Lifting Recovery Tips from Alan Thrall

One of my favorite lifters on YouTube has to be Alan Thrall. Not only is his beard and hair completely epic, but he’s also a great lifting coach that shares a ton of valuable information through his videos on YouTube. And this one is no different. It’s about recovery and how to teach your body to recover more quickly… with some tough love under the barbell.

A cool byproduct of working on your recovery as he outlines is that your lifting sessions will be a lot faster too. You should watch the video for all the little tidbits and details he offers up to get to faster workouts and better recovery, but I’ll outline the main points of it here as well.

  • Limit your rest times between work sets on the primary movements of your workout (f.ex. squat, bench, deadlift) to 3 minutes. If you need to sacrifice a small percentage of weight on the bar to accomplish this, so be it. You will benefit from improving your work capacity and over time (long-term) have better progress thanks to this change.
  • For secondary movements, keep your rest periods between 90 and 120 seconds. Don’t overdo it with the shortened rest periods though on working sets. You’re still there to lift heavy. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice a ton of weight on the bar just to adhere to lower rest periods. Remember that the main goal is to get stronger… and improving your recovery can be a key component of this lifting journey.
  • Don’t rest between warm up sets. Change the weight on the bar between sets, maybe take a sip of water, and then get back to lifting until you arrive at your working weights for the movement.
  • Match your repetitions on your warm up sets to your working sets. If you’re doing sets of 5, 8 or 10, your warm up sets should also be sets of 5, 8 or 10. If you train using auto-regulation of some sort with Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to guide you, it makes sense that your sets leading up to your working weights will match your working sets when it comes to amount of reps. A great bonus on this is that you’ll build more work capacity and do so by repping out relatively “easy” weights. When your training program eventually gets down to lower rep counts as it intensifies, it’ll be a breeze!

These tips are awesome from Alan Thrall of Untamed Strength Gym. Getting this type of information for free from a knowledgeable person like him would’ve been unthinkable just 10-15 years ago. His methods of building work capacity will probably make you a bit more tired during and after workouts in the short term, but long term you’ll see a huge improvement in your overall capacity to recover more quickly, both between sets and also between lifting sessions. Plus your training sessions will be quicker, because you’ll spend less time resting and thus get the required work done faster.