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Are Breaks & Rest Getting In the Way of Your Fitness Progress?

I see it all the time… a client of 2-3 years is on his/her 1st set of the first exercise on Monday morning, and 10 reps into it, he/she takes a break.  Really?  Seriously?

You are supposed to feel the burn… exercise is supposed to hurt (to a point), that is how you get stronger.  If you don’t like to feel the burn, then welcome to your comfort zone and a steady dose of never getting any better.

That’s right: training with too much rest is, really, like running on a treadmill. You’re putting in lots and lots of work, but, geographically, you’re not getting anywhere.

Do You REALLY Need to Take A Break?

This is the $64 million question, and that’s because it’s a tough one to answer.

This certainly varies, but generally speaking, you should try to keep breaks during sets to a minimum and ask your trainers for ways to effectively minimize those breaks.  And you should focus on staying on time with rest periods in between sets.

A few other tips include:

  • If you can complete the 1st set without a break this week, but on the 2nd set you need to break, that is fine. Next week, shoot for no breaks on the 2nd set.  Or take less of a break.
  • Define what you breaks will look like for each exercise. For instance, laying down, dropping to your knees, shaking it out… but how long do you lay there? Ask your trainer if there is there a way to take a break without breaking your form or the way the exercise is done.
  • When your trainer starts to count down (5,4,3…) do you stop as soon as they say 5, or do you push until they say STOP… might you have been able to squeeze out one or two more reps?
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