Rest, don’t quit.


Various training schemes and protocols have been made across time. Every day coaches, athletes, bloggers and fitness enthusiasts post workouts about strength or power development, weight loss, core strength, rehab and so on. Few of them talk about RESTORATION TIME, even if it is one of the most critical component in physical preparation. Often times, the best athletes are the ones who have the ability to recover faster after trainings and games.

What you are going to learn by reading this article is that recovering when you feel tired or fatigued could be not sufficient. If you think that rest is for losers, you are wrong. Quitting when you have to grind is for losers, rest when is needed, instead, is about growing and elevating your preparedness.

Rest has physiological impact on the body, as training load has, and its role is different depending on the target.

When we talk about rest, we need to do some distinctions:

  • in a long-time prospective Rest-Exercise alternation is the base of the Supercompensation Curve, that is made by a period where some training stimulus are given to the athlete, followed by a rest period, that can generally last one week or more, depending on the length of the period of load. During the rest period the so called DELAYED TRANSFORMATION occurs. This is the phase where the magic happens and all of your efforts and fatigue are transformed in fitness growth;
  • in a short-time view, related to the in-session rests, rest between sets and exercises greatly influences the energetic demand to your muscles, so it has the power to enhance or negatively affect the output of the entire training.

Every training goal requires different stimulus and different rests, for instance:

  1. ABSOLUTE STRENGTH needs large inter-bout of rest between sets and between sessions. As you already should know, absolute strength is developed with heavy load ( > 85% 1RM; < 0,5 m/s). Even though few reps are performed, the nervous system is very stressed, so you need to rest more than 3 minutes between sets. Furthermore it has been proved that Testosterone levels, after heavy resistance training, remain high after the following 24-48 hours. Then at least 24 hours are recommended between each session;
  2. FINE MOTOR COORDINATION such as learning new technical skills or MAXIMAL NEURAL OUTPUT as in weightlifting training, have to be trained in a rested state. In the first case, fatigue can lead to making mistakes with the consequence of fixing wrong pattern movements; in the second one, when the neural output is high, the risk of injuries also increases, so a completely rest is requested;
  3. Training protocols that induce MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY contemplate short intervals of rest between sets (from 1 to 2 min) in order to fatigue the largest amount of fibers; long intervals of rest between session that emphasizes the same muscle group (from 48 to 72 hours).

Recovery time from Heavy Resistance Exercises varies also depending on the size of the muscle mass engaged. Small muscles don’t require a lot of recovery and if you are aiming to increase the size of these muscles it is better you work on them often, only at least a 12 hours rest is required; Medium muscles need medium restoration, 24 hours are suggested; Large muscles, instead, need more than 48 hours.

Beast App helps you to manage rest time. It is equipped with a chronometer and time that runs between each set is displayed on the widget. Furthermore a sound warns you every 30, 60 and 90 seconds. At the end of the workout it gives you the total duration of the training session and the indication of the density (load per minute).

Remember that fatigue is specific. It means that every workout has different “fatigue outputs”, due to the magnitude of the effort, the duration of the workout, the management of rests between sets and exercises and between training sessions. So depending on the goal you are aiming for, you need to observe the correct rest time, in order to reach it.

As you plan the type of the exercises and load percentages, you should contemplate the rest time according with the stimulus you gave and the impact you expect. Rest is part of the training and it deserves great attention as any other component of it.


Martina Marson

by Martina Marson

From kick boxing to free style wrestling, through functional and strength training. Beast Sensor addicted. Training is my job, my passion and my life.