Think rest days are for resting? Then you’re doing them wrong.
You don't need to do an hour-long workout on your days off, but you do need to move.
If you’re serious about changing your body, feeling better and making serious gains in the weight room, then “active” rest days are a must.
After all, you’re only as strong as how well you allow yourself to recover.
Here’s what your active recovery day should do:
- Address common problematic areas such as poor thoracic (upper-back) mobility, bad ankle mobility, tight hip flexors, and a weak core and glutes
- Elevate your heart rate and help you break a sweat—without the additional joint stress that comes from traditional cardiovascular work like running*
- Promote additional blood flow to sore or stiff areas
- Prepare your body for its next training day without causing fatigue
- Make you feel like a million bucks
*(Cardio doesn’t have to eat away your muscle gains. Performing traditional aerobic exercise can be a great way to encourage active recovery—as long as it doesn’t elevate your heart rate too high.)
Doing low-impact slow and steady cardio that keeps your heart rate between 120 and 140 beats per minute has been shown to increase blood flow, negate soreness, reset your central nervous system, and help your body adapt to new training loads, so you’re bigger and stronger in the weight room.
If cardio isn’t your thing, I’ve found that the following circuit hits on all 5 points listed above. The workout involves 10 body-weight mobility drills that you can do anywhere.
But you can choose any mobility movements that you want, then slot them in to the circuit. Just hit any tight or weak spots on your body, and make sure you check off the bullet points above. The biggest thing to remember: this shouldn’t be hard.
Here’s how to do it: perform each exercise in a row. After you’re finished all 10 movements, rest 60-90 seconds. That’s 1 round. Do 3-5 total rounds.
Do this circuit two times a week for one month and I guarantee you’ll see a difference in your training.
1. Dumbbell goblet squat, 8 reps
2. Yoga push-up complex, 3 reps per side
3. Shin box, 5 reps per side
4. TRX inverted row, 10 reps
5. Lateral lunge with pulse, 5 per side
6. Core activated deadbug, 5 reps per side
7. Single-leg hip thrust, 10 reps per leg
8. Rocked back adductor stretch with extension-rotation, 8 reps per side
9. Turkish get-up, 1 rep side
10. Alligator walk, 15 seconds