The most underused training modality is rest. Which comes as no surprise, considering the fitness world has drilled into our heads that we must “go hard or go home”, or “unless you puke, faint or die, keep going”…
However, rest has it’s place in a training program. A very important place actually. Overtraining is an extremely common condition that can come out of training programs that don’t account for rest and training volume. It can lead to decreased performance, fatigue, altered hormonal states, poor sleeping patterns, reproductive disorders, decreased immunity, loss of appetite, and mood disturbances. (Lippincott Williams, Wilkins, 2012)
Rest can be altered in different types of training programs:
- Muscular Endurance(High intensity training) requires a small amount of rest. 60-120 seconds is ideal for this phase. It allows for your main energy source(ATP-PC) to almost fully replenish, so that it is available to use for your next set to be perfect. Any less can increase your chance of doing the exercise wrong, which puts you at a risk for injury, and even raise the risk for minor infections in your upper respiratory tract.
- Hypertrophy(Muscle building) is best with 0-60 seconds of rest. However, the load, training volume and current fitness level may push this towards 90 seconds.
- Maximal strength and power adaptations(Heavy lifting) pairs best with longer rest periods; around 3-5 minutes rest between sets.
When these rest periods are paired with the proper sets, reps and training volume, you can be guaranteed steady progress, a lower chance of injury, and the ability to take away every possible benefit of physical activity.
And with that, I’ll leave you with this…
Train smarter, not harder!