What is the most important day of the week for an athlete? Well, if you are a weekend warrior or that guy that only hits up the gym one day a week, you might say bench press day. And while those guys may call themselves athletes, this question is more directed toward people who are actually committed to their training and wish to increase their athletic performance.
Ok, now that we are done picking on the tank top and jeans guys, what day is the most important for your training success? While this question is highly debatable and the real answer may depend on your training style and sport, there is one day that should not be overlooked. That day is rest day.
While your rest day may not be the most important aspect of your training, it should definitely not be overlooked. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild and failure to allow this recovery can actually end up hindering your training results. But before we get to recovery, let’s ask ourselves an important question.
What is the human body capable of?
When it comes to training, what is the human body actually capable of? While we may not know the limits of what the human body can do in terms of performance, we can see what others have been able to achieve. At one extreme look at professional strong men who live for pushing themselves mentally and physically throwing around extremely heavy things. Now, take a look at athletes such as Olympic sprinters who focus on running incredibly fast.
Basically, you can look at professional athletes in any sport and the training they do to give you an idea of what we know the human body is capable of. Most of these athletes have pushed themselves for years through their training. Using another example, Olympic weightlifters have been known to train 6 days a week for multiple hours per day.
While many of us may not be genetically configured to compete in either competitive strong man or Olympic spiriting and lifting, our bodies still have potential to greatly excel athletically. And it is your job to find what your body is capable of.
Now that you have an idea of what the human body is capable of, ask yourself how much rest you should be giving your body. That answer lies within your body’s capabilities, your fitness level and the type of training you are doing. It is best to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs while still pushing it to grow and adapt through training.
One rule of thumb that you can usually count on is to get take at least one rest day per week. Some training regimens, or you personally, may require more rest but taking at least one day per week to let your body and mind recover is a good rule to stick by.
Ultimately, you are the judge of your rest days. Take some time to get to know your body and how it reacts to certain types of training. It may take time but truly understanding these reactions will allow you to tailor your training, resulting in success in your sport. Plan your rest accordingly and you will be well on your way toward that success.