Recovering From Workouts

So we've talked about maximum strength workouts, and hypertrophy workouts. Other types of workouts which will be addressed at some point are strength endurance, aerobic, power(speed), and stamina workouts. Each different type of workout works the body in a different way, and requires some different sources of energy. It makes sense then, that the different types of workouts also require different recovery periods. To get the most out of workouts, it would not be a good idea to do hypertrophy workouts working the same muscles on back to back days, in fact this would be counter productive. Not allowing the body enough time to recover is a horrible thing! You can have a great diet, get plenty of sleep, and work your tail off, but if you don't give your body time to recover, you will not see gains, and you may even lose some ability.

Following is a breakdown of the type of workout, and the amount of time it takes to recover the ability to perform other types of workouts. This information can be an invaluable guide when planning your workout schedule.

after maximum strength
speed - 72 hours
anaerobic - 48 - 72 hours
aerobic - 24 hours

after aerobic endurance
speed - 6 hours
anaerobic - 24 hours
aerobic - 60 hours

after anaerobic endurance
speed - 24 hours
anaerobic - 48 hours
aerobic - 6 hours

after speed
speed - 48 hours
anaerobic - 24 hours
aerobic - 6 hours

So now when planning your workouts, you know it would be a bad idea to lift weights with the same muscles on back to back days, as anaerobic endurance workouts (hypertrophy, to an extent maximum strength) require 48 hours to recover the ability to do another anaerobic endurance workout (with the same muscles).

Workouts can be planned to do different muscles groups on different days, or different types of workouts on different days. Here's a sample one week workout plan:

Monday - rest
Tuesday - speed (power)
Wednesday - anaerobic endurance (hypertrophy)
Thursday - active rest (jogging/aerobic)
Friday - speed (power)
Saturday - technical (climbing)
Sunday - technical (climbing)

Scheduling workouts this way is just the beginning of planning a training program. The volume and intensity of the work performed is another crucial point to consider, and will be addressed in the next post.

As a side note, I highly recommend at least one full rest day per week, with another active rest day recommended.

Much of this information is sourced from the book, Science of Sports Training, by Thomas Kurz.