T Nation

Who Does Active Recovery/Neural Charge Workouts?


I'm not really looking for advice or asking a specific question here. Just a question for discussion. Was wondering who actually does these workouts.

I'm a morning workout guy, but on my off days I occasionally go in for Active Recovery workouts. Not sure they do much for me though.

Anybody else do these on a regular basis?


I do them on sundays. I always feel alot better later that day and I mainly do it as a preset for the coming week of lifting. Just gives you time to play around with new exercises, not worry about PRs and weights, just have a good time doing some athletic shit like box jumps, cleans, snatches, push ups and so forth :slightly_smiling:


Do you do them on any other off days?


You mean to tell me that there's actually a fancy name for "going to the gym and fucking around"?

Wow maybe I won't feel so dumb when I'm wasting time in there if I can tell people I'm doing "active recovery" or charging my... neurons.... or something!


I have always used active recovery workouts. In some routines they are scheduled, in others they are 'as needed'.


^^ Blue Collar, do you do these on every off day or just once in a while?


^^ Blue Collar, do you do these on every off day or just once in a while? [/quote]

I wouldn't consider going to the gym and $%ck!@g around an active recovery workout. It wouldn't be an off day if you train, no training on an off day. Sometimes they are scheduled like the type of workouts that the 5/3/1 protocol calls a DeLoad. More often they are inserted when I fail to make a training target in two consecutive workouts (two chest workouts for example). There are several approaches I might use...a 20-25% reduction in the weight used with same # of sets and rep range; a 25-50% reduction in the reps with the same weight and number of sets; delete the top end set of each station; to name a few. I do not make wholesale changes to the routine, substitute exercises, or other such things. Active recovery workouts are used to create the opportunity to restore forward progression(worst case), or to avoid the stall entirely(best case). In the 5/3/1 situation all workouts are 'deloaded' in the same week. This is the easiest approach and is a component of most linear planning. The second example is more dynamic......a lifter may have several or no active recovery workouts in any training week.


Really ignorant post.

Anyways, I do do active recovery/deload sessions often. It wasn't until I started to incorporate these that I really noticed myself growing again.

I was too focused on the "kill, kill, kill" mind set that I wore myself out and plateaued for a long time. I think active recovery sessions where you are still training, but using lighter weight and not going to failure is a really good tool to keep from stalling and I use them frequently. I might train chest heavy every 2 weeks but in between those 2 weeks are 4 chest sessions. I often train delts every other day, but only hit them max effort once every two weeks. Guess what, I am strong as I have ever been, look my best and have gained more in the past 3 months than the previous year and active recovery sessions are one of the tools that helped me. I have yet in 3 months been unable to add substantial weight to a lift when it was time for a max effort, train all out to failure session. And I guarentee that I am stronger than the large majority of people on this board and bigger especially those that make fun of certain training methods.

I will say though, active recovery isn't going into the gym and "fucking around." If that's the case you're an idiot.


What I generally do is what CT described. Circuit of 3-4 exercises, 1-5 reps, explode explode explode.

That seems to be a little different from what Austin and BlueCollar are describing though.


Could you elaborate on that? Especially "only" training a bodypart heavy every two weeks....do you sort of ramp up in load over those two weeks, hit a PR, and then cycle back?


Ya know it's kind of hard to explain because I primarily train instinctively. I don't really believe in programs set in stone, but for instance I'll give you a basic breakdown of when I train chest and maybe it will be easier explained by a rough outline. I am more concerned with strength right now, but I am growing better than when I was doing 4 exercises 8-12 reps on a top set taken to failure.

Day 1 Heavy Bench/Max Effort day.

Bench Press

135 x 3
135 x 3
225 x 3
275 x 2
315 x 1

370 x 3 (or whatever weight) Now the top set usually is not taken to true failure for a few weeks. So maybe I started at a relatively easy 350 x 3 and worked up to 380 x 3 and when I begin to stall I will jump down to 360 x 3 and build back up past the 380...Doing those sets at 360 are not a waste of time because you are still lifting heavy and you are giving you nervous system ample time to recoup and allow you to lift more weight in the 6 weeks it takes to get up to 390 or whatever.


