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Passive Rest vs. Active Recovery

By April 25, 2018August 21st, 2018Fitness, Health, Weights, Workout Techniques

Passive Rest vs. Active Recovery

Why you should implement active recovery to your training routine

By: Mike Aguirre


A lot of times many of us after a couple days of training your body may feel fatigued or drained because of the intensity and frequency you are training at which is normal. It is also a common term that many refer to as a “rest” day that may follow your specific training routine. What if I told you if you changed the way you took “rest” days it could improve your performance in the weight room.

I’m here to explain the difference between passive rest and active recovery. Passive rest is what most people commonly do as they take a day or two off from training and do almost none or minimal physical activity throughout their day. Laying around, sitting for prolonged periods of times after strenuous physical activity does little to promote blood flow through the body and help it get the nutrients and recovery it needs.

Active recovery is a component when you are doing a combination of dynamic stretching and low to moderate intensity physical activity to promote that blood flow that aids in recovery faster than just laying on the couch. A study was done with high-performance swimmers to help support the significance of active recovery. This study took two different groups of swimmers, one group who participated in active recovery or regeneration days versus the second group who rested and did not do any physical activity to recover. They performed 3 sets of swimming workouts, the first set at 65%-70% intensity, the second set at 80% intensity and the final set at 100% intensity. Between each set the lactate levels or the product your body produces that fatigue your muscles were measured. Following their workout the next two days group 1 participated in their active recovery sessions, which consisted of physical activity and dynamic stretching at 50%-60% intensity for 30 minutes, and group 2 did not participate in any physical activity. On the third day when they met back in the pool the swimmers went through the same workout and lactate was measured once again after each set. Their findings were the group that participated in active recovery had lower levels of lactic acid build up versus the group who did nothing. Group 1 had faster times and saw an average 20% decrease of initial lactic buildup. So I encourage you the next time the team puts you through a tough training session, the next rest day you take do your body a favor help it recover and make it an active one.

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