When you’re in the zone, firing on all cylinders, it could be hard to take a step back from that. But then that opens you up to overtraining, which then opens you up to the dreaded burnout. Asking serious martial artists to take it easy is a challenge in and of itself.
While it’s so tempting to go hard every single day of the week, forego rest and recovery, and just tear up in the gym every chance you get, taking a breather is still very much a part of the winning formula. There are so many different benefits from ample rest and recovery that help a fighter perform at his or her best.
But that begs the question. What exactly do you do on your rest day? Do you slum it up on the couch and crack open a can of beer while eating hot wings? Do you binge on your favorite video game for hours on end? What do serious athletes do on days when they are supposed to be resting and recovering?
If you’re one to go hard in the gym, you certainly deserve a little relaxation time. But that relaxation time isn’t the same for casuals. It’s different for serious athletes, and we’re about to break that down.
Today, Evolve Daily shares six things serious martial artists do on their rest days.
1) Warm-up and cool-down
One thing you can do is just simply get moving. Get that heart rate up without really trying to overexert yourself. Just move around, stay warm, and get your blood circulating.
A common practice for serious athletes is doing their warm-up and cool-down sessions without the strenuous stuff in between. That means stretching, some light cardio, and a short HIIT session won’t hurt. The important thing is getting that blood flowing in your body. Blood heals and rebuilds everything that it touches because it carries oxygen and nutrients that your muscles need for repair.
Getting that blood moving through your veins will actually help you in your recovery.
2) Work on your skills
A lot of professionals use their rest days to put in some light skill work. Focusing on form and technique without breaking a sweat is common. And on rest days, you can even pay extra attention to the finer details of every technique.
All the little nuances of your discipline, whether that’s polishing up your roundhouse kick, making your boxing combinations sharper and more compact, or tightening your body triangle, it’s all good practice on a rest day — so long as you try not to overdo it.
This is the time you need to analyze your movement and technique and see where you can upgrade or improve ever so slightly.
3) Light bag work
Miss the feeling of hitting the pads? Light bag work is what a lot of serious practitioners turn to when they just can’t stay away from feeling that familiar impact. Lace up those gloves, touch the bags for a few rounds, and step away. Don’t get carried away and go all-out.
The trick is focusing on technique and every tiny little detail. Practice those movements and make them perfect. Move around, practice breathing. This is your chance to focus on just the finer details of your attacks.
4) Train your core
By the end of your regular workouts, you’re pretty much exhausted, leaving you little time to work on that all-important core. Core exercises are great for rest days because they don’t require too much intense cardio activity.
Take things slow and do very little. Do 10 crunches and stop. Plank for a minute. Just breathe deeply. Don’t over-exert yourself, or perform any explosive movements. Slowly work your core and build your strength. Make that thing rock hard.
5) Breathing exercises
Not many people train with breathing exercises, but it’s such a great addition to any training routine. It’s especially great for rest days where breathing can actually help you recover.
Of course, meditation is also a great way to practice breathing and get in tune with your soul. Light yoga has amazing benefits and can help you stretch your muscles and joints easily in a one-hour session.
Breathing and stretching are great for relaxing the body, as well as the mind.
Last but not least, every serious martial artist has to watch and study videos. It’s one of the most important things to do as a fighter in training.
Watch videos of upcoming opponents, more experienced fighters, those who have mastered techniques and gained the experience. Watch past fights and learn what you can from history. Watching videos is so underrated, and it’s one of the best ways you can spend your rest day.
Like watching Michael Jordan and trying to learn his moves to become a better basketball player, you can watch Mike Tyson to learn how to become a better boxer, or Nong-O Gaiyanghadao from the Evolve Fight Team to get better at Muay Thai, or Garry Tonon to enhance your leglock game.
Whichever way you choose to spend your rest day, spend it doing something productive.
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