Today I want to talk about the best off-day workouts you can do between hard sessions of Turbulence Training. In most cases, simply walking, biking, hiking, stretching/easy yoga, are all good enough off-day activities.
Doing 500 kettlebell swings and 200 pushups on an off-day might be fine once in a while for an advanced person, but in reality, that is not an off-day. That’s a workout.
The true purpose of off-day activity is:
1) For health (if your life is sedentary, i.e. desk job + commute + sitting down leisure time), then you simply need to get up and get moving for 30 minutes each day at a minimum.
If you are a manual laborer who walks 3+ miles per day or does 1+ hour of moderate activity (lifting boxes, etc), then you really don’t need to obsess about off-day activity – stretching, foam rolling and massage, and meditation are probably best for your health.
We’re not trying workout on our off-days. We’re just trying to improve our general health and well-being.
2) Mobility (aka TT Yoga) – In many cases, we can do low-intensity bodyweight exercises and mobility drills to fix our bodies. This includes foam rolling, simple torso (ab endurance exercises), shoulder mobility drills, hip mobility drills, moderate bodyweight exercises, and stretching.
This will not qualify as a workout, but will get you a bit of a sweat going. Combined with walking, some mobility exercises – such as those found in my “Old Man Warm-Up” would be an excellent way to spend 45 minutes each day.
3) Enhanced recovery from past workouts and preparation for future workouts – same movements as above but this is a different benefit.
By doing light activity, we get blood flow to the sore areas and this might help recovery, decreasing soreness and getting us ready for our next training session.
4) Social time with family and friends and errands – Incorporate light activity into your daily life. Take the dog for a longer walk, meet your friends for a walk, play extra long with the kids outside, or do your errands by foot rather than by car. Heck, walk around a shopping mall and people watch.
5) Relaxation – Unplug. Go for a walk without a phone, ipod, or in my case, a portable CD player. Yes, I have one and I use it regularly. Let your mind wander as your body wanders.
So please post your off day activities below. I’ll start with my “Old Man Warm-up” that I do almost every day. It lasts about 25 minutes, and I’ve added a few other movements that I didn’t do to give you a little extra sweat without adding to overuse injury or stealing from your recovery.
And always remember: Off-day doesn’t = Workout..
The Old-Man Warm-Up/Off-Day Activity Session
1) Foam rolling: Upper back, lats, upper back/posterior deltoid, TFL, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, adductors, hamstrings, glutes
My favorite new tool for this is the Travel Roller from www.fitter1.com
2) Acuball rolling: calves, glute, biceps (i have a sore left biceps).
This takes about 5-10 minutes. I’ll make a video of 1 & 2 soon. Then I move into a bodyweight circuit.
3) Cross-body arms (also called X’s in some manuals)
4) Bodyweight squat
5) Bird Dog or Bird Dog with Leg Abduction
6) Glute squeeze
7) Plank or side plank or ball plank or bird-dog plank 8, Band pull (done 4 times at various points in circuit)
9) Overhead lunge (using broomstick)
10) 1-Leg RDL
12) Chest stretch, shoulder stretch
13) Psoas/hip flexor stretch
14) Downward dog stretch (hips up position)
15) Cossack lunge
16) Yoga Pigeon stretch
17) Stability Ball Leg Curl – 10 reps
18) Pushup – 25% of max reps
19) 1-leg lying hip extension
20) Chin-up – 25% of max reps
21) Spiderman Climb with 3-second hold at top
22) Forearm stretches
23) Neck/trap stretches
24) Leg swings
25) Total Body Extension – 10 reps
I hope this off-day activity guide clarifies the purpose and recommendations for these days.
Add a little gratitude and meditation for bonus karmic points and you’ll feel like you’ve done something without doing too much.
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Certified Turbulence Trainer
PS – And yes…
The Old-Man Warm-Up is an equal opportunity warm-up.
It works just as well no matter your gender, age, race, national origin, dog ownership choice, sneaker brand allegiance, political affiliation or belief.
The Old-Man Warm-Up also prohibits discrimination against lesser warm-ups, such as the “just go in and start bench pressing 135lbs warm-up”, “warmups done by bodybuilders in those funny clownworkout pants”, or “warmups done on a treadmill while trying to read the paper – seriously”.