Have you ever changed your own oil?
For us, growing up in Central Pennsylvania, it’s a lesson each teenage boy learns. It’s a wright of passage. If a guy makes it to senior year without knowing rudimentary car maintenance something’s amiss.
We’re not mechanics by any stretch, but we understand the basics. We know how to select the right tools for the job. Oil plug removal doesn’t require a hammer.
Training draws parallels to car maintenance—it’s imperative to choose the right tools for the right jobs and circumstances. Pilates won’t likely improve bench pressing technique. Yoga isn’t going to strap a lad with bulging shoulders. But they may fit elsewhere in a training regime and accomplish different ends.
Recovery, our current concern, requires the same individualized thought process and attention to detail. It requires the right tool for the job.
A strength training program presents two likely recovery scenarios: smashed/over-stimulated and smashed/under-stimulated.
You feel like you lifted a car off of train tracks to save a baby only to find a lion waiting for you on the other side. You, of course, killed the lion with your bare goddamned hands. King Kong ain’t got shit on you!
The day after arrives. Everything’s sore, your resting heart is ten beats above normal and your training motivation is nil. You asked a great deal from your nervous system, and it responded, but now it’s been over-stimulated.
You’re dragging ass. You trained hard yesterday, but you’re not that sore and your resting heart rate is normal. Training isn’t off the table, but you feel like you need some juice. Everything is alright; you’re just lacking gusto.
Let’s posit that you’re hypothetically over-stimulated and it’s an off-day. More, intense and powerful nervous stimulation won’t do you much good. Your body is working too hard to recovery from stressors. However, light stimulation that simultaneously increases sustained blood flow is a great idea. Enter cardiac output.
In this instance, cardiac output works with your body’s natural tendency to recover. The light stimulation of continuous movement boosts the nervous system. Maintaining the heart rate between the parameters (120-150) increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients sent to recovering muscles.
Stop traffic because here comes some news—C.O. is a good idea when you’re over-stimulated and you’re supposed to train hard. We know—it sounds blasphemous. Intelligence often does to guys like us that have built themselves sweat, tireless effort and a “push-through” mentality. But, in reality, pushing through isn’t always optimal.
So, let’s say it’s your planned day two but you feel like ten pounds of shit stuffed in a five-pound bag. Change the plan. Instead of digging further into the hole, complete a C.O., recovery cardio workout. It sounds scary—what about all of the gains? Won’t they disappear? No.
What you’ll have done is prepared your body to perform better during your next workout—further enhancing your gains potential.
When you’re over-stimulated, utilize a Cardiac Output recovery session.
Neural charge is your under-stimulation solution. It boosts recovery by heightening the nervous system. Sometimes when we train hard the body dials things back a bit to overcompensate for recovery. N.C. wakes the body up, keeps the nervous system stimulated and drives the recovery curve forward.
Like C.O., it’s applicable on off-days and on training days. If you feel like someone dialed back your power switch and you’re supposed to train hard, substitute an N.C. session for your planned training. Your nervous system will come back up to baseline and you’ll have the zest to hammer your subsequent lifting sessions.
When you’re under-stimulated, utilize a Neural Charge recovery session.
You’re not having any recovery issues; kudos to you, good man! So you ask—do these two training means still have a home in my training week? You bet your sweet ass they do.
Early in the training week we want stimulation. As we accumulate training stress, the latter parts of the week require less stimulation—the focus shifts to recovery and accommodating the stress we’ve accumulated.
Make the most of this stress-training curve by employing N.C. sessions during your early week off days and C.O. sessions in late week off days. Early week N.C. sessions keep the nervous system heightened and ready for the next hard training session. Late week C.O. sessions keep the body in proper balance to accumulate and adapt to the week’s training stress.
Is your main goal to hoist staggering amounts of barbell-racked iron? Make N.C. sessions your off-day go to.
As we’ve mentioned, N.C. sessions maintain nervous stimulation. This works well to facilitate strength gains because strength is mostly a neurological adaptation. Keep the nervous system heightened, and ready to adapt, and you’ll dominate.
But if your jam is shedding fat, think C.O. Place these Bad Larrys on your off-days to continually stimulate metabolism and stay in fat-burning heart rate ranges. They also burn extraneous calories. Don’t count calories, that shit will make you nuts. But burn them shits. Burn them!
Neural Charge and Cardiac Output sessions are versatile training tools. Assess your situation and pick the right tool for the job. Then work that shit like you’re getting paid.
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