There is a major misconception out there about what the appropriate frequency is for someone to work the same muscle group again. One rule of thumb is to wait 5-7 days; the reason for this is so the recovery process can take place. When you exercise, you actually produce micro tears in your muscles. During the recovery process, protein enriched blood is introduced into the muscles in order to feed them the nutrition they need.
But let’s talk about what happens when you hit the same muscle group too soon. Picture constantly picking at a scab… How can it heal properly? Well the same holds true during the recovery process; you need to give that muscle group a chance to recover by waiting a sufficient time. I see people in the gym working the same muscles every day. This is a complete waste of time and energy. It’s probably the fastest way to get muscle bound with diminished mobility.
Now, let’s talk about stretching. Most people don’t take the time to do this important part of exercise. Stretching before a workout is very important because it warms up your muscles. Cold muscles that are hit hard, in the beginning of a workout, can easily get injured. You want to avoid this because injuries in the gym take a long time to heal. Stretching promotes blood flow through the muscles, which, in turn, warms them up and prepares them for exercise. I have also been guilty of not stretching out before a workout. It is also important to stretch out after a workout.
The impetus for my strict regimen of daily stretching was the sciatic pain I had suffered with for years. Besides icing down, stretching helped a great deal and became an absolute necessity. As a personal trainer, I frequently stretch out my clients. It’s a nice personal touch between trainer and client, and certainly anything you can do to prevent a gym injury is well worth the nominal time investment. If you’re unsure of which stretch to do for a specific injury or body part, then I suggest you google “stretching”, and you will see diagrams that take you through the process, in detail, such as by clicking here.
I hope these helpful tips will aid you in improving your workout. My next blog will tackle the notion of working out when you are ill. Stay tuned.
Rusty Russo is author of Three Strikes You’re In.