Recovery is important for progress and to avoid injury. Active recovery, where you engage in some form of movement on a rest day, is as important as complete rest days. But what should you do on rest days to encourage progress and recovery?
Firstly, always adopt the “do no harm” approach. If you’re thinking about things to do on your off days, think about activities that are different to what you might be exposed to in your regular training regimen but will keep you fresh for the next day of training (and for what life may throw at you!)
Here are some groups of activities you could be looking at for those training days.
- Steady State Aerobic Activity
Also known as “cardio,” but I’d rather not use that term. This is low intensity, monostructural activity like running, rowing, swimming, cycling. Duration is athlete and activity dependent but can range from 10 to 40 minutes. It should be of an ‘easy’ pace throughout.
While we prefer to spend most of our time in training doing interval training and anaerobic conditioning (because it’s better at developing aerobic conditioning too), steady state aerobic activity has its place too!
- Myofascial Release / Trigger Point Therapy
This is where you apply local pressure to areas of muscle and connective tissue that have been exposed to trauma. For example, your lower limb after lots of squatting. You can either do this to yourself using tools such as foam rollers, massage balls, and drills that involve barbells and kettlebells. We teach you many of these drills in class, but other great resources are Mobility WOD and ROM WOD.
Or, get to a physio, chiro or sports masseuse. I generally find these latter options better because they have a detailed understanding of anatomy, and are more likely to apply the right types of pressure.
- General Stretching
These are the static stretches you are most familiar with. Mobility WOD and ROM WOD will again be some of the best resources beyond what you might learn from a trainer.
Sports are where you express the fitness you develop – the application of fitness. Sports are also where you have the ability to develop skills that can only developed in that environment.
The take-home messages are to keep moving and to embrace low intensity activity too!