When it comes to exercising most of us want to get it done and move on with our day. The same goes for physical therapy. The number one excuse why patients haven’t done their exercises is that they didn’t have time. So, if we’re all concerned about not having enough time then why not just cut out the rest periods? Rest and recovery are two very important parts of any fitness program—whether it be for personal fitness or a physical therapy program. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when you feel like cutting your rest periods short.
Compensation- When your muscles get too tired other body parts over compensate. For example, you may start to feel pain in your low back or shoulders when that is not a muscle that you are working out. By allowing a short rest period, your muscles have a chance to recover so that they can perform the movement correctly and safely for the following sets.
Goals- Depending on what your goals are will determine how long your rest periods should be. For endurance training, or high rep training, the rest periods will be shorter. This also applies to when you first start gaining strength like we do in physical therapy. In this case allow 30-45 seconds between sets for optimal results. If you are working on a hypertrophy goal or an advanced strengthening program you may have to allow a few minutes (2-5 min) between each set.
Recovery- Muscles break down and get tiny tears in them when you are strength training. This is what allows them to rebuild stronger and to grow, but that process takes time. It is a good idea to rest 24-48 hours between workouts, especially if your muscles are feeling fatigued. If you try and keep training over sore muscles, it can cause injury and in the case of physical therapy, a longer time to heal.
Using these guidelines will help you to see optimal results in your strength training programs. If you feel like you need more guidance, feel free to reach out, as we are always here to help people on the road back to health and fitness. We want everyone to feel confident in their home exercise programs and get the results that they desire. As tempting as it may be sometimes, cutting corners, or in this case cutting out your rest periods, will not be helpful in the long run!