Here’s the background:
I’m not a beginner; I’ve been lifting weights for nearly 6 years now. However, I am only “beginning” to train properly again now after coming back from a rotator cuff injury that kept me away from heavy weights for over 3 months. After spending those past 3 months doing light resistance work targeting solely my shoulders and back, I’m now keen to getting back a well-rounded, athletic physique. For this reason I’ve decided to return to a kind of workout I haven’t done in years: the full body workout.
I’m planning on doing the full body workout 3 times a week: Mon, Wed, Fri. On each day, the workout will be the same - incorporating big compound movements such as DLs, clean & presses, BP, barbell rows, etc. - except I’ll probably rotate exercises so that I’m not always starting and ending with the same exercises.
Now on to the questions:
- What kind of cardio would you guys recommend I do on off days, i.e. Tue, Thur? I want to do cardio on off days because I think it’ll stand to benefit me on “on days”. Why? One, doing cardio on off days should boost my cardiovascular fitness and make it easier for me to keep the intensity high on “on days” and allow me to concentrate on lifting maximum weight rather than on getting my breath back. Two, I’ve read that an “active” recovery day of light cardio can actually speed up muscle recovery faster than a “sedentary” recovery day, i.e. one where you do nothing at all.
I’m thinking some light resistance, steady state stuff is my best bet if I want to put strain on my heart without straining my muscles too much. However, I wouldn’t know how long is long enough, or what percentage of my max heart rate I should be aiming for. Say I chose to use the bike, for instance: what’s the optimum time and heart rate I should be looking to keep to (bearing in mind I’m 23)?
- Is it wise to do a small amount of ab work on off days rather than none at all? The way I see it, the core muscles you use while performing the likes of DLs and bent-over barbell rows (which I do at a 90 degree angle, by the way) are distinct from the ab muscles you recruit when doing stuff like bicycles and reverse crunches. Following this line of thought, doing 5-10 minutes of ab work on off days shouldn’t harm my performance on lifting days, nor should it lead to my core or abs being overworked. I may be mistaken though. Anyone out there think they no better?