At Ambition Athletics we often talk about movement and how important it is. In fact it’s really 33% part of what we stand for. Movement, Strength, Education. I wrote this little gem of a post entitled “Just Move” almost exactly 4 years ago and after reading again, it’s pretty good. I still stand by it. However, I think there’s more to the whole movement thing that I hadn’t previously considered.
I listened to Joel Jamieson talk recently (HERE) at which time he was discussing conditioning and recovery for strength athletes specifically. Joel is a smart guy and leader in the industry as far as training athletes and using HRV to monitor recovery, which is something that interests me. That being said, I typically don’t like doing conditioning or what some would consider “cardio” and mostly that comes down to priority. I don’t always feel that I can sacrifice this or that simply to add on the conditioning part. The other stuff is more important. What Jamieson is suggesting is low impact conditioning like riding the bike, sled drags, swimming or using the VersaClimber. This is not done at high intensity, or with intervals or any new fashionable things like HIIT or Tabatas. Just moderate intensity for roughly 15-20 minutes.
So here’s where my hamster wheel really got turning. What I typically do on my non training days may include foam rolling, mobility work and some walking. I’m not always perfect but I know that moving makes me feel better and is important for longevity. And, I will continue to do these things. However, what Joel taught me is that I can do MORE work on my non-training days. The goal here is not to “do more cardio” as many call it. It isn’t to burn fat or calories either. It’s simply to promote better recovery. It’s the next level of moving every day. Now, this is not a new idea by any means. I’m sure people have been doing this for years. I can now recall learning this type of recovery strategy from EXOS (formerly Athletes Performance) back in ’07 when we spent a specific day recovering or “regeneration” as they call it. We started with a relatively easy stationary bike ride of 15 minutes or so followed by foam rolling, Active Isolated Stretching and the cold tub.
So, this is a way to add more movement to your week and not beat your body up but in fact recover better. Certainly I still recommend rolling, mobilizing and walking but potentially more can be done in the right situation without negative effects. And, avoiding negative effects here is key. To sum it all up I’m seeing the heirarchy like this:
– Moving in some fashion every single day is crucial.
– Training with weights and/or with some intensity on some of those days is even better (this may or may not involve interval training/conditioning depending on the athlete/person).
– Understanding how to utilize foam rolling, stretching, and more specific joint mobility on the less intense days is even more effective.
– And finally adding in low intensity, low impact conditioning such as sled dragging, Airdyne bike rides and VersaClimber as tools to recover on non-training days as opposed tools for butt kicking intensity, is even the next level.
The bottom line is that you should be moving every day and as I have learned personally, you likely can move a lot more than you think. Not for the purpose of making things harder but to actually promote recovery and train harder on the other days.
– Mike Baltren