Pilates an alternative to rest days and recovery

Many people over train, lifting weights to often, running long distances to frequently. Over training can lead to injury as well as long term under performance. Previously it has been common practise to have a rest day as a means to recuperate muscles. However, there is a new train of thought that instead of resting the muscles one should exercise to relax the muscles which in turn prepare the muscles to achieve better results in upcoming workouts.

Human fitness can be categorised into four categories; Initial fitness which is your natural base fitness some people are naturally more fit than others because of age, genes ect, The second stage is that training period the aim is to decrease one level of fitness so that the body trains using the Catabolic process (energy from proteins). The third phase, the recovery process allows the body to recuperate these levels of fitness to its initial point and beyond as the body prepares itself for the next training session and catabolic process, this increase is called super- compensation and is the final stage.

The basic concept follows the idea that if after these 4 stages one ceases to train, ones fitness level will decline, as proven by Hungarian scientist Nikolai Jakowlew in 1976. However, and equally as important is when the next training session should take place. If the next training session occurs during the  recovery period, the muscles will become overtrained where as if the muscles are trained during the supercompensation period, the body will advance to a higher level of fitness. Also it is worth baring in mind that if the next training session occurs after the supercompensation period, the body will remain at the same level of fitness as prior to the workout.

More advanced variations on this method have been explored and accepted. The idea that reduced training which focus of a different type of training to the base training, which are employed during the recovery period, can be employed to achieve greater effect of during the supercompensation phase. It is from these more advanced variations that recovery workouts such a Pilates have become an accepted method of recovery training.

This approach has been adopted by many of the popular gyms in the USA, The classes combine cardio, pilates and yoga. Neal Pire, an exercise physiologist, likens the classes to a shorter, easier run to help runners recover from a longer, faster one the day before. “There is real validity to recovery workouts because they increase circulation and remove muscle spasms,” he said. “They work you out so you can work out hard again.”

Susan S. Paul, MS, TSF Training Program Director agrees with the idea of exercising instead of a complete rest. She says “Light activity will actually help you recover faster than inactivity. Exercise promotes circulation and aids healing and recovery by delivering fresh oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.” She encourages Yoga, Pilates, swimming as ideal recovery workouts.

For more information regarding Pilates classes and our Pilates studio in Barcelona centre contact us and we will be happy to help.