You may hear about recovery week and think it’s a dedicated week of walking on clouds, bench pressing puppies, and foam rolling with pillows. While I’ll sure this would work in letting the body heal of the natural aches and pains of exercising constantly, it’s not quite exactly what goes on.
It’s full of sprints. It’s full of bodyweight squats. It’s full of stretching so much you sweat. It’s full everything you can imagine that does not add additional weight to your body.
It’s also full of clients who HATE it, because managing your bodyweight is one of the toughest things to do for exercise.
Jungle Gym is a strength and conditioning based program that cycles through two weeks dedicated to muscle building and strength, one week dedicated towards endurance, and one week dedicated towards “recovery”. All of these weeks include high intense interval training (HIIT) inside the program so that all of the weeks are geared towards fat loss.
You hear the words dead-lifts, and tire flips, and kettlebells, and handstands and you think . . . sexy. When you hear the word recovery you think . . . boring.
It is boring. And in the words of Russell from the movie Up, “This may sound boring, but it’s the boring things that I like the most.”
The world isn’t full of people who over-train. The world is full of people who under-recover.
They spend weeks pounding their bodies to the ground with weights causing nervous systems to shut down and spines to compress. Taking a week that is whole-heartedly dedicated towards relieving our bodies of shutting down or being compressed is crazy important to progress. I firmly believe that this is why we are a program dedicated to setting new personal records in the majority of our workouts.
Jungle Gym has four different types of recovery weeks we revolve around.
- One week is based on the art of running. We sprint, hill sprint, long jogs, and rest . . . a lot.
- One week is dedicated towards a deck of cards. Each card has a stretch or a bodyweight exercise that it stands for and we let the fate of the workout rest with the deck.
- One week is based off of deload. Slow, concentrated movements of normal movements we do in class.
- The last week is full of bodyweight circuits.
It may not sound as cool as bicep curls, squats, or farmer’s walks . . . but it’s definitely needed.
I like to think of recovery week as football practice. Running plays, agility ladders, sprints, bodyweight stuff, lots of stretching and lots of mobility. It’s like you’re preparing for the next game.
So even though recovery week may be the “hardest week” physically for most clients, it’s definitely needed. My goal is to make stretching, mobility, running real fast, and bodyweight exercises the new sexy.
Here’s my advice if you’re following a training program. Recover more. Take time out of your day (every day!) to stretch, foam roll, and move. Then take one week out of your program dedicated to letting your body structurally and mechanically heal by not adding anymore weight to your body than what you already have.
This is where your body recovers,