To convince a bodybuilder to change the rules of their workout is hard, if not almost impossible. That specifically applies to one of the most important rules never do the same muscle group workout two days in a row. Building muscle is really a simple equation – eat, train, sleep, repeat.
The question is how to maximize muscle growth? We mentioned the most important rule to most bodybuilders – never do the same muscle group two days in a row.
This rule is good for a few reasons, but if you want to bulk up fast, you must go around this rule or even break it completely.
Do you disagree? If that is the case, just look at the calves of soccer players, lateral muscles of professional swimmers, and lumberjacks’ back muscles.
These are the people who activate completely the same muscle groups day after day and still have massive muscles. Let us explain.
After a heavy workout, your muscles need time to recover so you can activate them with the same force on the next workout.
For example, if you do chest on Monday, probably on Tuesday, you won’t do the same number of sets and repetitions with the same weights.
The original idea that you should not be doing the same muscle group two days in a row makes sense if we assume that we are using the same heavy weights, the same number of sets, and repetitions on both days.
But let’s eliminate this assumption, and we will discover a glitch in this law, and the result is astonishing. That is so because active recovery with lighter weights and many reps for the same muscle group we trained the day before leads to their bigger growth.
Sounds too good to be true? Just keep reading.
One way that muscle recovers after heavy training is through the transfer of nutrients from blood vessels into muscle fiber.
When you train a certain muscle group with lighter weights and numerous reps, like during the active recovery, blood flow to the activated muscles grows.
Actually, it is twelve times bigger than when the muscle is still. This way, there is a larger transfer of nutrients, which increases the rate at which our body recovers.
This is important since the faster the muscle recovers, the faster it grows. Faster recovery allows us to train some muscle groups more often, which stimulates their growth even more.
The methods of active recovery we will tell you about are safe and have numerous advantages that do not include only recovery.
Larger Muscle Mass
There are two primary types of muscle growth. First, that is called sarcomeric hypertrophy. This leads to the growth of those fibers that are contracting the muscle. This type of growth occurs in the workout with a small number of reps while using heavy weights.
The second type is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, and it occurs as the result of the growth of the space surrounding muscle fibers due to structures that create energy inside the cells of a muscle. This growth typically occurs in a workout with many reps, which is actually active recovery.
Reduced Muscle inflammation
Due to the increased transfer of nutrients, active recovery allows the body faster recovery of muscles while drastically reducing the inflammation.
It might seem incredible to you that we can easily eliminate something that once seemed like an unbearable inflammation if only we include active recovery in our workouts. Give it a try!
Active recovery activates the muscle fibers that are rarely activated during classic weight training. By activating these fibers, we increase muscles’ ability to stay in the state of contraction longer.
We will give you examples of three active recovery methods. Neither is better than the other one; they are all equally efficient.
If you are currently doing full-body workouts, it would be best to choose method two or three. If you are training individual muscle groups on each training, choose the method that fits into your program but stick to one method for four weeks.
If you are doing heavy workouts for a single muscle group once a week, maybe you should think of changing that since now your muscles will recover much faster.
One crucial piece of advice, do not to do more than two muscle groups on one of these training sessions with active recovery since then the training would be too challenging for your body and wouldn’t give you good results.
For example, if you want your biceps and chest to be bigger, then on one of these workouts, do the exercises for only those two muscle groups. Also, you should choose only one exercise for each muscle group.
When it comes to the weights and reps, you should lift the heaviest weight you can in 30 reps. If you think this weight is too small, you are right; the idea is to increase blood flow and speed up recovery without additional strain on the muscles.
The rest between sets for method one is four hours, but it is only five minutes for methods two and three. Stick to that, do not change it.
If you use active recovery for two different muscle groups, rest between each set for each muscle group for five minutes. Also, in method one, you will do one muscle group, rest for five minutes, do other muscle groups, and rest for four hours before you repeat all this.
In methods two and three, you will do one muscle group, rest for five minutes, do another muscle group, rest for another five minutes, and repeat it all.
This training you can do on any day when you are not doing targeted muscle group (for example, if you are doing a heavy workout of a certain muscle group on Monday, you can make active recovery any day or every day from Tuesday to Sunday ).
– Sets 4
– Reps 25
– Rest 4 hours
Do this workout night before you plan to do the targeted muscle group.
– Sets 2
– Reps 50
– Rest 5 minutes
Do this workout six to eight hours after you have done the targeted muscle group workout.
– Sets 2
– Reps 50
– Rest 5 minutes