recovery time

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Damien
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recovery time

Post by Damien » Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:54 pm

I'm curious how long it takes you guys to recover from your work outs?

Ive noticed that my younger brother can go all out at the gym, wait a day and be 100% next session( he works his whole body in 1 session, odd i know but he doesn't slack at all).
where as I will work upper body one day, then lower body the next day and on the 3rd day id like to work upper body again but I'm usually still half/sore from last time. Is anyone else like this ?
also are there any negative effects of working out while still half sore?

thanks for any help guys, I appreciate it and if you have any better routines to suggest I'm all ears

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Post by pdellorto » Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:25 am

Upper/Lower/Upper does seem like it's a big upper body biased. I prefer more balance. Then again, if you're doing Upper heavy, Lower heavy, and then Upper light it could be fine. If you have a program question, post your whole program (days, sets + reps, rest times, etc.) and we'll savage it brutally....er...I mean offer helpful suggestions! Heh. Both, really.

Working out while sore isn't a big deal. Soreness is just your body reacting to a harder - or new - demand on it. It'll go away. Unless you are so sore it is approaching pain and restricts your movements, you can workout through it. You might even feel better afterwards. If you're in down, just do your warmup and quit if you feel worse after it. You probably won't, and you can finish your workout normally. If you do, well, at least you didn't push it too hard, and you got some warmups in to keep your technique fresh and your body working.

As for rest, 3 days a week with rest days between is pretty typical and seems to work. But it depends on what you lift. I can, at most, deadlift heavy once a week. Maybe a little less. Fatigue just catches up to me. But I can productively do intense non-weight training (bodyweight work, mixed-martial arts) nearly daily without getting too wiped out. It really depends on a lot - age, diet, amount of sleep, work schedule, other priorities (got a new baby? Goodbye recovery, your sleep time is seconday), etc. Young teenagers eating on someone else's budget with nothing to do but lift and go to school tend to recover more quickly than older full-time workers with small children to care for. Between that, it's really a continuum of different recovery levels.

Hope that helps,

Peter

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Post by DeadFrog » Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:00 am

I was literally just getting ready to post the same topic.

Over the years, my workouts have become more intense as I saturate the I (for intensity) in the I X V X P (intensity*volume*periodization) equation for many reasons. I wanted to reduce time spent at the gym and visits per week. I now do somewhat of a full-body workout 3-5 times per month. What I find is that when I take extra time off, I exhibit greater strength gains. I just took 9 days off and proceeded to break 6 personal bests when I hit the Gym on Monday morning, feeling incredibly refreshed.

My questions that I am posing to the more experienced guys are... where will this end? When I am taking 14 days off between workouts? Are many others taking too little time off? Am I taking off the right amount given the intensity? I feel like I am breaking totally new ground no matter what I do... I've never met anyone else with his spine held together with steel rods and hooks from scoliosis surgery who is lifting as seriously as I am.

For Damien, I'll copy and paste a post I made a while back which pertains to this subject. I also concur with Peter's comments.

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:35 pm, (Original) Post subject: Overtraining

"Jay Jay, let me give you some insight; just to get a vague idea. I've worked out off and on, as health and circumstance dictated, for 10 years.

When I was a beginner through age 18, I would work out intensely every other day when I could (a few months in a row at one point) for 4 hours+ per session. By 20, it was 3 times a week for three hours per session. By 22, it was 1.5 times a week at 2.5 hours per session. Now I am 24 and my workouts are very depleting. Despite my workouts being 2 hours MAX, I get in only 3-5 workouts per month. Just to clarify, I am now doing a routine that is only partially split. Day A and C have all the important stuff and is maybe 75% of a full body workout. Day B I have supplemental stuff and extra leg work to round out the routine. Every muscle group gets at least tapped some no matter which day. I optimized it so I wouldn't have to go in to the gym so often.

Now a lot of the reduction in time per session was simply trimming away the excess/overtraining in my routine, but a lot of it was the increased intensity of the workout. I've found that right now I am indeed capable of (getting used to taking), say, 3 days off. But my gains will not improve. In fact, they will suffer. You build muscle on your days off, not the days you workout. Listen to your body and figure out how much time you need based on how intense the workout is right now. Err on the side of caution. Taking too much time to rest is actually difficult and preferable to overtraining. I found that as a beginner, if I took off 4 days, it was too much and I would have difficulty making any gains. Now 4 days off would suck, but for the opposite reason."

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Post by stuward » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:31 am

Deadfrog

You may need longer and longer between heavy workouts to make strength gains. That's normal. Other fitness components may require more frequent training. Most people, when they are at you stage will do 2 things.

1. Split the workout. Your wokout will have to get more and more intense. It's already too long. Slitting upper/lower or push/pull is an easy split.

2. Do workouts between your heavy workouts to train other fitness components like endurance, metabolic conditioning, power, etc.

