How Long Should I Rest?
The classic guidelines for muscle hypertrophy in the bodybuilding world recommend short resting periods. Although, literature does not have any basis to support this theory just yet, based upon both personal experience, and rest, in the anecdotal consensus out there, I believe there is some benefit in small resting periods for means of hypertrophy. Internationally renowned hypertrophy expert and scientist – Brad Schoenfeld (who has also won natural bodybuilding titles) says there is not enough evidence yet to draw concrete conclusions on this topic but shorter resting periods increase metabolic stress, which is known to stimulate muscle remodeling. For these reasons, I have concluded that shorter resting periods used once a week in the advanced program can add some value in the training program. Plus, it also helps to make your workouts a bit more fun.
In the rest on the book I consider it important to take your time when you rest between sets until your body feels ready. I do recommend specific resting periods for practical reasons (like saving time) yet it is important to also trust your own body. From general experience and due to the fact that beginners do not have enough experience to stress their body close to its highest potential, I recommend relatively short breaks of one minute in the beginners phase. Later on in the advanced phase, once the trainee has more experience, it is important to get adequate rest in order to perform every set feeling recharged and using good form (2-3 three minutes is usually enough for this purpose). Still, these resting periods aren’t meant for you to login to your Facebook with your mobile device to catch up on your notification – Stay focused!
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If you complete a whole year of bodyweight strength training, remaining faithful to your program, progress will be slower and slower, just as in any strength program. As said previously you can’t continue adding a pull up each week up to infinity. That’s not how the body works.
There will be periods in which you will experience great improvement in your workouts and your body’s physique. These periods are usually followed by plateaus. Unless you are a beginner, your progress in strength exercise will never be gradual. You advance with sudden jerks and starts. Then you may remain stationary for a while. In some cases, especially after your second year, you might even regress a tiny bit! You may strive hard for a long period of time and not see any progress. Then one day when you least expect it, you suddenly start ascending again. Many people get discouraged on these long periods of stagnation and think that the workout plan they are using is not good or is not effective anymore. So they take the easy way out – they quit!
It is crucial to learn to recognize these plateaus and have the emotional intelligence required to stay faithful to your program. Plateaus are natural… This means that you are no longer a beginner and that you have taken your workouts seriously. Long periods of no progress can be tiring mentally and physically, so you must remain patient and develop mental toughness during these times. What you can achieve is strictly up to you. When it comes to health and fitness goals, it does not matter if you have the best personal trainer and the best nutritionist in the world. If you are missing a strong will, all else will crumble. As my bro Bruce would say:
If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.
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