In my time of learning different forms of exercise, Playouts, programs & styles I have found that when it comes to rest periods, there's something bigger than you haven't completely seen yet. Most trainers would tell you that shorter rest periods are the key to developing muscles. In reality, its not good to generalize how often to rest between sets and not take into consideration what effects it has on the Central Nervous System.
You've heard of the tabata style HIT that is one of the biggest rages in fitness today or resting for no more than 30 seconds between sets. I'm going to tell you a hard to hear truth that will piss off a lot of people and hard to convince public on actual rest between sets or exercises......
Your body can only push so hard during an exercise and if you're told to go hard and then rest for an equal or shorter amount of time, that can create greater harm on your body than you can realize. That no pain, no gain line is bullshit plain and simple. If you're in pain during your training, you are doing something very wrong or you are forced to keep going even though your body can tear a joint or even worse break a bone in the process. If you're highly conditioned and your body can handle the stress, sure shorter rest periods can be ok but you at some point need to let the body recuperate. This isn't the military or training for competition and that's where many trainers are so damn stupid that they have convinced people to use this mentality.
Let me ask you something...Have you ever thrown up in a workout, passed out, bled, felt dizzy or felt that your energy is flat out gone somewhere between when you started and ended a session? I have done at least 4 of these things in my lifetime and its not worth your life to be in those situations. Its really about how an individual can truly recover and be efficient in their next set of exercise because here's a fact, if you're sloppy at any time during your session and you keep going, your body will give you a hard lesson in what its like to feel pain in places you didn't think pain existed in. If you rest too early, your energy can be depleted and you can lose the ability to recover at an optimal rate, however if you're too late to recover you're not giving the body the fuel it needs to feel the muscles. There has to be a balance there.
Here's an example of what i'm talking about; Hill Sprints: A powerful exercise where you run up a hill as hard as you can and then walk down the hill and repeat until you have done the allotted amount of sprints. The recovery process aught to be enough to where your breath is at a solid level and breathe deeply and calmly; if you haven't recovered enough, your run will deplete your energy levels and your speed will become way too slow and nowhere near the level you want it to be. Your recovery is what brings in highly oxygenated blood to your cellular tissue and builds up your hormone levels. Think of it this way, when you swim and come up for air, if you're not breathing effectively coming up and back into the water, you will be depleted and you can drown; same thing with exercise, if you can't recover you won't be efficient and you can get hurt or worse end up in the hospital with heart problems, kidney failure, floppy limbs and your chest will feel like a crowbar is hitting it every time you take a breath.
Rest is needed to get the most out of your session, the more conditioned you are, the greater your capacity is and resting at times mean just taking a few breaths and you're good to go, its all in determining what your level of fitness is at. When I do sprints, I use to do the 30/90 protocol which is better than the 30/30 or less concept in my opinion. There were times where I needed about 5 minutes or more to get into another set and be effective, others it could mean just a few breaths but I never truly bought into what someone else said because I'm very intuitive and have an understanding of my body and what I need to do to be great in the exercises I perform. Somebody can give you ideas and give you tips but in the end, it should come down to how much YOU need to be at your best. When it shoved down your throat, you can rest (no pun intended) assured that they're not looking out for your best interest. Most trainers today don't really know what the hell they're talking about and when you teach something you read out of a textbook more than teaching them to be intuitive they're not a real trainer. Through trial & error, mistakes & learning from others in the last 2 decades of being around fitness I can tell you first hand is that the more intuitive you are, the better.
A trainer ought to help students learn to rely on themselves and pass on knowledge that will give them a greater outlook that teaches about how to avoid injuries, utilize the ins and outs of being at your best from start to finish and teaching the value of recovery. I have exercised everyday for nearly 12 years, fought a few minor injuries and pushed myself in ways many can never understand but because of those experiences I have learned how to use my rest periods and be at my best whether it was for 5 minutes or more than an hour. Your rest is the key to how you perform at an optimum level. However long you rest is up to YOU not someone else.
Herb Of The Day: He Shou Wu
He Shou Wu is taken in order to slow down ageing, nourish Jing, strengthen knees, lower back, bones, muscles, tendons and fortify the blood.