You should look at Dr. Squat's ABC Training. It's a sophisticated periodization plan for guys at your stage.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:22 am

Damien, rather than Upper, Lower and Light Upper you may want to try a Legs/Push/Pull. This works well for me. I do my squats and deadlifts on Monday, Presses on Wednesday, and Rows and Chins on Friday, which gives me a full week to recover from each.

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Post by Damien » Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:11 am

haha I'll post my routine so you guys can "savage it brutally"

1st day upper body

Dumble press: 8-10 reps of 60lbs 3-4 sets
Bench:8-10 reps of 155lbs 3-4 sets
Seated flys on a machine:10-12 reps of 80lbs 3-4 sets
Dumbbell bent over rows: 80lbs 8-10 reps 3 sets
Seated row:160lbs 8-10 reps 3 sets
Curl:70 pounds 6-8 reps 3 sets
Then abbs

2nd day Lower body

Squats:175lbs 8-10reps 3-4 sets legs paralell to floor style then 10reps of 135lbs squats all the way down
Squat press machine: 450lbs 10 reps 3-4 sets
Leg exstensions:135lbs as many reps as i can 3 sets
Dead lift: 225lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Lying leg curls:100lbs 10 reps 4 sets
then calves ussually until they burn haha
I'm 19 ,weigh 170,I have a free scheduele, im pretty positive my diet is good i eat..ALOT haha and do the protein shake thing. my goals at the gym are to acheive alot of lower body strength and keep upper body up to par.

Thanks for all the help so far, I was always under the impression that working out while still feelign sore had negative effects to healing time regardless of having a 1 or 2 days rest.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:44 am

No Chin-ups/Pull-ups/Pull-downs?

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Re: recovery time

Post by Stephen Johnson » Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:49 am

Damien wrote: he works his whole body in 1 session, odd i know
Not really. Up until the mid to late 1960s, full body workouts 3 days a week was the standard.
Damien wrote:and on the 3rd day id like to work upper body again but I'm usually still half/sore from last time.
Discounting individual differences in recovery ability, your brother taking days off between workouts could be working in his favor. Working out more than 2 days in a row leads very quickly to overtraining if you have a full load - which, from your workout description,. you have.

Try doing ABXABXX for your weekly routine, where A is your upper body workout, B is your lower body workout, and X is an off day. Also, resist the urge to try to set PRs in your lifts every workout - schedule a heavy day each week where you add weight to your lifts and a light day where you drop the weights by 25% or so.
Matt Z wrote:No Chin-ups/Pull-ups/Pull-downs?
Good point. A back routine should have both vertical and horizontal pulling movements. Seated cable rows and dumbbell rows mimic each other too much. Substitute Pulldowns/Chins for one of them.

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Post by DeadFrog » Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:08 pm

Damien, I think there are too many sets in general. As you'll see here on exrx.net, one or two workout sets is all you need.

I also feel that DB presses+bench+flys is overkill. Pick just one or two, or mix them up between routines.

On the second day, you have too many quad exercises, mixing in squats+presses+extensions+deadlifts. Once again, one or two of those should be enough and mix them up week to week if you want. And if you must do leg extensions, please do them after deadlifts and not before. Compound, heavy movements come before isolation, basic stuff.

I agree with you, I would prefer never to lift while sore, I would rather recover fully between workouts, at least in the muscles which I am actually using. Thoughts, Stu, Matt?

Stu,

I am thinking of adding a day of sprinting/middle distance running per week to increase leg strength and burn calories.

I can't understand why throwing in a light day helps... Is that for active recovery?

Many have said my workout is too long, but my body certainly doesn't feel that way. I'm certainly not overtraining. I'll post my routine I guess. I really would hate to split my routine. Getting mentally prepared for, and actually going to, the gym is no small feat. And yeah, I'm trying to break records almost every time out, and I'm always going heavy. But even if I split it, I would be going heavy twice a week instead of once, no?

I'll check out Dr. Squat. Although I can't actually do squats :) I can't do most power stuff either.

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Post by stuward » Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:25 pm

My understanding of light days is that it allows recovery while maintaining conditioning and endurance. Likewise medium days maintain size while recovering from strength training.

Therefore doing something like heavy, light, medium, light, heavy with the appropriate days of between lets you build strength, size and endurance and allow recovery for all 3. This gives you frequent endurance workouts and infrequent heavy strength workouts.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:17 pm

I like to do whole weeks of light/medium or heavy workouts.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:11 am

A brief article about heavy/light/medium training, using Bill Starr's "Big Three" 5x5 program can be found here. In general, only beginners can make steady progress by maxing out their lifts every workout. For intermediate/advanced trainers though, it takes it's toll. No serious powerlifter or olympic lifter tries to max out his lifts or lift heavy on every workout - it would lead to burnout - or worse.

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Post by pdellorto » Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:17 am

I find that sometimes I feel to sore to work out, but if I do some light exercising, I feel better after.

