I firmly believe that the things you do on your off days are just as important and beneficial as your “on” days! Our bodies need rest and time to rebuild when you spend a lot of time breaking it down through lifting and workouts. I have three go to exercises that help benefit all the hard work I put in the rest of the week!
Its common to think that on your off-days, you ignore your legs. Most likely, you are sore and fatigued from the week's workouts. However, in order to push out the lactic acid and have better recovery, the answer is to push through and pay attention to your legs! I choose exercises that allow the stabilizer muscles to kick into gear. I will do single-leg or split-leg exercises to challenge my nervous system so that it can remember to respond with proper balance. This kind of focus is often ignored when we lift heavy or practice our sport of choice.
2. Shoulder stabilizers
It is a rare opportunity to take care of our bodies. Your off-day doesn't need to include pushups and weighted curls. Varying exercises within a plank will help support shoulder stability and all the muscles throughout your arms, abs, hips, and legs that it takes to stabilize yourself in a plank position. The focus may be your shoulders, but the rest of your body gets the chance to remember which muscles have to work to isolate movements and stay in control. This concept crosses over into anything you do physically.
3. Dynamic Stretching
Here's your chance to increase mobility through movement. I KNOW you have an area where you're lacking in motion and we always find it while we are drilling or lifting, then forget about it later. Maybe it's when you are shooting a double leg and when you step up to complete the take down, your back always rounds and you cant keep your hips down. THIS is the position for you to work on! Sitting in a "froggy squat," reach a hand to the opposite foot, and the other arm behind and up as if trying to stack your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds and switch sides. Repeat and breath out as you rotate into the stretch. Each time you switch sides, you notice you can go a little further. Staying down in your squat for longer will increase the resiliency in your muscle fibers, as well as the flexibility in your upper back as you rotate. This functional movement serves a means for stretching, as well as application to sport!
Alright guys, get out there and be intentional with your off-day routines! I PROMISE, you will see a big difference between the days that you are intentional, and the days where you end up sitting on the couch. Your recovery isn't meant the be hard and vigorous, its mean to serve a purpose. Now that you are armed with knowledge, get at it people!