325 x 3
325 x 3 (I add 5 pounds every workout, started at 300 in Sepetember, still haven't hit failure on this)


285 x 3
285 x 3 (Same philosophy as CGBP)


BW x 25
BW x 25

Once you are warmed up, I don't believe on ramping on exercises following your first exercise, it's pointless unless it's a completely different movement.

Then I will

Deload Squats

So work up to 80% give or take of my 1RM and hit a triple

Deficit Deadlifts

Work up to an explosive triple focusing on pulling 60% give or take as fast as you can.

Throw in some pump work for biceps and triceps.

Day 4

It's now heavy deadlift and back day.

Speed squats.

Then deload bench

135 x 3
135 x 3
225 x 3
275 x 2
340 x 3 (Easy ass reps, I can nail this for 6)

Day 8

Heavy Squat and leg day

Heavy Rack pulls

Speed bench or explosive reps for 9 sets of about 60% or my 1 RM

Day 12 Repeat Max Effort heavy chest day and add more weight.

On days in between I hit all my other muscle groups, upper back, arms, delts, pump work. Ramping not only sets but workouts. Fucking starting light enough so I can keep adding 5 pounds to my lifts each week for months.

It works. I don't care what anyone says either, heavy ass weight for low reps builds muscle too. I am growing, I've lost like 30 pounds and only 1/4 inch off my arms which says I put on muscle while I cleaned up what I was eating, and in 3 months put 60 pounds on a deadlift triple, put like 30 pounds on my bench triple. I got my squat up, but I just recently started doing olympic ATG back and fronst squats so the numbers are kind of skewed now, but that's basically how I train.


That's exactly what I do.


Yeah, although I always preferred taking a friggin' stroll or swim or playing a game of handball or basketball at the park up the block. Far more convenient.


So, in a nutshell.

For BP, say I hit 300x3 wk 1, 310x3 wk 2, 280x6 deload. Or whatever. Then probably 310x3, 315x3, 290x6.

If I'm way off let me know and I'll re-read your post a little better.

But, what you do is a little different than what I was speaking of. Do you do any of the active recovery that CT recommended? I suppose with a method like you're currently using you don't need much more.


haha you said do do lol


lets take a more in depth look at whats going on here
symtom : tight muscles at the insertion/origin
remedy : active stretching and swelling the muscle full of blood allowing it to heal and increase ROM.

there are MANY ways to actively repair your muscles.
doing explosive concentric movements strictly fills the muscle with blood which is good not only for the feeling but also repair (blood carries all the nutrients needed to repair those broken actin and myosin fillaments)

once the muscle is full and pumped, it is CRUSCIAL to increase the RANGE OF MOTION of that joint. for example, i myself am in the process of grwoing into my perfect posture. if your not wure what that means its basically the hardest and most uncomforatable feeling ever. my front delts and pec major and tight, which means my rear delt, traps and middle back can not get a full contraction. openening the upper chest, and anterior delts allows my back to fire from spinal erractors all the way up to the back of my skull. the feeling of the spine tightening into position is incredible. if you have felt this intense muscle contraction you know what im talking about.

back on to topic, theres a lot of good in "repair" days.
your body is a machine and it needs mantainence.


370 x 3 day 1, 340 x 3 day 4, 205 + 2 Medium Bands x 3 day 8, 375 x 3 day 12 etc.

Nah, I don't do anything like someone prescribes, I just use other peoples ideas and apply them to myself. I never have seen CTs active recovery workouts so I am not sure what they are.


There's a difference between the active recovery that the OP is talking about and neural charge/deloads that other people are talking about.

Some people think of active recovery as being just the days off between lifting (cardio, or light lifting between workouts)

Whereas for others, it's a form of "recharging" and replacing a workout that would otherwise had been a max effort workout with a "light" workout (what A_bicep was talking about).


Okay thanks for clearing that up....Ed Coan did that shit too. Someone told me he might of been on to something there...lol


Lol I'd be lying if I said that my program wasn't partially inspired by Coan's training.