Rest And Recovery From Workouts: Are You REALLY Getting Optimal Results?

by Joshua Tapp Tweet

Rest and recovery from workouts is a VITAL piece of the muscle building and fat burning equation. Many people ignore proper rest and recovery and wonder why they haven’t achieved any significant results in years of weight training and exercise. Inside the gym is where you apply the proper stimulus you need to get results. You actually break muscle tissue down when you’re at the gym. Your body repairs that same muscle tissue and builds it up during the rest periods between your workouts. You need to know what you should be doing to speed up that recovery process. The better job you do at rest and recovery from workouts… the better results you achieve.

How can I avoid lactic acid build up when I workout?

To try and avoid lactic acid burn you need to understand how and why it accumulates in the muscles. When glucose is burned for fuel during exercise, it is broken down into pyruvates. When you are working at low intensities, there is enough oxygen to easily convert pyruvate to carbon dioxide and water, which are removed by the lungs. When you are working at a very high intensity, however, there is not enough oxygen to convert all the pyruvate to carbon dioxide and water. This results in some of the pyruvate being converted to lactic acid, which then builds up in the muscles and overflows into the bloodstream. Lactic acid causes the burning felt in muscles during high intensity exercise and also prevents muscles from working their best.

One way to battle lactic acid build up is to remain well-hydrated at all times. This means hydrating before, during, and after exercise sessions. Another way to reduce the build up is to workout in intervals. Your training routine should include some interval training two to three days per week. An interval training session consists of high intensity mixed with moderate intensity periods. Your body will learn how to reduce the level of the lactic acid that is created through the alternating high intensity workouts in interval training. This training of the systems will allow you to continue at a higher intensity for a longer duration without feeling the negative effects of the lactic acid building up in your muscles.

The combination of hydration and appropriate training practices will allow you to function at a high intensity without allowing lactic acid to limit your performance

How To Treat a Pulled Muscle

Here’s How:


Rest is recommended for the early recovery phase, lasting 1 to 5 days depending on the severity of the injury. Immobilization is not usually necessary, and can be potentially harmful. Immobilization in a splint or cast should be carefully supervised by your doctor, as this can lead to stiffness of the muscle.


Ice application helps reduce swelling, bleeding, and pain. Ice application should begin as soon as possible after sustaining a muscle pull. Ice applications can be done frequently, but should not be done for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Free Weights VS. Machines

Free weight exercises are more effective for building muscle then machine exercises. Machines make the exercises easier to perform. You do not have to balance the weight with machine exercises because the machine balances the weight for you. You will get less muscle stimulation from machine exercises because they do not require the same concentration or effort as free weight exercises. Free weights have a greater ability to involve stabilizer muscles than machines. Free weights put you in a natural, 3 dimensional environment for exercise.

The majority of your exercises should be compound free weight exercises. This does not mean that you should avoid machine exercises or isolation exercises. They are easy to learn and there is a low risk of injury, which is great for people who are just starting out or for rehabilitation purposes. And there are some good machine exercises that cannot be duplicated with free weights such as various cable pulley exercises. However, the majority of lifters should always base their workouts around compound, free weight exercises and supplement their workouts with machine and isolation exercises. I’ve put together a listing of the top 5 weight training exercises for each bodypart. Complete with exercise pictures and text descriptions that explain how to perform all the movements with proper technique.

Exercise Selection – Compound vs. Isolation Exercises

Compound exercises work multiple muscles across more then one joint. Bench press, dips, and squats are examples of compound exercises. Isolation exercises work fewer muscles across a single joint. Dumbbell flyes, pec deck, and leg extensions are examples of isolation exercises.

Some people believe that in order to target a certain muscle you should use more isolation exercises and thus develop that muscle more efficiently. However, this is not the best approach. Isolation exercises that work the muscles across a single joint are not the most effective way to build muscle. Compound exercises are far more effective in building muscle because they incorporate the use of several muscle groups, allow for a heavier training load, and work more muscle mass in the same amount of time.

Let’s look at the squat. It is a compound exercise. It works the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus, lower back, abdominals, hips, and abductors. Squats allow for heavy weights to be lifted. This makes the squat an incredibly effective muscle building exercise. Compared to an isolation exercise such as the leg extension, which only focuses on the quadriceps. From this simple example you can clearly see how much more productive compound exercises are for building muscle.