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Keeping it active: complementary active recovery for weightlifters

May 16, 2021 3 min read
Keeping it active: complementary active recovery for weightlifters

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    We get it. When you love the post-weightlifting endorphins, it’s tempting to chase the high. And, as a result, rest days can feel a little flat. But we’re here to tell you that they don’t have to be. Now you might be knackered from your weightlifting and want to be a couch potato all day. To be honest, that’s cool. But if you’ve got some beans, there are plenty of ways to help your recovery and have fun with your fitness too. So here we’re going to check off a few different ways to ease the rest day jitters whilst also preparing your body for your next weightlifting session. 

    Mobility 

    First up we have mobility. This will help stretch you out, decrease your DOMS and include some mindful movement. There are a few different ways you can work on your mobility on your rest day: 

    • Foam rolling: either find a foam roller in your gym or invest in one at home. Foam roll key points of tightness in your body, making sure to pause and breathe on particularly sore areas. 
    • Yoga: either follow along from a Youtube video or attend a class. We’d recommend opting for Yin yoga, restorative yoga or specific flows for tight areas. For example, we love doing a hip and hamstring flow on a rest day after a big deadlift session. 
    • Pilates: same as yoga - either follow along online or attend a class. This is for days that you have a little more in the tank. It will work your core somewhat, which means that you can miss out on those dreaded crunches tagged onto one of your sessions. Win-win. 
    • Dedicated stretching time: set a timer and get stretching. Whether that be for 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour. We like to do this in front of the TV or while listening to a podcast on a rest day. It’s time to work on your problem areas and stretch out for your next lift. 

    Get your gym fix 

    If you can’t keep yourself away from the gym or benefit from the structure of going to the gym, you can go along and work on recovery. Any of the above ways of exercise are of course great to do in a gym but there are a couple more ways to actively recover too: 

    • Low-intensity cardio: using a treadmill, cross trainer or bike. Engage in some LISS (low-intensity steady-state) cardio. This could be a 30-minute slow uphill walk, consistent speed cross-training or moderate cycling. Enough to get your heart rate up somewhat but not to blow you out. 
    • Using bands: low resistance bands can aid you in stretching and working out any kinks. Slow chest pulls are great to stretch out tight shoulders or use a smaller band around your thighs for some light leg engagement. 

    Keep it fun and light 

    Finally are some more fun ways to keep active. These activities are easily worked into a healthy lifestyle and can easily double up as social activities to do with mates. Fitness doesn’t have to always be hard or part of a set routine: 

    • Swimming: a great low-impact exercise that helps to stretch out any sore and achy muscles. Not only is swimming fun, especially in the summer where you can also get outdoors, but this restorative form of exercise can also help to stimulate muscles difficult to target with weightlifting alone. 
    • Walks: a break at lunch, sunset wonder or a longer hike with pals. Walking, especially in nature, is amazing for the mind and body. It can easily become a daily habit and another thing to do with a willing friend. Get outdoors and get some vitamin D! 
    • Dancing: yep a little dance. Who doesn’t love a boogie? Take a class or just pump up the tunes and get going. 
    • Jogging: a light jog is a good way to blow off the cobwebs. Be sure not to push yourself to your absolute limit.  
    • Fun aerobics classes: just like dancing, if you fancy just moving chuck on or attend a fun aerobics class. There’s a huge range out there so there’s sure to be something which will get your blood pumping. 
    We hope this has given you some ideas to bridge the rest day gap when chilling in front of the TV isn’t enough. Ultimately, your recovery days should focus on REST - that’s looking after your body and mind and preparing to smash your next session. So eat well, get plenty of sleep, keep hydrated and move if you want to.

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