4 Reasons Why Active Recovery Beats Total Rest

1. Restore pliability Through active Recovery

A well-designed active recovery session can enhance muscle pliability. A pure off-day doesn’t. Slouch in a chair on an off-day and you will lose pliability.

In fact, an emphasis on pliability is a feature of the TB12 approach to recovery. Consider that standard active recovery routines focus on blood flow alone, like a runner doing a one-mile jog after a track workout. TB12 recovery routines are unique in their key goal: To re-educate your muscles to remain pliable. Pliable muscles are long, soft and primed to fire at 100% capacity. This takes specific, intentional work to achieve pliability.

TB12 post-workout recovery becomes a valuable opportunity to restore pliability. If you do not incorporate pliability into your recovery, muscles become tight, dense and stiff. They become limited in their capacity to fire. Muscular imbalances then creep into the body. Imbalances lead to muscular compensation: for example, a tight, weak left hamstring will lead to overloading other muscle groups and joints.; and compensation leads to injury.

Active recovery beats total rest.2. Active Recovery & the full range of motion

Total rest requires little range of motion. If any. The right active recovery workout can turn an off-day into a day you work on your mobility. TB12 believes in functional strength & conditioning recovery sessions that can move muscles throughout their ranges of motion.

Certain methods of active recovery advocate using weights. Using a loaded barbell or dumbbells in an active recovery workout places a strain on the muscles, ligaments, and joints. This work is counter to the goal of pliability and can incur more muscular breakdown. Rather, TB12 Resistance Bands use resistance bands, working muscles through large, fluid ranges of motion without the overload. Imagine using a pickup truck to tow 1000 pounds of bricks. That’s an example of resistance. Now picture a pickup truck with 1000 pounds bricks in the cargo bed, and the stress this load places on the springs and shock absorbers of the suspension. This is an example of load. Resistance is the optimal choice.

Tom Brady practices active recovery every day.

3. Increase healing

After a workout, competition or game, an athlete is in a relative state of breakdown: Inflammation, cellular damage, micro-tears, and waste products like lactic acid. Active recovery exercise at an appropriate intensity level is more effective than pure couch-potato time.  A phrase used in certain physical therapy circles applies:  Motion is Lotion. Active recovery stimulates blood and lymphatic circulation to the tissues and joints. This helps reduce inflammation, promote healing and reduce soreness.


4. Sustain confidence

For some, taking a day off from training has psychological ramifications. An active recovery workout can ease any doubt or guilt one might feel from skipping a day.

It’s within the lore of athletics that dedicated athletes can overdo it. Left to their own devices, they’ll opt to stack hard workouts on top of hard workouts to the point of over-training.  They don’t need coaches to motivate them; they need coaches to hold them back. Is this you? It’s a good thing to know. Specific, active recovery workouts like you’ll find in the TB12 Recovery Guide will allow the hard-charging athlete to get in a productive workout with less risk of overdoing it.