Every so often, it is essential you take a break from your strength training program. Doing so…
- will allow your bones, tendons, and ligaments some extra time to recover,
- will help to renew your psychological enthusiasm for hitting the gym, and
- will help to make sure your muscles are fully recovered.
One week off is recommended after every 12 to 16 weeks of training, so consider this some well deserved time off.
Taking time off from your strength training program does not necessarily mean you should sit at home and do nothing. Here are a few exercises you can do during your week off to make the most of your time…
1. Perform Some Light Cardio Training. Light cardio training can be helpful for taking your recovery to the next level. While you would not want to perform any intense exercise as this would just be another form of stress on your body, moderately paced cardio training can be highly beneficial. Think 20 to 30 minutes of steady cardio training…
- a brisk walk outside,
- going for a ride on a bike or
- taking in some swimming
are all great options.
2. Perfect Your Nutrition. Next, consider perfecting your nutrition. Nutrition is going to play a vital role in determining how well you recover from all the training you have been doing. Now is not the time to cut your carbohydrate intake. Many people think they need to do this to prevent fat gain while taking time off.
First, realize you likely will not gain much fat at all in a one-week time frame. Second, remember carbohydrates are needed to replenish muscle glycogen levels, which will, in turn, help you perform better when you do get back into your training. You might cut back on your carbs slightly, but not to a substantial degree.
3. Foam Roll. Next, foam rolling is a great idea to do on your week off. Foam rolling will help to break up any scar tissue that may be forming which could, later on, lead to an injury.
Likewise, it will also help to reduce muscle soreness and pain, helping to improve circulation to your muscle tissue.
4. Get A Deep Tissue Massage. Finally, consider getting a deep tissue massage. These are ideal for relaxing your body and preparing you for your next hard cycle of training. A deep tissue massage can be done a few times a week, and while you may feel slightly sore afterward, it will leave you feeling far better in the long run.
There you have a few of the smart things you should be doing to help ensure you make the most of your time off between training cycles. Don’t skip this time off. It may seem like you are taking a step backward but really, having rest breaks from your strength training program is going to help you move forward.