To the uninitiated, people who lift weights must look pretty silly.
Typically you will see someone lift a weight and then sit down and rest. This is often repeated numerous times (Check out this video for a hilarious video of a weight lifter- I don’t agree with this gyms policies but this is pretty funny! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAXo3Wr_nYU
For those who are used to working out on a treadmill or other form of cardio the action of lifting and resting seems somewhat counterproductive- after all, what does resting have to do with working out?
Turns out resting has a very valuable place in your workout program- especially if you
want to optimize certain hormones.
In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research researchers set out to compare the effects of different between-set rest periods (1 and 2.5 minutes) on changes in hormone response, strength, and body composition during a 10-week training period.
They found that short rest intervals (resting less than 1 minute between sets) resulted in almost double the post exercise testosterone levels when compared to long rest intervals (resting 2.5 minutes).
This sounds like a great thing- after all; more testosterone equals more muscle, less fat and turns everyone into a happy camper.
But unfortunately the party doesn’t last. After 5 weeks of short rest based training testosterone starts to diminish and after 10 weeks testosterone levels were back to
The other reality check is that hormonal response is highly variable and may not necessarily be predictive of strength and lean tissue gains in a 10-week training program.
However, this does build a case for periodization of your training program. Periodization is simply planning out your workouts to incorporate different phases and stages.
Different Types of Periodization
- Linear Periodization is when the reps are decreased and rest intervals are increased with each successive phase.
- Alternating Periodization is when the trainee switches between high reps/short rest intervals and lower reps/ long rest intervals at each phase.
- Undulating Periodization is when the rep brackets and rest intervals are adjusted with each workout.
What This Means to YOU
If you have been taking long rest breaks, try incorporating an exercise phase based around short rest intervals for a month.
If fast based intervals are all that you have been doing try performing a strength phase with a focus on longer rest periods and heavier weights.
This is the intelligent way to approach your training and why periodization (dividing
your exercise year into phases and stages) is so effective.
Training in this fashion is not the end all be all of training BUT it will produce measureable results in a short period of time.
By the way, I periodize ALL of the training programs I design for my clients- you can get your fully personalized and periodized training program at www.ebodi.com