When I am designing workouts for my clients, I’m working with four different variables. The first three are the most common: resistance, repetitions, and sets. But the fourth? Rest. Some exercises are meant to be performed continuously. But usually a workout is designed to be performed at a higher intensity that requires some sort of break. For example, if I asked you to do 100 push-ups, you probably wouldn’t do those without a break. But what if you did ten and then had a 2-minute break? Easier, right? Need it easier? How about two push-ups 50 times with that same 2-minute rest? That’s a very different challenge, right?
I use this extreme example to demonstrate that rest is an active component to an exercise routine. It’s important between exercises, between sets and also during entire seasons.
A couple weeks ago I was on vacation with my family. What I’ve learned is that me being gone is usually a good time for clients to get a little break. In case you haven’t noticed, I like high intensity workouts. We are all training safely and people are getting stronger, faster and more confident. But this training takes a toll on the body. I’ve found that me being gone is a good time for clients to have an easier week or even take the week off from intervals. Do you want to know what I often see when I return? Some of the best days of training all year! The reason for this is that the body sometimes just needs to take a break and rest. I’ve seen this as a runner on many occasions: training is going well, “life happens” and I miss anywhere from 4-9 days of training, and I start to worry I’ve lost my edge. Just the opposite! The time off was just what I needed to pop out a great workout and take my training to the next level.
There are four variables to every workout. In the next couple weeks, take note of how the rest component is affecting your effort and results.