The Importance of Proper Rest Between Exercises

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Proper work to rest ratio in training is very important to developing the specific type of strength & fitness relevant to your goals!

Hey guys! Coach Jeff here to tell you a little bit about the benefits of proper rest times between exercises during your workouts. We are going to be going over the fine balance between not enough rest, and too much. Ensuring that your rest time is adequate can completely change the way the exercise affects you and ultimately, your results.

You just finished a set. You start deciding what the next weight you will go to, grab some water, chat with a friend,, check your phone (50 BURPEES!) etc. Doesn’t sound like too much right? Simple things such as this can easily eat up 4 to 5 minutes without it feeling like much time at all. At 5 minutes your heart rate is much lower than it was, the muscles are close to completely recharged and you may even feel a bit cooler temperature-wise. How realistic is this in a game time scenario? When you score a 3 pointer and it’s the other teams turn to pass in the ball, are they going to give you 5 minutes to catch your breath? Absolutely not. So why train your body in this fashion?

The goal of your training is to strengthen the muscles and movements in which you will be using for your sport. And though you are not training specific skills like you are during practice, your weight training should still adjust the muscles to performing under some sort of fatigue. Now I am not saying that if you are a soccer play (running back and forth for 90 minutes) that you should barely rest and completely fry yourself. But, to some extent, you want your muscles to continue to get stronger even during times of minimal rest. This is where timing your rest periods comes in especially handy.

When I say timing your rest, I literally mean grabbing some type of timer and setting a limit for yourself. As quick as a minute and a half or 2 minutes may seem to go by, this is really all you need. The most time you would ever really need is 3 to 3 and a half minutes (if you are maxing a squat or something similar). Unless you are an athlete in the sport of weightlifting, you never want to rest more than 2 minutes when maxing the Olympic lifts, this way your body will become adjusted to the pace of the competition and you wont feel unprepared if you have to take a couple of attempts within a short time of each other. Getting yourself in the habit of this will have a huge mental benefit come game/competition time as well.

Women can take even less time than this due to the lower weight lifted to body weight ratio. Women have the distinct advantage of quicker recovery between work sets and sessions all together (touché ladies). For those of you who find it hard to complete your workout in an hour or less, think of the time difference between resting a minute and a half compared to 3 minutes per set. If you have 4 sets of something and rest 3 to 4 minutes between each one, you have just totaled 12 to 16 minutes just on rest alone! Scale that down to 4 and half to 6 minutes when resting only 1 and a half minutes. That is a huge difference when it comes to total work time in your session. Personally, I would prefer not to use ¼ of my workout resting. It seems like a huge damper to my progress and that is something nobody can afford to lose.

So there you have it guys, a simple and effective method to maximizing your training time and making sure you get through your entire workout. This simple change will be of great benefit to you in the long run by preparing you for game day, and also ensuring you don’t miss out constantly on the benefits of all the smaller assistance exercises you generally miss out on (they are more important than you think!).

Grab yourself a stopwatch, use the timer feature on your phone, or even use the seconds on the clock. Whatever way you choose, just know you are doing yourself a huge favor in the long run!

See ya next time!


– Coach Jeff

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