Friday, December 14, 2012

How To Avoid Over Training


The easiest way to meet any wellness goal is to turn effective behaviors into habits by repeating them every day. However, while it may be perfectly safe to eat the right foods every day or get enough sleep every night, daily workouts can be a whole other story. In fact, working out too frequently may actually deter you from reaching your fitness goals.


Why Your Body Needs a Break
One of the biggest workout mistakes is not giving yourself at least one day off a week. “Your ability to move is dictated by your flexibility, alignment, mobility, strength, and your ability to control and coordinate these factors,” says Amy Wunsch, MSPT, head physical therapist at Results Fitness in Newhall, California. Working out too frequently can prevent your muscles from functioning at their full potential.

And when your muscles aren’t functioning at 100%, your metabolism isn’t, either. Because your muscles are largely responsible for burning calories while your body is at rest, tired muscles end up burning fewer calories and less body fat.

Alternating between hard and easy days of training and taking one day off a week is the most effective way to prevent symptoms of overtraining, such as fatigue and fitness plateaus, according to a classic study of endurance athletes that was published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. But based on my experience working with athletes of all fitness levels, I’ve found that most people really need to take a break from working out even more frequently than one day a week. Because it takes your muscles 24 to 48 hours to repair themselves after an intense workout, I recommend taking a day off after two days of consecutive workouts.

So what should you do every third day if you’re motivated enough to want to hit the gym daily? I’m not about to advise you to go home and sit on the couch! There’s another solution that will help you maintain your gym-going habit while putting little demand on your body: the rest day tune-up.

This fitness routine features stretches to work out tight muscles or knots and strengthening exercises to rev up your stabilizer muscles, the smaller muscles in your shoulders, back, hips, and knees that are vital for good posture. Tune-ups ultimately help your body recover and set you up for a better performance during your next hard-core workout so you can meet your fitness goals faster—all by taking a “break”.

On the day after working out for two consecutive days: start by foam rolling your entire body by sitting on a foam roller and moving it back and forth over each muscle. Then perform two circuits of the following 10 exercises. In addition to the following, you can also get outside for an easy walk.

The Rest-Day Tune-Up

1. Side-Lying Thoracic Rotation (10 reps on each side)
To loosen the muscles of your middle and upper back: Lie on your left side on the floor, with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees. Straighten both arms in front of you at shoulder height, palms pressed together. Your arm and shoulder should touch the floor. Keeping your left arm and both legs in position, rotate your right arm up and over your body and rotate your torso to the right, until your right hand and upper back are flat on the floor. Hold for 2 seconds, then bring your right arm back to the starting position.Complete the prescribed number of reps, then turn over and do the same number for your other side.



2. Reach, Roll, and Lift (10 reps on each side)
To enhance the mobility of your shoulders and upper back: Kneel down and place your elbows on the floor, allowing your back to round. Your elbows should be bent 90 degrees. Your palms should be flat on the floor. Slide your right hand forward until your arm is straight. Rotate your right palm so that it’s facing up. Raise your right arm as high as you can. Do all your reps, then repeat with your left arm.


3. Half-Kneeling Rotational Chop (10 reps on each side)
Attach a rope handle to the high pulley of a cable station. Kneel down so that your left side faces the weight stack and your right knee is on the floor but your left knee is bent 90 degrees with your left foot flat on the floor. Keep your core braced and pull the rope past your right hip. Bend your left arm and straighten your right arm as you pull the rope down.


4. Standing Hamstring Stretch (60 seconds on each side)
To stretch your hamstrings from both your hip and your knee: Place your right foot on a bench or secure chair. Your right leg should be completely straight; your left leg should be slightly bent. Stand tall with your back naturally arched and place your hands on your hips. Without rounding your lower back, bend at the hips and lower your torso until you feel a comfortable stretch, and hold that position for the prescribed amount of time. Bending your knee more increases the stretch near your hip; keeping it straight increases the stretch at your knee.



5. Sumo Squat to Stand (10 reps)
To loosen your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, groin, and lower back: Stand tall with your legs straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your legs straight, bend over and grab your toes. (If you need to bend your knees you can, but bend them only as much as necessary.) Without letting go of your toes, lower your body into a squat as you raise your chest and shoulders up. Staying in the squat position, raise your right arm up high and wide. Then raise your left arm. Now stand up.


6. Inchworm (5 reps)
To loosen your thigh, hip, and oblique muscles: Stand tall with your legs straight and bend over and touch the floor. Keeping your legs straight and your core braced, walk your hands forward. Then take tiny steps to walk your feet back to your hands. That’s one repetition. If you can’t reach the floor with your legs straight, bend your knees just enough so you can. As your flexibility improves, try to straighten them a little more.



7. Prone Hip Internal Rotation (10 reps)
To loosen your deep hip muscles: Lie facedown on the floor with your knees together and bent 90 degrees. Without allowing your hips to rise off the floor, lower your feet straight out to the sides as far as you comfortably can. Hold for 1 or 2 seconds, then return to the starting position.


8. Supine Hip Internal Rotation (10 reps)
To loosen the muscles of your inner thighs and hips: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent 90 degrees. Your feet should be flat on the floor and about twice shoulder-width apart. Without allowing your feet to move, lower your knees inward as far as you comfortably can. Hold for 1 or 2 seconds, then return to the starting position.




9. Lying Glute Stretch (60 seconds each side)
To loosen your glutes and reduce your likelihood of experiencing lower back pain: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees and hips bent. Cross your left leg over your right so that your left ankle sits across your right thigh. Grab your left knee with both hands and pull it toward the middle of your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch in your glutes.



10. Wall Slide (10 reps)
To enhance the function of your shoulder blades, which can help improve posture and shoulder health: Lean your head, upper back, and butt against the wall. Place your hands and arms against the wall in the “high-five” position, your elbows bent 90 degrees and your upper arms at shoulder height. Keeping your elbows, wrists, and hands pressed into the wall, slide your elbows down toward your sides as far as you can. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 1 second. Slide your arms back up the wall as high as you can while keeping your hands in contact with the wall. Lower and repeat.



http://blog.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/recovery-exercise/

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