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Big Man On Campus Week 1, Day 7

Fuel your muscle-building goals with a day of active rest. Get big and stay shredded with these recovery options!

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Big Man on Campus is all about building muscle. Active rest may seem counterproductive to this goal, but it can help boost your gains by spurring recovery, improving cardiovascular endurance, increasing blood flow and enhancing overall conditioning.

Active rest is also a perfect way to do something social, healthy and fun.

The Choice Is Yours

Today, you have the power. Active rest should be fun and engaging, so the activity is up to you. Pick something you love and hit it for 30-to-60 minutes.

I like to stay out of the gym on my active rest day, but feel free to hit the treadmill, work on a lagging body part, or bust out a full-body pump workout.

Here are some guidelines for each of those options:


Go hiking, swimming, or skiing; play a sport like flag football or pick-up basketball; or study on the treadmill if you need to kill two birds with one stone. Whatever activity you choose, aim for 30-to-60 minutes of medium-intensity cardiovascular exercise.

Aim for 30-60 minutes of medium-intensity cardiovascular exercise.
Aim for 30-60 minutes of medium-intensity cardiovascular exercise.

Lagging Body Part

If you're looking for an alternative to cardio, use today to bring up a lagging body part. If you've got a particularly stubborn spot, head to the gym and hit it with extra focus.

Don't go overboard: Train the lagging body part with 3-to-4 exercises, 3 sets per exercise, and roughly 10 reps per set. Get a solid pump, but don't exhaust yourself. Remember, you're back in the gym tomorrow.

Full-Body Workout

If you can't resist the iron, try a full-body "pump" workout. Choose a fairly light weight, keep your rest times low, and hit your entire body. Don't lift as heavy as possible. Keep yourself metabolically active.

Think of this workout as a combination of resistance training and cardio. Circuit training is perfect for active rest, or try the sample workout below.

Day 7: Active rest workout

Barbell Squat

3 sets of 6-8 reps
Barbell Squat Barbell Squat


Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip

3 sets of 8-10 reps
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip


Bent Over Barbell Row

3 sets of 8-10 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row Bent Over Barbell Row


Dumbbell Shoulder Press

3 sets of 8-10 reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press Dumbbell Shoulder Press


Leg Extensions

2 sets of 10-12 reps
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions


Lying Leg Curls

2 sets of 10-12 reps
Lying Leg Curls Lying Leg Curls


Barbell Curl

2 sets of 10-12 reps
Barbell Curl Barbell Curl


Side Lateral Raise

2 sets of 10-12 reps
Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise

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