Muscles get bigger from rest and recovery. But they also get bigger through progressive overload – the continual increased stress on muscles through changing the loaded weight they are bearing, the time under tension and/or the speed of a contraction.
It is important to rest and recover, but the body adapts incredibly well depending to the stimulus it is subject to. If you are going to workout twice a day – as long as you rest and recover effectively both physically and nutritionally in between – your body will let you. This is the same as if you were going to workout just 3 times a week. The body will let you do it with the appropriate rest and recovery. However, the same body allows you to train at both of these intensities. It is by telling it to do one or the other (and by performing it) that it knows how to adapt; and it is the overloading of the body in this way that provides progression. If the brain tells system that it needs to recover quicker with the nutrition and rest time provided, then it will recover quicker.
Here are 3 weekly challenges that will provide a new stimulus for your body to increase its rest and recovery rate which, ultimately, will allow you to become fitter in a quicker time.
1. Daily press ups
These exercises you can do anywhere. No equipment needed, no need to go outside. One thing to ensure is that you do these properly. For press ups, lead the press with your chest and go all the way down to the floor, keeping your elbows tucked by your sides as they bend backwards (Note, not sideways!). Remember, you are doing this to get stronger, not to be able to do more press ups. Whether you do it correctly or wrongly, you will increase your repetitions; but it is the correct technique that will provide the most beneficial stimulus for growth.
Day 1 – Evening: Perform the maximum number of press ups you can do with good form before you cannot complete a repetitions.
Day 2 – Morning Perform the same number of repetitions as Day 1.
Day 3 – Evening: Perform one more repetition than you did previously.
Day 4 – Morning: Perform the same number of repetitions as Day 3.
Day 5 – Evening: Perform one more repetition than you did previously.
Day 6 – Morning: Perform the same number of repetitions as Day 5.
Day 7: Rest.
Continue this for 3 weeks before having a week off. You will see that your press ups and strength will increase by a third in just one month.
Advanced: Add more sets of press ups after 1 minute of rest after the first set.
2. Burpee pyramid
A lot of people hate burpees (here is what a burpee looks like). But because it doesn’t require added weights, it’s quite easy to get good at it because your body carries your own weight every day as you walk – and being good at burpees leads to its enjoyment in the face of others finding it difficult. Here is a good way to become accustomed to doing burpees.
Day 1 – Perform 5 burpees. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.
Day 2 – Perform 6 burpees. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.
Day 3 – Rest.
Day 4 – Perform 7 burpees. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.
Day 5 – Perform 6 burpees. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.
Day 6 – Perform 5 burpees. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.
Day 7 – Rest.
This is the basis for all ability levels. Start with any number you can do with this frequency but the minimum is 5, as above. For the next week, increase your Day 1’s number by 1 and continue in the same pattern for 3 weeks before resting. If you started with 5 burpees on Day 1, mid-way through the 3rd week, you will have doubled the number of burpees you will be able to do.
Advanced: Add in a press up as you come down to the floor in the middle of the burpee.
3. Give your wings some dips
Of course this doesn’t mean dipping your chicken wings in ketchup; rather, it suggests that performing chair dips in your living room, kitchen or bedroom can greatly benefit the strength and definition of your bingo wings – the triceps. Make sure your hands are just wider than shoulder width apart with palms pressed onto the chair seat, keep the arms straight and the fingers pointing forwards gripping the front of the seat. Face away from the chair with legs straight out in front of you and bend the elbows backwards as you lower your backside down towards the floor. As the upper arm and forearm form a 90 degree angle, push off the seat through your palms and straighten the arms once more.
Day 1 – Perform chair dips to failure. Rest 1 minute. Reduce the number you did by 10%. Perform again. Rest and repeat with another 10% reduction.
Day 2 – Rest.
Day 3 – Increase the number you did to failure on Day 1 by 10%. Then repeat the same pattern as Day 1 with the rest and 10% reduction.
Day 4 – Rest.
Day 5 – Increase the number you did to failure on Day 3 by 10%. Then repeat the same pattern as Day 1 with the rest and 10% reduction.
Day 6 – Perform exactly the same numbers as you did for Day 1.
Day 7 – Rest.
For example, if you started with 20 chair dips on Day 1. Your second set after the 1 minute rest would be 18 reps. Then after another minute’s rest, it would be 16 reps. Day 3 would start with 22 reps, before dropping to 20 reps and 18 reps. Day 5 would start with 24 reps, before dropping to 22 and 20. Day 6 would start again at 20 reps.
Repeat this for three weeks before resting a week and you will notice a huge difference in the strength and shape of your arms.
Have a go at these three weekly challenges to build muscle. They will take you 5 minutes and won’t cost you a penny; but will get you great results.
Director – Head of Fitness and Nutrition
Fitness Body Pro
Tags: burpee, Exercise, fitness, home, muscle, Personal training, press up, training, workout