Saturday, June 24, 2017

QUIT WASTING YOUR REST TIMES


My grandpa once told me “if you want to make time pass slowly, just hang by your thumbs.”  At this moment I’ll explain that my grandpa had a lot of psychotic homespun sayings and a great talent with metaphors that I hope I partially inherited, but I particularly liked this one because it’s hilarious.  But the point to take away from it is that the passing of time is a set principle, but our perspective of it can always be altered based on circumstances.  Time flies when you’re having fun, and it slows down to a crawl when you hang by your thumbs.  I think many of you folks out there are watching time fly by during your rest times, because you’re too busy having fun NOT being miserable to really appreciate just how MUCH time you have in your rest times.  Once you stop wasting your rest times and actually getting some work done, you’ll realize how long an hour long workout REALLY is, and how much training you can get done during that time.

Image result for navy seal flutter kicks
"In retrospect, the wait for Game of Thrones seems really fast compared to waiting for this guy to stop spraying me with a hose"

Alright, so first, I already know what people are going to say.  “You idiot; it’s a REST time.  You’re SUPPOSED to be resting.”  Ok shut up for a second.  I will grant you that, during rest periods in a training session, you should rest from the movement you just completed, but this doesn’t necessitate achieving a catatonic state gazing into your smartphone swiping right (that’s apparently some sort of thing).  You can rest from previous work while still engaging in OTHER work that doesn’t necessarily hinder recovery.  This requires a somewhat intelligent approach to training, yes, but most people are so willing to look up every study, article and book on training at this point that I can’t imagine I’m upsetting anyone by suggesting bringing a little intellect into the game.

Yes; you CAN recover WHILE working.  Some even theorize that work AIDES in recovery (I need to use italics more, as writing “aides” in all caps became dangerously close to getting offensive).  When we perform 1 movement and then perform another movement that is oppositely aligned to the previous, we force blood to flow through the muscles opposite ones previously worked, which some theorize to be incredibly restorative.  Even if that were not true, we still understand that fatigue is a LOCALIZED concept as it relates to muscles; not a general one.  If you crank out 400 reps of squats, your legs will be obliterated, but your pecs are still fresh and ready for more work.

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Looks like they're still waiting too

So if muscular fatigue is localized, what really limits us from engaging in some hardcore, nonstop superset training until death?  The answer isn’t going to shock you; conditioning!  Muscular fatigue is local, but conditioning is general, and it is our conditioning that is taxed and limits our ability to really have significant output on opposite movements.  Once again, going with squats, if you do 40 rep squats, your pecs might be fresh for more work, but most likely you’ll be too busy vomiting up your lungs to be able to put in a solid set of benching.

So how do we approach this situation?  Well, regarding the conditioning piece, that answer is obvious; have BETTER conditioning.  This is WHY conditioning is so key; it’s a gatekeeper to greater training density, which means effectively more volume, which means more growth.  If you work diligently to improve your conditioning, you will be able to accumulate significantly more volume over time, which means greater growth overall.  However, what do we do in the meantime?  We take something of a training wheels approach to rest time work.

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And you thought buying a motorcycle would make you tough

In the era of “all compound movements, all the time”, there have been a lot of little movements that have been overlooked and neglected for years.  This is primarily because of dogma, and primarily because, after doing a whole bunch of heavy compounds, trainees found themselves too spent to do anything else.  So start working these little movements in during your rest periods.  Between sets of squats, benches, presses and deadlifts, start working in pull aparts, face pulls, curls and raises.  Don’t work to failure or even close to it; just focus on accumulating volume.  A set of 20 pull aparts isn’t much of anything, but done 5 times in a workout while you’re huffing wind from squats becomes 100 reps.  Performed everyday is an extra 700 reps a week, or 36,400 reps in a year.  Think that doesn’t add up?  You’re getting in more work and not compromising your recovery at all.

That’s not all you can do though; you can also use rest times to start setting up your next movement.  If you train full body, you can start warming up for bench during your squat worksets, or you can start loading the bar for your next assistance movement while hitting your main movement.  You can eliminate wasted time so that your training is more efficient, which in turn allows your training to be more dense and allow for greater volume overall.  And again, we do this to accumulate more growth.

And once you have a mastery of your conditioning, you can do BIGGER and heavier movements during your recovery periods.  You can do worksets of bench between worksets of deadlifts and STILL recover from both.  You can run giantsets of squat, chin and press and be able to give each movement due diligence.  You can be in such great shape that you have the ability to push hard while recovering FROM pushing hard, and in turn, you can turn an hour of training into a very brutal and efficient hour of solid training, rather than 6 minutes of training accompanied by 54 minutes of resting.

