Exercise and Recovery

The Best Ways to Exercise and Recover

I started playing competitive sports in the third grade, and over the next 45 years, I have had to learn some things about exercise the hard way. You shouldn’t have to. I have two issues when it comes to exercise. First, I have rheumatoid arthritis. Consequently, I need to do as few exercises as possible and it really isn’t good for me to use heavy weights. My shoulders are especially sensitive. Second, I have Overtraining Syndrome. Therefore, I have to restrict my workouts to twice a week or face the wrath of muscle cramps and severe fatigue. So, this is what I found.


First, let’s understand what exercise does. You exercise. Your body adapts to the exercise. Your body should make itself more efficient in one way or another in response to your specific exercise — that’s important — your specific exercise.

Next, you need to understand that not everyone responds to exercise in the same way. Genetics plays a huge role. Dr. Michael Mosley interviewed Prof Jamie Timmons at the University of Birmingham who said that some individuals simply don’t respond to exercise — 20% of people in their study of 1000 subjects over four years. Their bodies don’t adapt (Mosely, 2012). However, about 15% of people are super responders. Researchers revealed that there are eleven genes involved in how the body responds to exercise and they have a genetics test that will predict how well someone responds to exercise (Mosely, 2012).

The red represents people who don’t respond to exercise and the green represents super responders to exercise, and everyone in between. (Mosely, 2012)

The Best Exercises

This is the simple part. According to Physics Girl, the best exercises are…

Pulse exercises

Pulse exercises are best done to the point of maximum contraction. For example, if you’re performing a bent tricep extension, from a bent arm position, you would straighten your arm so that the tricep is fully contracted and then drop the weight down only about 3 to 4 inches and then straighten it out again. For chest, a fly machine works great. Remember you want to stay near the peak contraction of the muscle. Here are some examples.

Below is an example of an exercise that features both a pulse and a catch.

Catching exercises.

Not baseball catching, but catching some weight. You can catch your own weight or a medicine ball. (Cowern, 2019) I do catching when I do boxing situps. Instead of dropping all the way down to the floor, I catch myself halfway down and then back up.

The Modified Seven Minute Workout using pulse and catch.

Jumping jacks.
Drop wall sit. Sit then drop down further, catch yourself, and back up. 
Pulse push up. 
Pulse abdominal crunch.
Step down off of a chair.
Drop squat
Pulse tricep dip off of a chair. 
High knees running in place.
Pulse lunges.
Pushup and rotation.
Pulse side plank. 
(Reynolds, 2013)


The second part of exercise is recovery. Recovery is when the body adapts to the exercise. You need to give your body enough time to adapt.

Recovery Advice

  • Sleep is the best recovery — ten hours.
  • Rest is the second-best recovery.
  • Listen to your body and don’t obsess about not working out. More isn’t better.
  • Cold slows down recovery.
  • Drink if you’re thirsty. Don’t drink if you’re not.
  • Most recovery tricks or gimmicks haven’t been proven to be effective.

(Aschwanden, 2019)


Aschwanden, Christie. (2019). Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery (1st Edition). W. W. Norton & Company.

Cowern, Diana [Physics Girl]. (2019). Testing what exercise actually does to your butt [Youtube video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh8Yd0mQnB8

Reynolds, Gretchen. (2013). The Scientific 7-Minute Workout. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/the-scientific-7-minute-workout/

Mosley, Michael. (2012). Can three minutes of exercise a week help make you fit? BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/health-17177251

Rushall, Brent. (1996). Specificity of training. Coaching Science Abstracts. Retrieved fromhttps://coachsci.sdsu.edu/csa/vol12/table.htm

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