• Restoration: What Is It? And Why Should I Include It In My Workout?

    Restoration: What Is It? And Why Should I Include It In My Workout?

    What is the difference between Rest and Restoration?

    There is a big difference between REST and RESTORATION. Both are equally important when working towards any exercise related goal. Both rest and restoration are crucial when trying to enhance performance within the gym. REST is generally classed as sleep and important time taken not exercising and allowing our body to recover from a week of hard workouts. Restoration however is something very different. The purpose of restoration is to help repair the muscles you have worked, rebalance your body’s hormones and help your nervous system and mental state recover. Rest in the form of relaxation and sleep is very important in helping your body recover and rejuvenate but restoration takes that extra step to ensure your body and mind rebalances in order to help you achieve your goals.

    What is Restoration?

    Restoration involves any type of exercise at a low intensity, but one that’s high enough to encourage blood flow. By encouraging blood flow to the muscles you have damaged we allow enzymes in the body that break down muscle to clear from our body reducing muscular damage and reducing muscular fatigue. This leads to a reduced level of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and helps us recover at a quicker rate. DOMS is caused by a build up of lactic acid in the muscles during exercise without oxygen (anaerobic). Restoration work helps to clear that lactic acid build up and prevent DOMS. Restoration not only helps to reduce soreness after a workout it also helps improve mobility and flexibility.

    Where in my programme should I implement restoration?

    The most important thing to do is to ensure you are participating in some sort of restoration work after each workout. This means ensuring you cool down with some light cardio work after a session in the gym. Based on personal experience I have always worked best with 3 lifting days, 2 restoration days and then maybe a short high intensity cardio workout and a rest day. A weekly workout plan may look like this:

    Monday: Intense Resistance Training


    Tuesday: Restoration – Sled pulls and stretching



    Thursday: Restoration – Prowler and stretching


    Friday: Intense Resistance Training


    Saturday: ½ hr of interval training


    Sunday: Rest

    What can I do for restoration?

    There are many things you do in the gym for restoration. Personally I like to stay away from the cardio section of the gym as I like to include something different in my programme to keep my body guessing and to keep me mentally challenged.

    – The prowler is a great piece of equipment for restoration and there is no need to add any extra weight to it. The prowler is particularly good at increasing blood flow in the legs so I would suggest using it after your leg workout. I spend 20 minutes pushing the prowler up and down the track with no weight. Your heart rate will increase to the required rate and you will encourage blood flow around the body.

    Med Ball Work – Using the med balls is a great way of not only increasing blood flow through the body but also improving mobility and motor skills. A typical med ball workout for restoration would be:

    5 reps x 4 rounds using a 3kg med ball:
    • Slams
    • Overhead throws
    • Left and right rotations
    • Left and right diagonal throws

    Sled Work – Using the sled is another great way of introducing restoration to your working week. The sled can be used for a full body restoration workout. The movement in a sled workout is primarily concentric movements (the upward phase of contraction that causes the muscle to shorten.) The use of concentric movements means that there is no eccentric resistance (the downward phase of contraction that causes the muscle to lengthen under tension) to tear the muscle fibres further. This means you can increase the load of the workout without causing further damage to your muscles whilst improving restoration further. A typical sled workout would be:

    8 reps x 4 rounds using a 5kg plate on the sled:
    • Chest Press
    • Rows
    • Walking Lunge
    • Tricep Extension
    • Bicep Curl

    Contrast Showers, Sauna & Steam – A contrast shower is an effective and efficient way to aid your recovery. The more rigorous your training the more beneficial the shower will be. The idea is to stand under the shower and change the water from hot to cold. The theory is you want to get the blood flowing with warm water as this causes the blood vessels to open and flush the body with blood. You then switch to cold which drives the blood inwards to warm and protect the organs from the cold. You then repeat this process for at least 6 sets. This process helps reduce DOMS by reducing the amount of lactate in the blood and inflamed muscle. It is also believed that contrast showers are capable of detoxing the body and making the organs work better due to the blood being forced into them from the cold water. The contraction and dilation of the blood vessels will also rid your body of toxins. You can also implement this routine using a sauna or steam room. You can relax in the sauna allowing your blood vessels to dilate and then jump in a cold shower and repeat this process. Winners 2000 offers sauna and steam facilities at all 3 sites inclusive with your membership. If you would like any information or help with contrast therapy whilst visiting one of our clubs do not hesitate to ask a member of staff.

    In conclusion if you are working your body at a high rate through out the week it is important to let it recover in order to achieve maximal results. Adding restoration to your programme is a great way to speed up the recovery process. The basic premise of restoration is that you partake in low intensity exercise never allowing your heart rate to rise above 55-60% of its max rate. To make it easier, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being very easy and 10 being high effort with breathlessness and sweat, you should be aiming for about a 6 for effort. Restoration does not need to be hours of low intensity cardio it can be done within 30-40 minutes. Remember the aim is to encourage blood flow around the body in order to flush out the lactic acid that you have built up during your lifting days. Think outside the box, do something that isn’t on your programme already, keep your workouts varied and then you will begin to look forward to your restoration days despite them not being a maximum effort workout.

    For more info on adding restoration into your weekly gym programme contact me at leanne@winners2000.co.uk