soon. You can just do what you can, or, if you feel it is counterproductive, you can take an early bath. Either way, sooner or later you will be able to improve your workout results when your body has adapted and recovered to the stimulus you put on it.

A good rule of thumb is that you should be progressing over a few weeks. If you aren’t then you’re either overtraining or undertraining. You also need to pay attention to how you feel. If training is negatively affecting your sleep or your other activities then it is being overdone. Overtraining will also make it a lot harder to progress your gym work as well. It’s not all about working hard to get better. You also need to know when to back off.

If you are undertraining you will feel a bit flat in the gym, not stimulated enough. If you don’t give the body enough reason to adapt, then it won’t, and your results will also stay the same or worsen.

You only need to have a rough idea of how long it takes you to recover. And you only get that by experience.

You will also need to keep an eye on how your body (and results) respond when you change your routine (add more sessions, or add a new type of training).

For example, if I train with partial repetitions (in my strongest range), I can use double the weight. This is far more intense on the nervous system, trains the connective tissues harder and also takes longer to recover from.

But I won’t always train this way because training sporadically also has disadvantages. One of them is you lose your hormonal and blood flow response to training, which is also good for health, athletic performance and well being. I use both normal strength training and partial reps, but I have to understand how I will recover from each one.

Over time I’ve learned how often to train and with what intensity, to keep progressing.

Hopefully this information will speed up your learning curve. However, you will only learn how you recover and adapt to exercise through experience.