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Build recovery into your schedule

Published by in Motivation ·
Tags: personaltrainerExeter
The main thing to consider when balancing your training is recovery.  Recovery from training takes place on two levels: physiological and neurological.  Both systems are taxed, and while there are physical processes that contribute to recovery, the central nervous system must recover as well.  Training with heavy places heavy stress the central nervous system, even if the same muscle aren't worked 2 days in a row.

Physiological recovery involves replenishment of nutrients in the muscle cell and repair. Nutrients include glycogen, the fuel for the cell, and regeneration of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, the actual "engine" of the cell that produces contractions.  Cell tissue that is damaged must be repaired.  Hormones are released as a response to training and perform various functions.

The central nervous recovers in other ways.  The "pattern" of the exercise is imprinted and the body learns to become more efficient at that movement.  This is one reason your strength can go down if you perform the same execise workout after workout because the body becomes so efficient that it stops responding- you overtrain the movement pattern.

Certain complexes in the body, such as the Golgi tendon organ (GTO), have parameters that are designed to protect the muscle from injury.  The nervous system also becomes more efficient at firing groups of motor units (the building blocks of muscle cells), which translates to a strength increase because the muscle is able to generate more force output - this is known as recruitment.

For these reasons one of the most popular methods of training is to alternate resistance training sessions with cardiovascular sessions.  By balancing cardio and training, sessions can remain short, yet intense.   Several days pass between working a particular muscle group, allowing for physiological recovery, while the cardio day allows for the central nervous system to recover from the prior resistance training session.

This is not to say that other popular methods, such as 3-on and 1-off, whereby resistance training is performed three consecutive days in a row and then skipped for one day, are not effective.  Each person has a different capacity to respond to training and recover, so it is important to try various methods and determine which works the best for you. For example,  it is very popular to train the muscle twice or more in a week.

Often, one workout is high intensity (expressed as percentage of 1-rep maximum load) and the second workout is lower volume and/or intensity to further stimulate the muscle while still allowing sufficient recovery.
However you train it is a good idea to reduce the intensity every 4-6 weeks.  Due less worksets- maybe 3 instead of 8 or reduce the weights by 40%.  You may find you come back stronger the following week- you will certainly have more energy and be more hyped up for your workouts!

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