What To Do During Rest Times
To quote Field Marshall Erwin Rommel; 'In the absence of orders go find something and kill it'. Whilst TDL Fitness isn't condoning murder in any way the reference is used to indicate that it is not simply alright to do nothing. Rest times are more important than just getting a breather and we are going to give you some tips on what to do during your rest times in between sets and exercises right here...none of which will suggest killing anything.
How long your rest time is affects what you do in that time. This is the case because rest time length is dependent on what you are training, what method of training you are doing and how much exertion you are giving in that exercise routine. That said there is a catch-all in a rest time and that is to keep the body moving. We don't mean jogging on the spot or doing some rest lunges (whatever that is) but the body has to be in motion during a rest time no matter how slow. This can take the form of a slow walk around your exercise area, the odd little stretch or a simple roll of the neck that invariably moves part of the body too. This makes sure the body is kept warm and limber for the next set or exercise. Keep the body in a constant motion to promote healthy movement during your exercise too.
Pro tip: Whatever exercise you are doing during your rest time replicate the movement of that exercise without the weights you are using. For example if you are resting in between squat sets then do a squat without the barbell a couple of times during your rest time.
Focus on your breathing. During difficult exercises we sometimes have the compulsion to hold our breaths which isn't great during an exercise and causes us to breathe irregularly afterwards making us feel more tired than we are physically. During your rest time start to breathe slowly in an effort to control your breathing and to slow your heart rate so you eel less tired and more ready for the next exercise.
For shorter rest times go through a little checklist in your mind of the set you just did, think about anything you need to work on be it posture or movement and assess if what you just did was at the right intensity. Doing this focuses your mind and avoids the mind's ability to wander..especially to your phone.
That reminds me....DON'T pick up your phone during a rest time. 8 times out of 10 when you do that you go over your allowed rest time. Yes you do. No i'm not generalizing....put it down.
Go get some water! This is especially true for longer rest times as the trip to the water fountain keeps your body moving which is vital for heavier or more intense exercises, reminds you to get more water in you as the sweat lowers your fluid levels and makes sure you don't waste time.
Pro tip: If like some people you are notoriously bad at remembering how many sets you have done go to the water fountain after every 2 sets. That way you have a mental reminder of how many sets you have done.
Dance to the music. This might sound silly but it is a mental shortcut to keeping you going. A slight dance to the music distracts the mind from thinking it is tired, in some cases too tired to do the next set at the same level of intensity, makes you feel good and uses those endorphins to their fullest potential. You ain't gonna dance afterwards if you are a normal human so get your groove on to get ahead of the mental game in the gym. It distracts, motivates and gives you the belief that you have more left in the tank..as you have enough to dance!
Look at yourself in the mirror and flex. Flexing has proven to be a good way of firing the muscle fibers and giving them a sort of 'max stretch'. Flexing isn't just a vain thing it can get rid of that temporary muscle fatigue if it still has juice left in there. Flexing forces the blood into the muscles without the need for resistance and thus oxidizes the muscles. Get your flex on.
Most importantly during your rest times keep an eye out on that timer. Be disciplined and make sure you start your next set bang on time. If you have 30 seconds of rest start on second 31 and no later. If you rest for longer than is necessary the benefits of the next set decrease! Any rest time over 2 minutes and you are basically starting from the beginning again, only with less energy than before. Stay on track.
Rest times are sacred, just as important as the exercise itself. Be smart as you wait impatiently to go again. Pump up those muscles, drink up and get your groove on.