To rest or not to rest, that is the question! And what is considered rest? A question that is less seldom asked.
Any form of exercise has a light, moderate and strenuous range. One cannot go all out performing cardiovascular or resistance training every day. The body needs some level of recovery from continual strenuous exercise.
When it comes to resistance training, I feel the body needs a good 48 hours rest before your next extreme workout for the body part you just trained. So if you did chest on Monday, the earliest I would do it again would be Thursday, where your 48 hours rest comes on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Now, even with those 48 hours of rest between body parts, this does not mean that you can go all out every day varying the body part trained. There is an ‘overall’ rest that your body needs from going all out every day performing resistance training. To train with heavy work volumes, your body puts forth a lot of effort and adrenaline.
When your main training session is to work out a particular body part, you are still training other body parts in an auxiliary manner. Back to the previous example, training chest heavy, is also training triceps and front shoulders a little. Training the back also trains the biceps.
So you develop an ‘overall’ fatigue of the body when going all out every week on each body part.
What I like to do is cycle the heavy days each week. For example, this would mean to go ‘heavy’ on one week for chest and shoulders only. During that same week you go light or moderate with back and arms. The following week go heavy on back and arms while going light or moderate with chest and shoulders.
With this training method, you are still going hard a couple of times a week but you are letting your overall body recover by not going hard all the time even though you are resting muscles for 48 hours.
The only body part that I feel this does not apply is legs. Legs can take a lot of punishment since you use them all the time. So you can train legs heavy every week. If you were to train legs twice a week I would suggest a heavy day then a light to moderate day given that you rest them for 48 hours.
Some people like to train legs twice a week but splitting up which portion of the legs they train on each day. So they may do a quad workout one day followed by a hamstring workout later in the week. That is ok, but I prefer to train the entire leg each time I work out because that is also how we function in our daily lives.
We don’t wake up one day and walk ‘using quads only’ then the next day we walk ‘using hamstrings only’. Remember, my advice is not to be a bodybuilder because that is an entirely different animal. My advice is how to be and stay healthy in order to have a great quality of life.
Also keep in mind that when I say train heavy, it does not mean maximum poundage for one rep. This is not about training for a Powerlifting or Olympic lifting contest. What I am talking about is going heavy for whatever you can do for six reps.
I find that six reps is a comfortable number of reps that keeps the poundage at a level that really stresses the muscles but does not stress them enough to injure them when compared to performing a single rep where poundage would by much greater!
Although I am not a runner, when it comes to working out via running or biking, the same rules apply sort of. You surely cannot bike or run hard every day. You have to cycle your training.
Cycling your training from light, moderate and strenuous can be done in a couple of ways, distance travelled coupled with time performing the exercise. So someone can perform a 10K run, for example, over x amount of time one day, then the next day perform a 5K run at a much slower pace thus reducing distance ran and pace as well since it was performed in the same amount of time as the 10K the day before.
In order for your body to best respond to training, you have to give it some sort of break. Even cycling your training days into light, moderate and strenuous, I am a strong believer that you need at least one complete rest day per week so your body and mind can relax and recover. You will be amazed at how much stronger you come back when you rest just one day!
So give your body a rest in order to always be at your best and stay….Fit Forlife!