Last Update On April 24, 2012
Are Light Days Important Or Waste Of Time ?
Most programs contain a light day where you lift very small percentages of your 1RM in order to stimulate recovery. However having light days is not always beneficial. In fact I will even say that in some cases it's harmful.
A typical training program with light days is the Texas Method which is a popular routine designed by the famous Olympic weightlifting coach Glenn Pendlay. In most of its form the program has a light day between the volume and intensity day. So, it looks something like this:
Monday: Volume Squats, Wednesday: 2x5 80% of Monday; Friday: Intensity day.
Like I already said the goal of the light day is to speed up your recovery by increasing blood flow around the area. However I think that light days are not important, overrated and you can skip them altogether without much trouble. Before sending me a bunch of hate mail hear me out.
The Light Day Places Additional Stress On Your Body
When I injured my hips some time a go I was squatting three times a week and the middle one was of course a light one. I noticed that if I skip the light day my hip was feeling much better on Friday. This lead me to believe that the light day is like “doing something just to do something but there is no real benefit.”
The Light Day Does Not Make You Stronger & Does Not Build Muscle Mass
Let's face it - the light day does not make you stronger. In fact it sucks some energy you can use for your heavy days. Also lifting light weights such as 60% 1RM stimulates less hypertrophy than heavier poundages such as 70% 1RM and above. Otherwise lifting the bar for 100 reps would build muscle mass. It doesn't.
Skipping The Light Day Will Save Time, Money And Energy
I would bet a lot of money that if someone gives you a free gym membership you will train everyday for some weird reasons. However most people have to pay for that extra. Also if your gym is away from your home or work you are also losing a lot of time to get there. That's why your program should be compact and straight to the point. No time for funky stuff. This is serious game. That's why having a light bench press day every three days may be a good thing to avoid. If you like simplicity you can look at my twice a week program.
"Q: Does this mean that I should train heavy all the time?"
A: No. You should cycle and have periods of heavy weeks and light ones at the beginning of the cycle. However there is no need to have a light day for every exercises and spend 5 days a week in the gym just for the sake of it. It's not practical unless you are close to your gym and it's cheap. The most important factor however is that success can be achieved without heaving a light day for “active recovery.”
This is my opinion if you have any question use the comment section. Happy training.