Image result for squat injury
Ok; maybe take an extra minute to rest from this one

And let’s say that you end up lifting less weight because you are fatigued; who cares?  You are STILL getting stronger if you’re training to the same rate of perceived exertion as before.  Your body doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it doesn’t NOT adjust to stimulus simply because it weighs less if that stimulus is presented when under a state of fatigue.  If this was TRUE, things like pre-exhaust, pyramid sets and dropsets wouldn’t work.  And though some eggheads might not understand HOW they work, we have more than enough proof that they do.  Let your lifts dip a little knowing full well you are STILL getting bigger and stronger because you’ve changed the degree of fatigue you are training under.

Rest times are an opportunity, and you can choose to exploit it or squander it.  Hang by your thumbs in training; spend more time TRAINING in your rest times than you do training during your training times, and see how you turn out.






SPOILER FOR FUTURE ARTICLE: I just finished week 2 of 5/3/1’s “Building the Monolith” which is what inspired this post.  People were telling me that the workouts took 1.5-2 hours to complete, and I’ve been knocking them out in less than 60 minutes.  I plan to do a full write-up when it’s all done, but if you’re curious about the work during rest periods fleshed out, check out these videos (showing workouts 1, 2, and 3 in order)








14 comments:

  1. Great ideas. On one of your last points, training while fatigued seems like a great way to autoregulate your program so you're not always killing yourself by approaching your true maxes (which in turn will make those maxes increase when you attempt them fresh).

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    1. Much appreciated dude. Yeah, I became a big fan of training under fatigue as a means to come back from injury. A good way to limit loading while still getting a training response.

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  2. Great article thanks for enlightening me, I'm one of those 54 minutes rest in an hour twats you refer to, gonna try and implement some of your ideas into my training.

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    1. Awesome dude. I hope it works out well for you!

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  3. I agree. I've been super/giant setting entire sessions for a long time and it has become unnatural to do a single set of anything and sit down. I remember a time when movements would get eliminated due to "time constraints" yet now I get more done in less time.

    In my own experience, and observation of others... there is a mental barrier that must be overcome. I've learned my body is capable of much more than my brain believed possible.

    Anyways, great post! I enjoy your blog and writing.

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    1. You nailed it with there being a significant mental barrier. There is a LOT out there once you start overcoming yourself. Thanks for reading dude!

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  4. If anyone is interested, Check out Brian Alsruhe. He has a YouTube channel & promotes strength & conditioning. I'm currently following his program of Linear Progression (Giant sets) and it's definitely taxing on my CNS. I can only do about 60-70% of max loads but it's very tough & I know I'm getting results.

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  5. Yo Emevas it's Barackaveli. Are you still doing any of your PT work for your knee alongside BTM? Cuz im running too (per your recommendation) and was just curious if ur still doing anything for your knee at all

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    1. Hey man,

      I stopped doing all physical therapy work for the knee around May of 2016. I was given the all clear by the physical therapist to resume normal training, and never looked back. I still run too, but that's more just a general fitness goal.

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    2. Ah okay cuz i liked all the single-leg movements i learned from pt so im gonna see if i can work them in. I dont have total symmetry and it irks me lol but it's weird cuz i have the exact same functionality in each leg. And i managed to return to rugby during the school year. What's your plan after BTM? Meet prep?

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    3. Ah okay cuz i liked all the single-leg movements i learned from pt so im gonna see if i can work them in. I dont have total symmetry and it irks me lol but it's weird cuz i have the exact same functionality in each leg. And i managed to return to rugby during the school year. What's your plan after BTM? Meet prep?

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    4. Congrats on getting back to Rugby. That's awesome.

      After BTM, I'm thinking of running "God is a Beast". Seemed to resonate well with me. I don't have any competitions on my radar right now; nothing even close to me. If something pops up though, I'll be training for it. Right now, just having an off season.

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  6. Thanks for the article. It solidifies another aspect of what I've been trying to incorporate into my daily schedule.

    Where did you read about "God is a Beast" programming? The name makes it sound ominous, so I am curious. I don't believe I will incorporate it yet, as I am trying something else at the time, but would like to read more. A google search didn't seem to be of much help.

    Thanks again for writing this. I enjoy reading your weekly posts. Have a good day, Dude.

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    1. Appreciate the feedback dude. "God is a Beast" is in 5/3/1 Forever, and I'm fairly certain is a song title, haha. The program names rarely correlate to anything in the program from what I've seen.

      Hope you find success reducing your rest times. It's really been a boon for me.

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