What do you do when you have been training hard and wake up one morning feeling like you just got hit by a truck?
Well, the last thing you probably want to do is train. Which is understandable. However, sometimes movement is actually the best medicine. This is where dedicated recovery workouts can be a total game changer.
Lighter activity like biking, walking, pulling sleds and more can actually be just what you need to feel better and recover faster. It is important to remember not to go overboard during these sessions. You shouldn't feel crushed when you leave the gym. In fact, the goal should be to feel better walking out of the gym than when you arrived. Here are some simple strategies and ideas to implement the next time you feel like your body is beat to hell and you're in need of a great recovery workout.
1. Roll With a Foam Roller, PVC Pipe or Barbell
When you are incredibly sore, one of the quickest ways to loosen up and feel relief is to grab a roller, PVC pipe or barbell and get to work. I prefer using the PVC pipe for areas like the hamstrings and calves, the roller for the glutes and back, and the barbell on any areas you really want to dig into.
2. Implement a Great Warm-Up
A good warm-up is the key to a strong training session, and recovery workouts are no exception. Start slowly, incorporate some stretches and ramp up as you go. Here's a great warm-up you can utilize before your recovery workout (or any workout, for that matter).
3. Pick Two Exercises With Minimal Consequences
After you've rolled out and warmed up, pick two exercises. These two exercises should not overly tax the body. Remember, this is about recovery. Preferably, these exercises would be some sort of loaded carry and a direct core exercise. I love pairing a carry with a lightly loaded Turkish Get-Up, moving slowly and deliberately through the movement.
So here's an example of what my two "minimal consequence" exercises would look like:
Farmer's Walk: 3x 1 minute
Turkish Get Up: 3x5 Each Side
4. Get Your Heart Rate Up a Bit
After you complete those two exercise, move on to some light movement to elevate your heart rate a bit more. Here are a few options, but don't feel limited to just these.
1. Air Bike
3. Light Sled Pull/Drag With Straps
Put 15-25 minutes on the clock and move at a moderate pace, but not so much that you can't talk while performing the exercise. That should help you find a nice medium between getting your heart rate up and pushing too hard. If you choose a sled, alternate between pushes and drags on each trip.
5. Finish Off With Some Mobility and Stretch Work
Finally, we end with 10 minutes of stretching and mobility work. Pick one or two problem areas to work on and focus on them for the remainder of your session. Move slow, breathe deep and allow yourself to relax into your stretch. Just like that, you've got a great recovery workout!
Here's an example of what your workout might look like when you put it all together:
1. Roll Out x5 Minutes with implement of your choice
2. Warm Up
3. Farmers Walk 3x 1 Minute (Moderate Weight). Pair that with Turkish Get Up 3x5 Each Side (Light Weight).
4. Row for 20 minutes at a Moderate Pace
5. Stretch and Mobility for 10 minutes, focusing on your weak or problem areas
Try it out! These are tremendous to use between hard training days, and I can guarantee they will have you feeling and performing better during your next training session. Things like recovery workouts are what separates the great athletes from the good ones. If you have any questions or need help constructing more workouts like this, just give me a shout on Facebook or Instagram!