Active rest

Posted on May 05, 2014 by Anna-Maria Båth

Active rest means that you are active while you rest. You do something while you are resting from the something else – as simple as that.

Active rest is a well known concept meaning you are active during your rest days, the one you have between your workout days. 

When we talk about active rest we do not mean the rest we mentioned above, we talk about the rest time between exercise sets. Like this: if you are doing 10 repetitions of an exercise, rest, 10 reps, rest, and 10 reps again, we want the small rest you have, 10-40 seconds between your 10 reps, should be active.

In weight training you want to get maximum of muscle strength and muscle growth. To achieve that, personal trainers usually recommend 8-12 repetitions of an exercise, three times, with a short rest in between. The rest time between exercises tend to be between 10-40 seconds. Typically, 10 reps, waiting 10-40 sec, the muscle gets a brief rest, and then another 10 reps.

We instead advocate an active rest.
Active rest means that you do something between your exercises, instead of resting. Active rest can for example be that you skip or jog on the spot. The purpose of active rest is that you maintain a higher heart rate between exercises, making sure you get a more high-intensity exercise with increased calorie burn and fat burn as a result.

When we workout we always do the active rest. This allows us to workout with relatively high heart rate all the time, whether we work out a smaller muscle group such as biceps or else.

How we do it:
Let's say that we should run a bicep workout and will do three exercises (Curl, Hug and Reverse Curl), every exercise in three sets with 12 repetitions in each set. If I (Anna-Maria) begin with 12 Biceps Curl in the Bodyweightbands, Kennet is jogging / jumping on the spot, as soon as I have finished in the bands we change - I jog and Kennet curl and so on. 

A workout like this will take about 12-15 minutes. Although the workout is done in a short amount of time, it's intense, fitness-enhancing, fat-burning and increases muscle mass.