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.
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.
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.