Midweek Recovery Workout Combo

Airman performs push-ups at Kirtland Air Force Base
A senior airman with the New Mexico Air National Guard readies herself to perform push-ups at the first annual Taco Warrior Challenge at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque on March 4, 2017. (Senior Airman Jonathan Z. Wooden/150th Special Operations Wing)

Some weeks, after tough Monday and Tuesday workout sessions, you might feel like you either need a day off or might not be at 100% to do the next workout as written.

Here is an option that enables you to hit Monday and Tuesday hard, take it easy on Wednesday, and do a full mobility and recovery day on Thursday. Then, you can crush Friday and Saturday workouts as you did with the first two workouts of the week.

I have found this useful at age 51 when recovery times may take a little longer than they used to or, toward the end of high-volume workout cycles, when aches and pains from overuse start to show themselves.

Here are the Wednesday and Thursday combo recovery day workouts to help when you need it but do not want to take a day off.

For Wednesday, all I do is a series of five minutes of work followed by a five-minute cycle of easy cardio or stretching. This cuts the volume of the workout nearly 50%, but you feel like you still did something that day with the added focus on flexibility and mobility.

Wednesday workout: Warm up with push-up pyramid 1-10 (warm-up with 50-meter jog between sets; stop at 10). This takes about five minutes. After every five minutes of activity, stop and stretch.

Repeat 5 times

800-meter run at goal pace for timed runs

Pull-ups 10+

Push-ups max 1 minute

My changes to the above circuit: My goal here was to run for three minutes but have two minutes left to do pull-ups and push-ups for my five minutes of activity. Then, I do five minutes of stretching again, though I did do a few five-minute easy runs as my activity for that set.

Instead of doing the following, I got a total of 15 minutes of running and stretching as well as three sets of pull-ups and push-ups instead of 2.5 miles of fast running and five sets of pull-ups and push-ups.

Repeat 4 times

Run 400 meters at goal pace (timed runs)

Dips max

Heavy rows 5 or TRX rows 10

For this circuit, I rode the bike for two minutes, followed by two minutes of stretching for four sets. I did do two sets of dips and rows, however.

Cooldown jog or bike 10 minutes or stretch as needed. This was perfect as I continued riding the bike for 10 minutes and stretched for 10 minutes after the bike ride.

Thursday is mobility day and a life-changing workout. If you have not tried it yet, you should, especially if you get after it several times a week. It does help you recover fully and get ready for the following Friday and weekend workouts.

Easy Day done as written below:

Repeat 5 times

5 minutes cardio (non-impact recommended)

5 minutes stretch, foam roll or massage tool

Optional: (if you have access to a pool)

10 minutes swim

10 minutes tread and 5 minutes dynamic stretches in chest-deep water

You at least will leave this workout feeling like you did something, but the body will be loose and, if you are like me, feeling no pain. This is a true blessing after a lifelong journey of athletics, spec ops prep and time in service and after years of coaching and staying active.

When in doubt, do the mobility day as it is perfect for getting you moving and removing some of the typical aches and pains that come with life.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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