THUR: “Behind the Whiteboard” — Tier 1 Rest

Fear not, while yesterday’s Behind the Whiteboard was very detailed and lengthy, this one will be shorter and more to the point.

Member Question: I’m struggling with strength days and having to complete a rep every 4-5 minutes, versus the old way of suggested rest times. Was the purpose of doing this to encourage some of us to not go as heavy, was it changed to improve the way the classes flowed, or something else?

Great question. Easy answer.

Our body uses ATP-PCr as the fuel for these 1-5R lifts, and a little bit of glycogen (stored carbs) if we take it up to 5 reps. After a set, we are completely depleted of ATP-PCr, but the good news is that it restores rather quickly.

Think about the last rep of set of five back squats as your phone dying, and the between set time as you plugging it back in for an ultra quick charge.

Physiologically, we restore ATP-PCr (aka your phone chargers) at following rates.

  1. 1 minute – 75% restored
  2. 2 minutes – 93% restored
  3. 3 minutes – 98% restored
  4. 4 minutes – 99.4% restored

(Bompa and Buzzichelli 2005)

Weightlifting recovers even faster because there is little to no eccentric component, thus minimal muscle damage and lower CNS demands.

This means a few things are likely the cause.

  1. You’re Going Too Heavy – You’re frying your CNS and hitting a near failure on your sets. When you hit failure, that’s it for the day. You cannot match output. There’s a reason we prescribe a percentage range, and we’re not all going to be at the exact same one.
    Solution: Reduce load.
  2. You’re De-Conditioned – Remember that there is absolutely a conditioning component to 5R sets, and it may be that you simply need more conditioning and consistency at that relative work output. It could mean that your body has not seen enough consistency at that rep and load scheme, and craves it.
    Solution: Get in more often on dedicated strength Tier 1’s.
  3. You’re Under Fueled – At 5R, we are using a bit of glycogen to finish off the set. If you are on a low carb diet, you may be experience fatigue and an inability to recover between sets. This is the least likely scenario, but worth mentioning.
    Solution: Get at least 1g of carbs per pound of bodyweight per day.

By supporting rest periods beyond that, we were supporting inefficient physiological loading. We were supporting a lack of 5R conditioning by allowing as much as rest as you want, and sending the message that we didn’t care if you performed the second tier.

If you absolutely need longer than four minutes, I am not here to tell you that you’re wrong, just that the prescribed rest is physiologically adequate to maintain output that creates adaptation.

Any longer does not produce a trade off worthy of taking time away from valuable conditioning to follow.


Thursday, 10.11.18

3×8’ Density Circuits
8 KB Around the World
8 Side Lunges
20 Plate Toe Taps

Rest 3’–

20 Standing Russian Slams/30 Rope Waves
10 Bodyweight Squats
10 DB Push Press
100m Run

Rest 3’–

10 DB Curtsy Lunges
10 Low Plank Hip Drops
10 Plyo Lunge Jumps
100m Row