Everyone deserves a rest.
But a rest day isn’t the same as a complete rest. This isn’t a day to snooze on the sofa, eat cheat food and watch Netflix. There’s still work to be done.
In this article, we take a look at how to do maximize your rest days so that you’re making gains even when you’re not going hard at it.
It’s rare that you’ll find an athlete who considers a rest day to be a complete rest day.
Instead, a legit rest day consists ofsome exercises.
And one of the best things you can do to kickstart your day is to stretch.
A 15-30 minute stretching routine in the morning is essential on rest days as it will loosen up your muscles so that they don’t become too tight.
Who’s tough enough for an ice bath?
Admit it - you raised your hand nervously.
An ice bath reduces swelling and inflammation. And while they’re not as relaxing as a hot bubble bath, I’ve gotta reiterate that a fighter’s rest day is a bit different to, say, a footballer’s wives rest day ;)
An ice bath will give you a shock at first, but once you’ve got past the first 2-3 minutes, your body will eventually settle down.
Yep, you can (and should) still do some bag work on your rest day. You don’t need to bring your gloves, just your fists will do. Work on your technique, take it slow, pay attention to each micro movement. Breathe, move around but don’t overdo it. Take it easy.
This one might seem like a bit of advice straight out of left-field.
Juggling is a fun, low-intensity exercise that’s more mental than physical. It helps fighters maximize their rest days because it helps you improve your hand-eye coordination, timing and focus without demanding anything of you physically.
Plus, it’s an extra skill to add to your repertoire.
Not sure how to juggle? Go here for a crash course.
What do tennis players, footballers and NBA stars do in their free time?
Lots of things. But one of the things they absolutely do is they analyse the performances of their peers.
And this is what you can do as a fighter.
Put some time aside to watch other fighters in action on YouTube. Take note of their movements, their footwork, their technique.
If you’ve got time, get yourself down to the gym and watch how other fighters train and prepare. See what others are doing and see what you can learn from them.
Many fighters ignore their injuries, presumably because they simply don’t have enough time to tend to them.
But this is what a rest day can be here for - to give you the time to tend to any niggling injuries you’ve picked up lately. Maybe you need to ice a part of your body or strap a shoulder up. Or, a rest could even give you the chance to take yourself to a medical professional and get things checked out. It’s just a case of looking after yourself properly and preventing things going wrong the next time you train or fight.
“Rest days” are often just another way of saying that a fighter is still going hard - just notas hard. We never really take days off, but it’s important that you reduce the pressure you put on your body and your mind on your rest days.
In order to maximize your rest days so that you’re still making improvements without burning out, use the tips in this article. Look after yourself, heal - but still put the work in.