Active Rest

Saturday, July 20th 2013


Hip DROM Goblet squats (moderate/light KB 2×10)
Gymnastic Leg swings x10 forward/backward/lateral
Hollow Rocks 2×15 seconds


Smolov Squat Cycle:

10X3 @ 85%+, rest at least 2 minutes

Notes:If last week’s squats were all easy, and you had zero problem with any reps, you may add between 10 & 20# this week. If they became difficult in the last few sets, and you experienced some legitimate soreness, add between 5 & 10#. If you could not complete all sets, could not walk because you were so sore, and you cursed my name daily, then do not add weight.  The maximum additional weight should be no more than 30lbs over your first week.


10 minutes to work to a max Power Snatch for the day, then:
EMOM for 10 minutes: 2 Power Snatches @ 80% of today’s max.


Classic Conditioning

4 rounds
30 sec KB swings
30 sec rest

4 rounds
30 sec burpees
30 sec rest

Rest 1 minute, then perform:

4 x 200m sprint, rest 30 seconds between

Notes:  Score will be total reps plus total time to complete the runs


Advanced Conditioning:  

For 6 minutes

On the 30 sec perform 10 KB swings (72/53)
20 double unders

 Notes: Scale the number of KB swings to something you can complete unbroken consistently for all 6 minutes. You will get very little rest. If you cannot consistently perform 20 unbroken double unders, scale the number or perform parallette jump overs. This conditioning should have very little rest, fight to stay with it. If you do not complete the work within your interval, stop that movement and move on to the next interval. Your score at the end will be the number of successfully completed intervals.

Cool Down/Summer Six Packs:

Overhead Band Distraction 1min
Couch Stretch 1min
Toes to Bar 2×15
Good Mornings 2×15


Now thats a rest break

Active Rest:

I read an interesting article on the website, regarding the benefits of taking full advantage of your days off, without “active rest”. This really hit home for me personally due to the high volume of Games training that we have been doing lately, my body has been feeling absolutely wrecked by the time our two off days roll around. The thought of doing anything on these days almost makes me nauseous. But in Crossfit, its very common for the phrase “active rest” to be used on your off/recovery days.  

Well what is active rest, anyway? The definition varies greatly depending on who you talk to. Some experts think that pulling a weighted sled for 20 min is “active rest”. Others say that going for a 2-3 hour hike is considered “active rest”. I’ve also heard that active rest time should be used to learn a new sport. Once again the definition here is cloudy, does it mean go an play basketball for 2 hours or learn how to shoot a jump shot? The answer: it depends.

Why do people feel that they NEED to stay active on their rest days? I agree with LBEB, in that there are two reasons. People are either addicted to exercise and/or they feel like they will lose any gains that they’ve made. I understand that some of you might just want to take a break from being in the gym, and get outdoors. But there is a huge difference between wanting to do something active vs. feeling the need to stay active.

So this brings me to my opinion.  Listen to your body. Period. I say this all the time but its so true. We all have differences in thresholds for exercise, nutrition, sleep cycles, jobs, responsibilities, etc. So stop feeling the need to cheat yourself of a true rest day if your fellow workout buddies are doing something vigorous as an active rest. Why even have a rest day? The whole purpose of a day off from the gym to allow your body to rebuild what you have so badly broken down. If its going through a constant catabolic state, you will never allow the tissues to repair and grow. Sure its possible to still make gains, but I promise you, the gains made with true off days will be much greater. The best evidence are vacations that I’ve taken. Every time I leave the gym for a few days, I always notice that I come back refreshed and ready for PR’s. I also know that psychologically, it feels great to just relax and not have to worry about keeping your body in a current state of exercise. I don’t know the physiological basis for this, I just am speaking from personal experience. Its very easy to burn out if you feel the constant need to exercise.

When is active rest ok? Once again, listen to your body. If you just did 3-4 days in a row of Crossfit programing and your feeling great, sure, go surfing for a few hours or feel free to go for a hike with a vest on. Stay active if your body is up for it and mentally you’re ready.

When is active rest not recommended? If you’re 1) walking around always sore, 2) in a constant state of fatigue and lethargy 3) feeling burnt out 4) injured and 5) if you are on a specific program training for a competition. In the last scenerio, rest should be a part of your training program. It should be honored and taken seriously, just the same as any intense CF workout.    

What about mobility/stretching? I would say that you can mobilize and stretch every day for the rest of your life. As long as your not creating an instability of some sort. Keeping up with these two things will enhance your rest days by facilitating healing, decreasing soreness, improving range of motion and preventing injury.

Stay healthy my friends. When its a rest day, don’t be afraid to REST!

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