I previously introduced the concept of recovery workouts and explained how they can improve your long-term health and fitness success. If you read that or similar articles, you already know why they are important. This article goes a step further and gets into more of the practical information and explains how to design recovery workouts and incorporate them into your overall training program.
As with all forms of exercise, the use of recovery workouts varies from person to person and is influenced by your overall program goals, current physical fitness, genetics, and the overall demand you put on your body. Therefore, you can have many different types of recovery workouts, depending on the situation. I previously stated that recovery workouts can also be regularly scheduled into your workout plan, but explaining that would involve discussing all the specifics in an entire workout plan, so for now I will focus on explaining how to add recovery workouts to your existing exercise program.
There are basically two different ways to incorporate recovery workouts into an existing program and you can use either or both ways, depending on your particular needs. The first way is simply to replace an existing workout with a recovery one. The second way is to keep all your existing workout schedule the same and add recovery workouts on top of your current routine. Each approach can be useful, but one approach will work better than the other in certain situations.
When replacing an existing workout with a recovery one, you are essentially causing a small decrease in exercise volume (total amount of work performed) and ultimately lowering the overall difficulty of your exercise routine. This can be a good thing if you do many challenging workouts in a week, especially if you find yourself getting run down or experiencing higher than normal amounts of muscle soreness and stiffness. On the other hand, if your routine is not very demanding, decreasing the overall volume and difficulty could be a bad thing, particularly if your body is not being challenged enough by your regular workouts.