Everything you need to know about rest as it relates to strength training

Sep 04, 2015

Proper rest is one of the most overlooked aspects of a sound fitness regimen.  I see it everyday with my own clients, who work out on their own between our sessions despite what I tell them YellYellYell. I also see it with other clients whose trainers have them work the same muscle groups 2 or sometimes 3 days in a row.

How much should you be resting?  Here are some general guidelines:

0 seconds between reps - you may think I’m joking here but I’m not!  Name any lift and there is always an opportunity to rest at some point (think the bottom of a bicep curl).  Don’t give in!  Strive for constant, controlled tension.

1 minute between sets

AT LEAST 48 hours between muscle groups - for example, if you’ve worked LEGS on a Monday, wait until at least Wednesday to work them again (you should also use soreness as a guide: if a muscle is still sore, wait another day to work it again)

1 week between periods - ideally, you should be working out in periods of 4 or 5 weeks.  Then, you should take one week for “active rest.”  Do something completely different than you’ve been doing and at a lower intensity.  For example, after 4 weeks of a lifting program, take 1 week to do some rock climbing or hiking or swimming.  If you absolutely cannot do without lifting, then take a week and lift at a much lower intensity than you have been.  This is a great way to fight plateaus.

Rock on.  I hope this helps.  There’s so much information out there, and so much of it is wrong.  I appreciate you coming to me for help.

Live in your best body,
Steve

 

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