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  • Recovery from Squats

    I have just started training with 20-rep sets of squats about three months ago. I really enjoy the challenge and have seen many benefits, but I wonder if my recovery time could improve or lessen the pain. I find myself nearly unable to walk or climb stairs for a couple of days following a training session, and sometimes have to wait 5-6 days before feeling ready to squat again. I also find myself sleeping much more. Part of the slow recovery may be my age, I am 47 years old, but I am inquiring if there other activities that could help. I have read Super Squats which recommends lots of rest and no other activities (Does this recommendation include no grip training or conditioning exercises?), but does anyone have a recommendation of a particular stretch, an active recovery activity such as an easy jog, or any diet supplement or other food that would help? Thank you for any advice.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Greg Ariza View Post
    I have just started training with 20-rep sets of squats about three months ago. I really enjoy the challenge and have seen many benefits, but I wonder if my recovery time could improve or lessen the pain. I find myself nearly unable to walk or climb stairs for a couple of days following a training session, and sometimes have to wait 5-6 days before feeling ready to squat again. I also find myself sleeping much more. Part of the slow recovery may be my age, I am 47 years old, but I am inquiring if there other activities that could help. I have read Super Squats which recommends lots of rest and no other activities (Does this recommendation include no grip training or conditioning exercises?), but does anyone have a recommendation of a particular stretch, an active recovery activity such as an easy jog, or any diet supplement or other food that would help? Thank you for any advice.
    Greg -

    I am a big believer in active rest and using complementary forms of training to facilitate recovery so when you're doing these for something other than the standard SUPER SQUATS focus on bulking up as quickly as possible, I would definitely recommend something like running/jogging/walking on the non-squat days . . . good for your health, too. Stretching both pre and post training will also help, and include stretching on your non-squat days as well.

    Give this a try and I would bet that you'll be squatting more often, more productively and with less muscular soreness after training.

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    • #3
      1) Kudos on being a modern day warrior and training with the Super Squats program

      2) If you are doing a session every 2 days (example: Mon, Thurs, Sun, Weds, Sat, and so on), you could train the upper body movements each time normally, but only do the big 20rep squats every other session. On the days that you do NOT do the big 20 rep set, you could do light squats for 3 sets of 3. I would go something like 50% x 3, 55% x 3, and 60% x 3. This squatting should actually feel therapeutic once you get going. Warm up plenty, get stretched out, and take the sets seriously for best results.

      Keep us posted on how you do going forward!
      Last edited by Paul D Mouser; 09-10-2014, 06:03 PM. Reason: typo

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      • #4
        Thank you for the great ideas. I split the Super Squat routine in half, working out on Mon/Tue, running on Wed. (barely), work again Thu/Fri., and "real-world" conditioning on Sat.: sled pulling, hammer and tire, stone spider, ladder, heavy jump rope. I am also working on the CTD challenge and work on that Tue/Thu/Sat evenings. I warm up with agility drills and stretch before bed with a rope and form roller. I want to weight 240 from my current 225 and reach the corresponding strength levels. That is my physical goal. I really enjoy this program for developing the mental skills that Dr. Strossen writes about: confidence, goal-setting, etc. I enjoy all of this activity but when I can barely walk, I wonder if I should congratulate myself for hard work or determine if I am doing something wrong. Maybe I should not run, condition, or grip work for a short time. Perhaps I should not split the routine and move to a 2-day rotation, I have never tried that. Thank you again.

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        • #5
          I would say that recovery has a lot to do with how hard you are working and how used your body is to the exercise you are doing. In the earlier stages of my training I began by working the whole body three times a week at moderate intensity, finding that gradually my recovery improved and I was able to perform at higher intensity more often. However, since I am now capable of lifting four times as much weight as I could when I began training on many exercises my recovery has not improved in a corresponding manner. In other words I now work much harder when I train, cause more tissue damage and therefore require much more recovery time. The main consideration in advanced training is the health of your joints and connective tissues, which recover more slowly than muscles. Even when recovery aids are used to allow muscles to recover faster you still run the risk of causing permanent damage to the underlying structures.
          There are Olympic weightlifters who train three times a day and do squats many times but most of these actually have rather short careers whereas the true goal of training is to be strong and healthy way into old age. I have personally met men in their 40's, 50's and 60's who are still very strong because they have not abused their bodies quite so much as is the general norm. Despite all of Paul Anderson's achievements he did end up needing two hip replacements whereas Doug Hepburn was still lifting at the age of 70.
          Personally I would recommend that (assuming you are trained to the level where you are ready to tackle 20 rep squats productively and are working at maximum intensity) you perform this exercise no more than once per week. Active rest is ok but certainly avoid anything that will aggravate the joints too much. Moderate biking would be a far better alternative to running during those first couple of days after performing the squats. By all means do plenty of stretching. It is far better to train with weights less often and recover fully to ensure longevity, while other forms of training can fill the gap to ensure all round health and fitness. I hope this is helpful.

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          • #6
            Can't emphasize enough Randall's suggestion of active rest!

            Also... one method I have found useful is oddly enough more squats... For example, the day after a 20 rep season, take that same weight and perform 5x5. it won't be that taxing, but will get blood flowing into the area.

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            • #7
              Thank you for your additional suggestions. Switched from the 20-rep set to a 5 x5 program for a few weeks; and now am starting 20-rep set again, this time the abbreviated program as described in SUPER SQUATS. I have been recovering better and squatting 20-rep sets on Monday and Friday. I used the 5x5 today as Todd suggested. I hope using the 20-rep set more frequently will lead to more productive training. I tolerate the soreness because I believe in the program. Please keep suggestions coming!!

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              • #8
                2 suggestions that may help:

                1) Soft tissue work prior to the session ie. massage, lacrosse ball use, foam rolling, etc. Do this as part of your warmup.

                2) Cold bath immediately following the session. You don't need to fill your tub with ice, but run cold water only and submerse yourself in it deep enough that it covers your thighs, glutes, and lower back. Do this for 10-15min, then take your normal shower with only mildly warm water.

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