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Active Rest

Active Rest

By Ashlee Whitmoyer


When you hear the term “active rest,” you most likely think of performing intensive exercises like burpees followed by an exercise like butt kicks. However, active rest can be a variety of things, such as:

● Supersets

● Activation moves

● Mobility and flexibility

● Form review


Instead of doing a single heavy lift such as a squat and then resting, you can move right to an exercise like the pull-up. You won’t stop completely during supersets or circuits but instead work for example; your quads and glutes, then allow them to rest as you focus on chest and shoulders.

Activation Moves:

I’ve written before about not feeling a targeted muscle activating or feeling like one side of the body is compensating for the other. To correct these issues I am a huge fan of including activation movements during active rest days

You want to isolate any underactive muscles and get them firing! Remember, during isolation exercises the weight will be light or even just bodyweight. These moves are not meant to be heavy! Keep higher repetitions and low resistance to feel the correct muscle contracting. Learning to engage the appropriate muscle will lower risk of injury and decrease the chances of other muscle groups compensating for the weakness.

Mobility And Flexibility:

When you include mobility drills during your rest you can improve your range of motion. That is why, like activation exercises, mobility and flexibility work during your active rest can be so beneficial.

Foam roll to help relax overactive muscles that may be causing other muscles to be inhibited. Dynamic stretches may be included as well but static stretches are best left till after your workout as they may reduce power and performance.

Form Review:

Form review is another great way to allow your body to fully recover! During your rest, use the time to assess form. Even practicing a few reps with no resistance if needed.

If you’ve taped it, you can review. You can even have others review the video and double check your form if unsure. Utilize your rest time and ask for feedback from a trainer or coach if necessary so you can make changes if needed during the next set!

Next time you are lifting try incorporating these types of active rest into your routine!


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