Programming Rest


Rest between ruckus. Many of you notice that WGA programming has more rest descriptions than anywhere else in our business.  Why?  Because rest periods are as important to programming as the progressions or actual work.
For some quick hits on our rest period rationale:

  • Rest to recover – this means allowing full rest to recover.  Each bout should allow the athlete to be completely recovered.  This generally follows a maximal set or a block with higher capacity needs.

  • Rest as needed – this is largely based on the athlete population.  This is a coach's decision based on how the programming affected the athletes.  It may also be based on your timeline of the session and how long you need to adjust the rest to get the session done on time.

  • Rest 3-5 minutes – this is based on recent science and research.  This is a sufficient amount of time to transition from a strength-based movement(s) to another metabolic pathway set.  The fitter the athlete, the shorter the rest.  Coaches, you can base this on load factor for the athletes or based on the context of the training week (if it’s later in the week you may want to go 5 min.)

  • Ratio – The general rule of thumb is to determine work to rest ratio (W:R) based on the energy system requirement.  For aerobic efforts, a 1:1 ratio is suggested.  For anaerobic or higher intensity efforts, a 1:3 is suggested. Here is the key – these are minimums! More may be better for some athletes. 

  • PHYF – Pending how you feel. This allows some freedom based on how the athlete feels.  As you know, some days you feel like chewing on nails and some days you feel like you’re dragging a sled.  It’s okay to vary rest periods within a set or between blocks of training.  As a coach, be sure to communicate to your athletes – you may need to encourage how they are feeling too (ha).

Research & Science