In fact, over Christmas break I went home and got deadlift coaching. I went into the DL session with a tight knot and some mild soreness in my back, but by the time I finished the 1-hour practice the knot was gone and so was the soreness.

I'm not sure why active recovery works, or how much of it is needed, but I find that for me, some additional light training and mobility drills and so on speed up my recovery. "Light" is key. If I try to "recover" from heavy deadlifts by doing 3 sets of 50 floor back extensions (aka supermans) I end up with a sore back and unable to pull strong. But if I do a barbell complex with 20kg on the bar and end up doing 5-6 rounds of 6 RDLs or Good Mornings I'll feel much better and I'll pull better.

Recovery seems to be more art than science, but maybe I just don't know enough about it.

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Post by pdellorto » Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:36 am

Damien wrote:haha I'll post my routine so you guys can "savage it brutally"
Heheh, here we go:
Damien wrote: 1st day upper body

Dumble press: 8-10 reps of 60lbs 3-4 sets
Bench:8-10 reps of 155lbs 3-4 sets
Seated flys on a machine:10-12 reps of 80lbs 3-4 sets
Dumbbell bent over rows: 80lbs 8-10 reps 3 sets
Seated row:160lbs 8-10 reps 3 sets
Curl:70 pounds 6-8 reps 3 sets
Then abbs
That seems fine, although I'm not a big fan of a) flyes (except rear delt flyes, occasionally) or b) machines.

You do need some chinups or pullups in there. They're really excellent exercises, often overlooked. You can also do pulldowns, but I think they're not as good as pulling your own weight upwards.
Damien wrote: 2nd day Lower body

Squats:175lbs 8-10reps 3-4 sets legs paralell to floor style then 10reps of 135lbs squats all the way down
Squat press machine: 450lbs 10 reps 3-4 sets
Leg exstensions:135lbs as many reps as i can 3 sets
Dead lift: 225lbs 10 reps 3 sets
Lying leg curls:100lbs 10 reps 4 sets
then calves ussually until they burn haha
If you're going full depth on squats, you probably don't need to do the parallel ones too. You're probably better just doing the lighter deep squats, IMO. Do one or the other.

I'd skip the squat press machine - I mean, you can 10-rep 450# for 4 sets, but you can only break parallel with 175# with a bar? That says "provides a huge mechanical advantage." I know from reading too much about exercise that leg press and leg extension strength doesn't transfer well. I'd ditch the extensions, too. The leg curls are fine for hamstrings, but I wonder how much you need them with full-depth squats and deadlifts. Maybe the others can chime in here?

Damien wrote: i'm 19 ,weigh 170,I have a free scheduele, im pretty positive my diet is good i eat..ALOT haha and do the protein shake thing. my goals at the gym are to acheive alot of lower body strength and keep upper body up to par.

Thanks for all the help so far, I was always under the impression that working out while still feelign sore had negative effects to healing time regardless of having a 1 or 2 days rest.
Your sets/reps are general 3 x 8-10. Strength is more easily built in the low (3-5 rep) range. I used to do 10-rep sets for some of my exercises. Once I switched to 5-rep sets based on advice from folks here, I experienced much more rapid strength gains.

Even though you've got a pretty good routine, you can ditch stuff and still gain. Probably ditch stuff and gain more. Better to do a few compound exercises - like your dumbbell bench presses and bench presses, some chinups/pullups, deadlifts and squats - for multiple 5-rep sets and get stronger. All the extras are just that - extras - and I don't think they add much.

You should also take a look at the basic routines sticky. Especially check out the Mahler routine and the Rippetoe routine. Both are aimed at beginners and center on a small number of exercises done in a low-rep multiple-set range. The Rippetoe routine sticky is really excellent, even if you don't ever follow the routine. It's just a good example of a well designed program and a very, very thorough FAQ.

Hope that helps.

Peter

PS - Diet. Yeah, diet is key. You can ask on the nutrition sub-forum and get lots of advice. I've learned a lot about eating for strength here, so even if you think you've got your diet nailed down tight it's worth reading the stickies over on that forum too.

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Post by DeadFrog » Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:12 am

Your sets/reps are general 3 x 8-10. Strength is more easily built in the low (3-5 rep) range. I used to do 10-rep sets for some of my exercises. Once I switched to 5-rep sets based on advice from folks here, I experienced much more rapid strength gains.
I think you guys misunderstood my routine. I go for the 10 rep range. I now see what you were saying. Yes indeed, if I was going for the 3-5 range I would REALLY need light days. I do not want to do 3-5 reps; I need a weight I can really control. I don't want to hurt my back with bad form; I just can't do that.

Stu,

I did split my routine a year and a half ago from a/b to a/b/c. I'll post my routine and perhaps you guys can tell me if I need to split it further. I'll start a new thread to make sure everyone notices and can comment.

Thanks in advance!

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