3 Things You're Supposed to Do... But Most Big Guys Don't!
Part 2: Time Your Rest Periods
When a client asks me how long they should rest between sets, I always answer them with one of the following:
- I select my rest periods based on the rotation of the earth, wind factor, and moon phase.
- If I ever see you look at the clock or a stopwatch to calculate rest periods, I will hit you with a baseball bat.
Precisely timing rest intervals is another thing that most coaches and personal trainers do, but that nobody who actually built a ton of muscle mass and strength ever does.
We all recover at different rates. So how can a specific rest period be adequate for everybody doing a program? If I recover slowly, resting 90 seconds between two hard sets might not be enough and my performance could suffer. If someone else recovers super fast and has a short attention span, forcing himself to wait 90 seconds might throw him out of the zone.
Furthermore, even individual recovery rate can vary. For example, your recovery time will be slower if:
- You're tired
- You're on a low-carb diet or didn't ingest enough nutrients that day
- The training environment is really hot and humid
- You had a huge cheat meal/day and are bloated and holding water
- You suffer from brain fog or lack motivation
The goal of a training program is NOT to do a list of chores. It's to stimulate a physiological response. So I prefer to give general recovery recommendations based on what I want to accomplish with an exercise.
A. If your goal is to maximize performance on a lift, you want to use the amount of rest necessary for you to perform optimally. You don't want fatigue to hurt your capacity to lift, but you don't want to rest so much that you get out of the zone either.
B. If your goal is to accumulate waste products and get a maximum pump, you want incomplete rest, to be able to pile on blood and waste products in the muscle. Don't rest so long that you start to lose a bit of a pump. In that case, you accept a drop in performance to be able to magnify the pump on every set.
C. If your goal is conditioning, you want to rest enough to be able to do another bout, but not so much that your heart rate drops down significantly. You want to keep the heart rate elevated during the whole time you're performing the conditioning section.
No truly muscular/strong guy times his rest periods. He instinctively knows how long to rest based on how his body is feeling and what he's trying to accomplish.
Tomorrow I'll discuss another thing you're supposed to do that most muscular dudes never actually do: follow a specific workout as written. -- Christian Thibaudeau
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