Resting The Right Way: How to use the inevitable rest period mid WOD to the fullest
One of the best pieces of wisdom I read long ago pertaining to resting and CrossFit training is to change how we use it and ultimately perceive it’s existence. If rest is just a necessity due to our limits of fitness, rest is associated with being lazy, cheating, poor work ethic, generally something wrong. What if we started seeing rest as necessary, yes, but also having value for it’s importance in setting up our next piece of our plan? If resting was just us calling time out to refocus steps and objectives, gone is the negative and in is the value. This can lead to us actually planning our rest in compliment to our work, leading to most efficient usage of our time in training efforts.
Think of a workout that has 100 pull-ups which we will pretend is a strength, followed by 2 others movements that will make the workout a 15-20 minute slog. A 5 second rest during the pull-ups might seem like nothing, or it can be your prep time needed for your next big set of pull-ups. Since every large set is you using your strength in the WOD to your advantage in the effort to finish and possibly finish faster related to others, even that 5 seconds becomes a key to your success.
We all wish we could be superhumans like Stacey and go through 15-20 minutes of strenuous exercise without stopping. Unfortunately many of us can’t and need some time off during workouts. This is actually very normal. Truth be told, Stacey and other elite competitors like her rest just the same as the rest of us. Just the same as in they DO rest, but not just the same as in they do it with such purpose and efficiency it’s barely seen as resting.
Like the work we do in WODs, resting is best done with a plan. Reality is our work plan and rest plan can and should go hand in hand since one comes from the existence of the other, i.e. we stop working by default starts our resting. Like most everything we do in our training, having a plan for your rest, from when to how long to should it be weighted more or less in certain parts, can greatly affect the outcome of your workout. Also the nature in which you rest matters to get the most from the hopefully short time you take for breaks.
Work With a Plan, SO Rest With a Plan
We all know that CrossFit is as much mental as it is physical. Going into a workout, or movement, uncertain of our ability to do it affects our…ability to do it. It also messes with our head so much that physiologically we can feel that doubt as well. Elevated stress levels affect breathing for one, and it’s been shown to even affect the body’s ability to perform normal functions of exertion like sweating (heat regulation) and lactic cycle (removing lactic acid to allow for more work). Controlling stress and self doubt is an animal all in itself, but what we can do to help us mentally is have a plan both for the work we want to get done but also how it pertains to our rest.
Think of the workout “DT”. 5 Rounds of 12-9-6 Deadlift, Hang Clean, Shoulder to OH. Think of those movements and you will notice they all basically end into each other. Top of a deadlift is start of hang clean, top of hang clean is start of STOH, and so on. So if you are going to be resting, you want to try and do it so you add as little work as possible to your sets. You can drop the deadlift at 11, then when you do the 12th you are done and already picked up for the hang clean. Dropping the clean and especially the STOH to rest just adds another clean to get the bar to the starting position, so break that up with a plan as well.
Every set in every workout can be thought of this way. Something I always say is break your work in just over half. So a set of 21 like in this Tuesday night’s workout, do at least 11. Then not only are you breaking it up with a plan to have less work ahead of you than what you did, but that helps your mental outlook on the workout as well. If you just go at work sets until you are tired with no plan or goal, I guarantee you will break it up sooner than you should. This is a mental game ruiner.
Rest When Resting
I saw this happening all over the place in this Tuesday’s workout. People resting during Pull-ups with their hands still on the pull-up bar, resting in HSPU still in a handstand. I see it all the time with hang barbell movements by people resting while holding the bar in the hang. All of this might be resting in comparison to the work you were doing, but you aren’t fully allowing your body to let go of the tension in your body. Holding onto the pull-up bar keeps the forearms under tension which even if ever so slightly keeps your body from being able to fully flush them out. Same with holding onto a bar in the hang. Anytime you aren’t actually doing work you should let you body FULLY rest, or else you are wasting your taken rest time anyways.
Failure Rest Is Bad, and Rest In The Right Place
We all have been in a set of double unders where we have 30 in our heads as the goal and then trip up at 5. Where the problem with this arises is when, even though we just rested for 20 seconds, we rest a full rest time after the 5 in a kind of pity party/excuse to rest, but didn’t to the work to deserve it. When this happens it’s absolutely fine, but get back on the horse and get going until you earn that rest.
Another resting faux pas is the ol’ 30 ft radius resting area. It’s true that the closer we are to the equipment we are working with the more apt to use it we are. Toes to bar are an example of a movement where we can take ourselves way too far away from our work area, therefore breaking any sense of urgency to get it done. You know the move, when we finish a rep and ride the kip about 25 feet away from the bar, then grab chalk, toss a couple “MF Lando” comments, then make the long trek back to the bar. Practice keeping your eyes on the bar for pull-up rig movements, or staying a step away at most from your barbell. For things like Burpees and Box Jumps, think about the fact you can lay on the ground or stand on top of the box respectively and be halfway done with a rep. Now THAT is resting smart.