Get up off the floor! Laying down isn’t a workout recovery.

Make your body stronger than your ego and GET UP.

This is NOT a workout recovery.One of my big pet peeves when I observe people training at gyms is self aggrandizement. Constantly looking at yourself in the mirror (while somehow never managing to correct the horrible form) is one obvious form of preening. But another one, that actually annoys me even more, is people laying around on the gym floor as their workout recovery because their workout was “so hard, bro.”

Get over yourself.

As if that weren’t annoying enough, there’s the smug trainer who struts around his clients as if to let everyone know how awesome a trainer he is because his clients are laying on the ground panting. If you were really a great trainer, you’d be teaching your clients how to RECOVER from high exertion.

Get over yourself.

Let’s look at this buffoonery in context of REAL maximal efforts.

Floyd Mayweather is a champion because he knows how to recover.On May 3, 2014 boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr fought Marcos Maidana . In total he threw 426 punches, landing 230. This while constantly dancing and defending. Full intensity, 3 minute rounds of CHAMPIONSHIP professional boxing at it’s highest level. After 10 rounds, Mayweather had thrown  345 punches and been hit 189 times. One Hundred Eighty Nine! Yikes! At the end of what was no doubt an exhausting round, did Mayweather lay down in the middle of the ring panting and over exhibiting to the everyone how hard he worked? Of course not! He’s a champion. He’s a champion partially because he knows how to recover.

Do you really think your little gym workout was more intense than a Floyd Mayweather boxing match???

Hint: it wasn’t.

How about the effort of an offensive lineman in an NFL game?

In an average NFL game there are 133 plays from scrimmage. On every one of those plays, an offensive lineman has to exert maximal effort against an equally determined and powerful defensive lineman or linebacker. That’s a brutal workload. How much of a workload?

So in a single exertion, Joe Staley produces 12,000 watts of power. Multiply that by the 66 average offensive plays per game and he produced 792,000 watts of power. Did Joe lay on his back huffing and puffing during plays in the 4th quarter? Of course not! He’d have never made the team if he couldn’t continue to contribute late in a game. Do you really believe your kipping pull ups and wall ball throws produced that much power?

Hint: they didn’t.

What about the mental aspect of a workout recovery?

As I’ve talked about before, what you do at the gym teaches your body how to respond to work and efforts when you’re not at the gym. It’s a controlled environment to learn: learn how to generate power, learn how to stabilize your joints, learn how to coordinate motions across multiple joints and body segments.That’s why form is so important when exercising. In the gym, it’s a controlled setting and you can make all your motions as structurally correct and ergonomically efficient as possible. In the real world, that isn’t always, or even frequently, going to be the case. That’s why we train, so we can control ourselves as effectively as possible when we don’t have control over the environment.

This same principal is at play when dealing with workout recovery. Why do you think Mayweather and Staley can continue to put forth such power and effort throughout an entire bout or game? Because they’ve trained themselves HOW TO RECOVER, too. And I can guarantee, there was nothing in their training program that said “Lay on floor panting.”

Putting out a tremendous physical effort for a sustained period of time and staying on your feet, walking it off and even listening to direction for the next play from scrimmage… the ability to perform at this level is not just physical, there is a mental toughness and resiliency to be able to master your mind and body to continue.

Every time you lay on the floor, you give that up. You acquiesce. You fail a little bit. Workout – 1, you – 0.

Is that why you go to the gym? To fail?

And there’s also positive physical benefits from a proper workout recovery.

Venous return is the blood flow back to the heart from the appendages. To quote “During exercise, the rhythmic pump of your muscles facilitates venous return by forcing blood through the one-way valves that lead to the heart.” The pumping of your muscles is accomplished through movement, through the rhythmic contraction and relaxation of your muscles, especially those in the legs. If you’re laying on the ground being a drama queen, your muscles aren’t working. They aren’t contracting and relaxing and they’re not assisting the pumping of blood back to the heart. Especially after an particularly difficult set or workout, you want as much blood going back to your heart as possible to rid your body of the waste products (lactic acid and CO2) that were produced because of your of muscular exertion.

So GET UP! Keep moving, keep walking.

Assist your body in eliminating waste products. Learn how to recover from heavy exertion. Learn How To Breathe! Because how you recover from a workout matters just as much as the rest of the workout. Period.


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