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The Magical Mystical Science of Rest Periods in Weight Training


Last week I released the 1970s BIG program. This ended up being a very big hit, and Ive already gotten great feedback from people. Unfortunately, I left out a crucial detail in the program, which I legitimately did not consider at all.

How long are the rest periods?

To answer that question directly-They are SHORT. Do not rest longer than absolutely necessary to do the next set. To answer it in more detail, the amount of time spent resting during a workout comes down to a few factors -heart rate elevation -muscular fatigue -neurological fatigue -training performance The only times when you really must by cognizant of the above is during specific cardiovascular training, OR heavy lifting using maximal weights. For 80% of people, just get your workout done as quickly as you reasonably can. 8DaysOut-IronMan-PhotoShoot Id say about 80% of people in gyms rest too long. Aside from not fully applying themselves to a movement or just doing it incorrectly, they also waste time between sets being distracted. As such, their training performance suffers. Consider the following,

“Rest periods DONT matter UNLESS they matter”

Rest periods depend on the context of training. The way to assess rest periods is pretty easy, you just check heart rate, and then you consider HOW you are training.

  • For Hypertrophy and general strength training, rest only as long as you need. Said plainly, most people spend WAY too much time resting when lifting, and this does nothing to improve their training focus or workout quality. As soon as your heart rate has come down enough to perform another set, perform the set
  • For maximal lifting, of less than 5 reps-Rest periods need to be longer because of the neurological demand of the training. Do not rush lifting 85% maximum weights.
  • For cardiovascular workouts with specific zones for heart rate intensity-You WILL have to track/record your rest periods and assess heart rate. Tracking heart rate and rest for cardio training is akin to tracking sets and reps for weight training. There is no other way to make objective progress. The better question to ask is HOW do you keep your rest periods focused and brief?
  • BREATHING between every set, take deep, diaphragmatic breaths. Clothes your eyes and visualize oxygenating your whole body with every breath. Visualize perfectly performing the next set. If you do this, your workout will be a concentrated use of your energy, and you will notice improvement in performance. Breathing isn’t fancy and I obviously cannot “monetize”, but its the absolute fastest way to improve physical performance. Do that and be mindful of rest periods, and your workouts will always be efficient.


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