Program Design Basics: Threshold and Recovery
I've been training for a number of years now. Many young trainers spend the majority of their time on program design. The “what you do” is important, but not as important as how you do it…
Today, I’m going to explain threshold a little bit to you and also explain why it is essential to incorporate rest and recovery into any exercise program.
An exercise threshold is how challenging an exercise is on the systems of the body. How much weight are you asking your muscles to lift? How fast are you asking your muscles to respond? How much recovery are you giving those systems between bouts of work?
The more weight you are asking your body to lift, the higher the threshold. The faster you ask your muscles to respond, the more you are working your nervous system and cardiovascular system. The less recovery time, the less time your systems will have to recover before being asked to do more work, therefore the higher the threshold of the workout.
Rest and Recovery
I see it all the time. Individuals will get so “into” working out that they don’t take days off. Maybe it’s not even days. If an individual has an extremely high fitness level, just an afternoon workout off will be sufficient if they’re used to working out two or three times per day.
It’s really quite simple. The human body needs time to recover from exercise. The muscles need time to repair themselves.
Exercise is a stress. If we continually stress our body beyond its threshold without giving it proper time to recover, we are setting ourselves up for injury or illness.
To conclude, every body is different and should be treated that way. The best advice I’ve ever gotten was some of the first advice I ever received. Listen to your body. If you feel yourself getting sick and contribute it to a heavy workload, then it might be time to back off a bit and get some rest. Drink more water than you think, eat good food conducive to recovery and take it easy on the workouts.
You may miss a couple of days, but you won’t be out for a week sick or out for two months with an injury.
Jon Howard - Husband and Father of 3 | Ultra Endurance Athlete | Owner - Training Edge Sports