One statement we hear all the time is that we need to rest muscles after working out. But what does rest mean? How do we rest? Which exercises need rest and which don’t?
Before we begin looking at why we need to rest after workouts, let’s look at what’s happening in the muscles when we exercise.
There are two kinds of muscle fibers that co-exist in all our voluntary muscles; they are commonly known as type 1 and type 2. (OK, so obviously whichever scientist discovered these didn’t have much an imagination). Right now, we’re going to look at the Type 1 fibers, and tomorrow I’ll tackle the Type 2. After that, we put it all together to see why rest is important.
Type One muscle fibers are also known as “slow twitch” fibers. Although these are thin fibers, there are a lot of them in any muscle. These fibers use oxygen when they’re working – and they work a lot! These muscle fibers work to hold us up when we’re sitting, to keep us erect when we’re standing. These are also the first muscle fibers engaged when we’re doing a cardio workout.
But because these muscle fibers are used so much, we also use them quite efficiently.
Think of how a car engine works. There are 4, 6 maybe 8 cylinders. They do not all fire at once.