Happy Thursday to you,
Well Autumn has finally arrived, our log burner has been lit and the days are getting shorter.
This is my favourite time of year to exercise and get work done 🙂
I’ve completed 2 kettlebell workouts this week, had a row and been for a nice long morning walk.
I use long walks as a way to rest and recover while at the same time keeping things active. In the fitness world we call it ‘active recovery’.
Let’s take a further look at rest and recovery…
Rest and recovery
Rest is just as important as exercise and your requirements for rest proportionally increase the more active you are.
- Hard / Intense workouts need more rest days
- Easy / lighter workouts need less rest days
So if you lift heavy weights to failure for 1 hour you will need more rest days than if you lift lighter weights for 10 minutes.
So in answer to a very common question: “How often should I workout?”
The answer will always depend on how long / hard your workouts are.
The problem is, everyone recovers from exercise differently based on a number of personal factors including: age, genetics, experience, nutrition, daily job etc.
So when you are young you can exercise hard 5 or even 6 times per week but that all changes as you get older and recovery slows down.
Finding an intensity balance
A good way to approach workouts and rest is to think of exercise on a scale of 1 to 10.
- 1 = very easy / relaxing (eg. mobility warm up)
- 3 = easy (eg. long walk)
- 5 = moderate (eg. yoga class)
- 7 = challenging (eg. light kettlebell circuit)
- 10 = very hard / intense (eg. 300 kettlebell challenge)
Now based on the above intensity levels you can work on balancing your week so you do not overload yourself.
Here’s an example week:
- Monday – demanding kettlebell workout (9)
- Tuesday – yoga class (5)
- Wednesday – long walk (3)
- Thursday – light kettlebell circuit (7)
- Friday – steady rowing (6)
- Saturday – mobility practice (1)
- Sunday – gentle swim (4)
I have many weeks exactly like the one above.
It’s important to stay flexible so if you feel tired one day then dial down the intensity, conversely if you are brimming with energy do more.
Listening to your body is key and learning when to push and when to relax is only something you can discover for yourself.
4 Minute kettlebell workouts
I often get asked if 4 minutes is really enough.
My philosophy for short workouts is all based around getting more workouts completed more often.
There is nothing worse for your body than doing nothing all day other than sitting.
As I have highlighted above shorter less intense workouts would fit into the bracket of 5 to 7 so you can usually get away with 3 – 5 per week.
You can always make them more intense by adding more weight or by repeating them but ultimately they allow you time to recover.
Little and often wins the health and fitness race every time 🙂
I encourage you to think about your week of activity.
How intense is each workout? Could you do less intense activities more often and balance intensity with more active recovery?
Here’s a 4 minute full body workout from my 50 kettlebell circuits:
- One arm swing x 30 secs each side
- Reverse lunge with rotation x 30 secs each side
- Clean x 30 secs each side
- One arm squat and press x 30 secs each side
Challenge your entire body and cardio with the above 4 kettlebell exercises.
Perform each movement one after the next without putting the kettlebell down or taking a rest.
After the 4 minutes you can take a 1 – 2 minute rest and repeat if you have the energy.
This weeks question:
Q. “Need some advice on the racked position. I was able to do the racked squat and reverse lunge and helped bear the weight on my arm with my free hand, but I still ended up with slight bruises on the tops of my wrists. Please help.”
A. The racked position is a crucial holding position when kettlebell training. The kettlebell should be held in one hand with the kettlebell resting on the forearm and against the chest. The elbow should be tucked in and the wrist straight.
Bruising on the wrist is usually caused by either poor wrist position (keep it straight) or bad kettlebell design. Poorly designed kettlebells have inadequate spacing between the handle and the kettlebell body resulting in the kettlebell pinching the wrist rather than resting on the forearm.
If this is the case then your kettlebell will probably be OK for swings, and holding the kettlebell with 2 hands (goblet squats etc.) but any overhead work or the racked position will cause problems.
You can try wearing sweat bands, like tennis players wear, to temporarily alleviate the problem.
I’ve written a complete article on buying kettlebells for when stocks get replenished worldwide.
I hope this helps.
P.S. Monday I’ll be re-releasing my 21 follow along workout DVD for a few days only so if you are interested look out for that email.