Every now and then, everybody needs a break from working out. (even the Blitz Conditioning team take time off!)
Knowing when to change your workouts around and how long you should be resting between sets can make a big difference in a workout routine, which is why I always list specifics in my blog posts about different training techniques.
Resting between sets and workouts is key to developing your fitness goals; there’s actual science behind it. During breaks, your body is getting rid of lactic acid that has built up from repetitive muscle use while also restoring the energy in them. When you’re using strength, power, and some endurance workout techniques – rest breaks can be up to 5 minutes long! It takes about 30 seconds to fully restore the muscle energy, while it takes a little longer to get rid of the lactic acid. When your practicing hypertrophy and endurance training methods, the breaks only last about 30 to 90 seconds, since your teaching your body work with or around lactic build up.
The rest period between sets of workout are just as important as the number of reps you do, and the weights you are using. When you’re transitioning between different types of resistance training or running styles, it’s okay to take a week off. You might return to that training method faster or stronger, as long as you remember to find other ways of staying active.
There’s no reason to keep doing the same workout just because you’re not an elite athlete. Periodization is when your muscles become familiar with certain actions with weights, movements, reps, etc., causing your muscles to adapt to unfamiliar external forces. In the first 2 weeks, your muscle adapts to the motor units, and adapts to built up energy/lactic acid by week 3 or 4; after the 4 week mark, the connective tissues get stronger or allow a greater range of motion. When you change the way you train, you change the way your muscles react to the forces you’re using. Cycling between different training styles leads to greater gains and prevents plateauing. With periodization, you can train one way for 2-3 weeks to get the neuromuscular adaptations before switching to another form of training, while also reaping all the benefits of one training style.
These techniques can be applied to running workouts as well. Instead of always running for long distances, try to do some sprint intervals or shorter distances at a faster pace for a few weeks. Between each workout, try and take a day or two off so that your body can heal and adapt for the next workout. Don’t rush between your sets, try to occupy yourself in long breaks by practicing your balance, and switch up your routines to help overcome any plateaus!
Happy training! Don’t forget to shoot me an email if you have any questions!