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Active Recovery for Lifters?

So I’ve started to switch my mentality with lifting lately and think bigger picture. When I was a distance runner we had a lot of easy “shake out” runs, either as the only run of the day or several hours after a hard workout. The idea is that the easy effort increases blood flow which helps with recovery without increasing fatigue.

I’m thinking yoga could be a good active recovery method for lifters and it’s something I’m considering taking up soon. Wondering if anyone else uses active recovery, what your activity of choice is, and if you’ve noticed any benefits.

Concentric only conditioning is fantastic for this. Prowler is a great choice. Air dyne in a pinch.

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I’m old, but I like walking. I do think it helps me loosen up. I also have a sit-on-my-butt job with lots of cars and airplanes, so that is likely a factor in just walking being enough to make me feel better.


I do long walks lately.

In my last training block, I was doing loaded carries 2-3x a week, and definitely feel the benefits now that I’m in shorter rep ranges. I feel lemon fresh within 1-2 minutes, but I’m also not going that heavy (yet)

Just getting unstiff and relaxing a bit is really beneficial

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Rowing as well, concentric only. Gets the blood flowing throughout the entire body feels so good.

not to hijack the thread, but what differentiates “active recovery” from another workout. Prowler and air Dyne are pretty intense and could easily become another “conditioning”/Cardio day

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I actually call it conditioning in my post for this very reason. It is still a workout when I do it, but since it is concentric only, it doesn’t beat you up nearly as much and gets blood flowing.

so would I need to take actual days off?

I’m not a coach. Couldn’t say what you need to do. But for me, concentric only conditioning helps me recover faster from the previous day’s work.

Ah we have different ideas of active recovery then. I was thinking yoga because it’ll stimulate blood flow to everything and it’s challenging in a local muscular endurance sense which is easy to recover from.

In all honesty though, I should add a few cardio based workouts but they would be for getting in shape rather than helping with recovery

But the prowler can also do this…

so basically just workout everyday?


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Again: I can’t make training recommendations.

I suppose, I think it’s a matter of fitness too. Even if it was light, I feel like adding something new like that would be an extra source of fatigue rather than help with recovery but I’m also pretty out of shape right now. If I was in shape, I’d probably agree with you

I think loading, distance and intensity go a long way. But lack of fitness should actually work FOR you in this regard, because most likely your lungs and heart will be the limiting factor before you manage to fatigue your muscles enough to negatively impact recovery. It’s why I’m so big on emphasizing the concentric only nature of the training. It tends to be self limiting and regulating.

Sure, immediately post prowler work, your legs might feel like jelly, but the next day they should actually feel better compared to if you took the day off. It was usually how I’d speed up recovery between Deep Water squat workouts.

EDIT: We used to call these “feeder workouts”


There are a handful of different kinds of yoga with different inherent intensities (Bikram, restorative, Ashtanga, Hatha, etc.) but in general, yoga isn’t really a bad idea to complement lifting. @Activitiesguy and @The_Myth have more experience.

A lot of people have liked Thib’s Neural Charge work for active recovery. Basically low volume plyometrics with bodyweight, med balls, or O-lift variations.

Walking the dog is usually as close as I get to “active recovery”, or NEPA, or whatever term means moving around when I’m a little sore in order to get a little less sore.

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That’s a good point, I was looking at it from the lens that if it’s challenging my cardio then it doesn’t really count as recovery, it’s more of a workout. But a cardio workout (at least while I’m out of shape) could also serve as recovery for everything else

I’ve done one class, pretty sure it was Vinyasa based. It wasn’t in an actual studio though so the temps weren’t 90+ but I guess that’s supposed to help with the flexibility aspect. I was still dripping sweat in a 70 degree room.

With all the mention of walking in starting to think my warehouse job is great for active recovery for everything except my mid back

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Im actually doing some light farmers walk for medium distance on days off… love the extra traps/forearm stimulation and its a fun cardio since I hate regular one

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