What is the best way to recover from a high-intensity workout that leaves you feeling like a truck ran over you? Many people take it easy and let nature take its course, while others continue training hard and work through the pain.
A study led by Akihiro Sakamoto from the Tokyo Institute of Technology found that continued hard training after an intense workout did not speed recovery or make muscle soreness worse. Untrained males performed 30 maximal isokinetic eccentric contractions of the biceps, designed to produce severe muscle soreness. Half the men did 5 sets of dumbbell arm curls to failure on every set on days 1, 2, 3, and 5 of recovery.
Continued training after an intense workout had no effect on recovery. This was a short-term study, so the long-term effects of repeated workouts to failure could not be determined. Also, the results might not apply to trained athletes. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 23: 2467-2476)