Hey Angels and Alphas,
Ever since the pandemic started, many of us have been rediscovering the benefits of bodyweight training and its impact on weight loss and strength gain.
Since workout out at home has become the obvious option for countless people around the world, they need to use what’s available to them – and what’s more affordable, space-saving, and convenient and training with your own body?
But as you begin to realize the perks of not even using equipment, you could be fooled into believing that because it’s “just” your body weight, you don’t need to be taking the same amount of rest days you took before. That’s not the case.
Experts have known for years that the concept of resting so you can recover adequately between different bouts of physical activity is vital whatever the type of workout you choose, and regardless of its intensity.
If you do not take the time to give your body adequate recovery between training sessions, your muscles won’t recover, and stored forms of energy will not be correctly replenished.
What does this mean for you? That if you don’t take rest days between your bodyweight sessions, you will not be able to reach your full, give-it-you-all potential for the next session, and you also risk overtraining yourself and even injuring yourself. All of this could lead to you missing out on all the health and fitness goals you’ve set for yourself – or at least result in slowing them down.
That’s why to make sure you’re staying on track, today we’re breaking down everything you need to know about the importance of rest days when following a bodyweight training program.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BE RESTING ON A BODYWEIGHT TRAINING PROGRAM?
Experts usually recommend resting 48 hours between resistance training sessions (for each part of the body.) However, you should still keep in mind your current workout protocol. If you are training your entire body, you can take 48 hours between workouts. But if you’re like most people and your workouts are done on a split, meaning you do pushing exercises one day, then pulling exercises the next, you can still do these workouts on back-to-back days since you’re still giving one of your muscle groups the rest it needs before exercising it again. Same with splits that are upper body/lower body or biceps/back and triceps/chest/shoulders.
And sure, while bodyweight workouts don’t initially sound as “difficult” as lifting weights, you still need a ton of rest. Just the thought of doing bodyweight exercises may seem like it’s an easier workout, but often, this is because people are not as acquainted with different exercise options because they basically associate fewer options with less change.
But don’t forget there are countless ways you can make your bodyweight training more challenging:
- Increasing your reps
- Combining exercises
- Decreasing your rest between exercises
- Using only leg or arm at a time
- Pulsing at the bottom of the movement
- Changing your angles
- Using explosive movements
And not to mention, a study published in Current Biology by researchers in France, showed us that overtraining led to a ton of mental fatigue. This caused study participants to act more impulsively. So never forget that sometimes we don’t just need the physical break for exercising… we also need a mental break that allows our brains and minds to relax and recover.
However, on the other hand, you might be someone who wants to work out more if you’re doing bodyweight training. This can be an appropriate option if you’re someone who wants to decrease the intensity of your trainings so you can guarantee that proper recovery takes place. Every workout just can’t be your toughest workout, and you cannot be pushing yourself to the extreme every single time – you will simply burn out.
HOW SHOULD YOU REST?
There are many ways you can approach resting, and there are many effective types of rest you can choose from. You could foam roll, you can do some gentle stretching, or you can do active recovery such as playing a sport or doing your walking routine.
There was a small study done with about 15 participants in the American Council of Exercise. In this study, researchers basically compared passive and active recovery. They found out that active recovery was superior when it comes to maintaining endurance performance and your current power output. But keep in mind, any active recovery should usually be performed at no more than the low-moderate intensity to see its benefits.
Whatever you decide to do, there will likely be some experimentation when it comes to the recovery periods so you can find out what’s best for you. And for you to understand the types of workouts and workout intensities, this may require different recovery strategies. So try a bunch of different things, find out what’s best for you, but don’t forget – just because it’s bodyweight training doesn’t mean you can slack on your recovery game.