Wednesday 130403

For time:
200 Double unders
Rest one minute
Two mile run
Rest one minute
2000m row

Post results to comments and BTWB.

A gaggle of rowers!

How Much Rest Is Too Much ~ Luke Palmisano

If you’ve ever looked at the training regimens of different athletes, you may have noticed that no one regimen is the same. Everyone has a different routine. Some people work out more, some less. An interesting variable to any regimen, though, is how many rest days a given athlete gives themselves. While that is mostly up to personal preference, there are some factors to keep in mind. 

The body behaves differently than the mind. When you take a break from school, for example, you can take a summer off, come back to school, and still have retained much of the information you had received before you left. What if you took a summer off from working out? 

It would be lame, man. Real lame. De-adaptation would have inevitably taken place. Detraining occurs. Because of this, time and efforts are now spent on recovering to the level of fitness that was had before the rest period. Of course, a entire summer off may sound like an obvious example of de-training. Realistically, even shorter periods of time can cause de-training (this, from a 34-year-old who loses his fitness after a week of no WOD’s, and all the Pop Tarts he can stuff his face with). As an illustration, think of a hiker. Why would a hiker, while scaling his way to the top of a mountain, stop halfway up, go back down, and then climb back up? Because Pop Tarts are indeed that tasty? Perhaps. 

This is why we encourage new athletes to be regular, and then continue the good habits instilled therein. Prolonged interruptions are not good for an athletes health. In fact, in doing so, you add risk of injury. One reason for this is over-estimating your potential after a break. You may think to yourself, “Why, I could surely deadlift 315# for an hour straight before! Why hencely could I not do it now, after a month of rest?” In your mind, you can see yourself being successful. Unfortunately, your de-trained body is sitting back, silently chuckling to itself, as it prepares to offer a new, rather modest version of how your workout will go. Another reason for the increased risk of injury is that various motor abilities are retained differently. If you return after a lengthy rest, your new imbalance of motor abilities, for instance, between high strength and decreased flexibility, may harm your body. So, what conclusion are we left with?

Continuous training with programmed periods of rest is the goal. Constant starting and stopping, while better than nothing, will leave you in a state of fitness purgatory (I’m pretty sure I just invented the term Fitness Purgatory. Luke Palmisano 2013 ©™). This constant state of uncertainty will increase your risk of injury, and leave you constantly guessing what you are capable of during any given workout. The moral? Keep coming in, even on strength days (don’t get me started). We want you here, because we like you, and your body will thank you. 

This information is referenced from the book Science and Practice of Strength Training, written by Vladimir Zatsiorsky and William Kraemer. 


  1. James (O.G.) :

    Ummmm. . . .I’m supposed to participate in a “bloodbath” on Thursday.. . .I’ll be cherrypicking this one.

  2. Courtney :

    All I hear you saying right now James is that the word “bloodbath” strikes fear into your heart and you are sitting at home scared of a little metcon. That’s cool, whatever works for you. 🙂

  3. Fernanda :

    Great post Luke, thanks!
    I have a question though: how can I tell if I’m just being a lazy ass (those days that you just don’t feel like it) or if my body really needs a rest day? Yesterday for example, after doing HD&CC I seriously considered skipping the WOD. But then I thought “no! stop being lazy, Suck it up and do the WOD”. And so I did. Today I regret. My back hurts badly and I couldn’t sleep at night. Conclusion: today I’ll miss Oly class 🙁
    It seems to be a fine line between laziness and needed rest. I surely can’t identify yet.

    • CrossFit Verve :

      That’s a really good questions. You have to consider a few indicators that your body is telling you. Muscle soreness and fatigue is one of those. Other factors would be resting heart rate, weight gain/loss, urine shade, sleep hours, sleep quality, appetite, mood state, immune status, and your previous days performance. From what you’re describing, it sounds like you over-reached a bit. Now you know. Look at the volume of your training lately, and your overall health habits. You know now if you get to this level of training, it’s a bit too much. You’re right, it’s a fine line. You have to learn the indicators that your body is giving you before you reach the point at which you’re at today. And sometimes, we have to learn the hard way. 🙂

  4. Rob B :

    Love it! That’s going on the board “Avoid (exit??) Fitness Purgatory!”

Speak Your Mind