The importance of muscle recovery
Muscle recovery is a very important topic. You need to realize that the transformation of our bodies happens when we are in recovery mode. That’s why the longer you give the muscle to recover between two workouts, the better chance it has to grow.
So, when you work a muscle, catabolism happens first. That means the muscle tissue breaks down. Only then does anabolism begin ( building up stronger muscle tissues), and at this moment the muscle begins to recover from the trauma inflicted by the workout. To effectively maneuver between anabolism and catabolism, most people train different muscle parts on different days. That’s much better than to train the same muscles every day because you will always be in the catabolism phase and there is no time for muscle recovery/muscle growth. Even if you train different muscle parts on different days and not in a row, you still delay the full recovery. In other words, you are still slowing down the anabolism.
In my opinion, there are two paths to successfully maneuver anabolism and catabolism:
- Take a 1 full day of REST
Just because you are taking a rest, you are not taking a rest from a healthy and balanced diet.
- Work less on your muscles that are better developed
Let’s say you worked on your chest on Monday (this means that on Tuesday, chest recovery will be delayed) and you have a well-developed and strong chest. So, to promote anabolism and muscle growth, during the week, you can reduce the frequency of your chest workouts. This means that your chest workouts will be replaced by rest days or by workouts of less-developed muscles. The next best time to work out your chest maybe Friday ( in this example).
How to accelerate muscle recovery?
I have learned these techniques from a very experienced personal trainer. Mind you that these techniques/approaches are not suited for beginners.
There are 2 approaches you can use:
- Apply reminder sets
- Partial-recovery approach
Again, the length of recovery is the result of the rapid decrease in anabolism after a workout. According to scientific studies, in the 8 hours after a workout, recovery is very efficient. After that point, recovery slows down. What’s more, 85 % of your physical capacity is recovered in 24 hours and the other 15 % requires an additional 24 hours. We can understand now how muscle recovery is a slow process.
Approach to accelerate muscle recovery a.k.a. reminder sets
Reminder sets involve performing just a few sets of an exercise with relatively light resistance or weight. These sets should be long , in the range from 30-50 repetitions. Reminder sets are the best way to re-energize the anabolism process when it is slowing down.
So, instead of you wait for a full recovery of a muscle group after the hard workout, you will train that muscle group next time during the recovery phase. This reminder sets workout is often called a ” Feeder workout”, the term used by Steve Weatherford ( Super Bowl Champion, bodybuilder, and a Fitness Entrepreneur). Here are some of our simple rules to follow when you are about to apply reminder sets to your workout to promote muscle recovery:
1. Choose an isolation exercise rather than the compound.
2. Use machines, cables, or even resistant bands and avoid free weights. The reason is that free weights do not isolate muscles as well and can cause more trauma.
3. Use a lightweight/resistance and do a high number of repetitions ( 30-50). The goal is to pump as much blood as possible to the muscle group you are working on.
4. Remember to use a proper form while performing the exercise.
5. Do no more than 3 sets with low intensity. If you are doing reminder supersets, do not exceed 5 min of working out per superset.
The importance of reminder stretching
Stretching, in general, can also strengthen decreased anabolism. One of the advantages of stretching is that it’s less tiring than a reminder set. For optimal recovery, you can combine stretching and reminder sets. Our proven practice is 2-4 sets of static stretches, held for 15-20 sec.
Remember that you can integrate reminder sets 24-48 hours after your workout. For example, if you have worked on your biceps and triceps on Monday morning, then you would do your reminder sets for your biceps and triceps on Tuesday ( afternoon or evening). You can include reminder sets at the beginning of your regular training (warm-up) or at the end (cool-down). You can also do your reminder sets with a resistant band before bed in the evening as a very short recovery phase.
This strategy enables you to work a muscle again even if the muscle has not yet fully recovered. This approach allows you to increase the frequency of your workouts for a muscle but avoid overtraining. Its primary purpose is to serve experienced lifters.
This specific approach involves using a single exercise for the muscle in each workout and then alternating exercises every workout.
I hope this post has educated you on the importance of muscle recovery.
Until next writing,