T Nation

Active Rest Inspired Routine


Recently I have looked at the Indigo team videos and CT uses active rest between sets where he does a antagonist small muscle group exercise.Instead of just resting 1 min and then hit the next set he does active rest by doing curls or something between the rest.

For example would doing a complex like this be a good idea?
Incline press
-Active rest(Ez bar curl)
Flat press
-Active rest(Incline curl)
Floor press
-Active rest(pinwheel curl)
Floor power fly
-(Active rest db curl)

In theory this seems to be very good for density and volume but i wonder if causes to much CNS fatigue.

For Back/Biceps one can do active rest with lateral raises
for delts/trap one can do biceps again.

What do you think of this approach?


And, it has begun.

Yes, thats great. Do it. Have fun with it.

But for the love of everything sacred, stop using "CNS fatigue".

Don't post about it. Do it, THEN come back and tell us how awesome of a pump you got from the light weights.

CNS fatigue. Most overused syndrome after FFB.


For Pressing, I would target the rhomboids rather than biceps for active rest. To some extent, the bis are involved/stimulated during a pressing movement. With Back - triceps, Legs - lateral head. If all else fails, calves or abs. Just my 2 cents.


doesnt sound like a shitty idea, ill tell you though for me im starting to get to the point where weight is really heavy and the only think i like to do while im resting is NOTHING. I used to do abs between every set back when i first started lifting and i didnt need a whole minute to recover. but now days i'm really out of breath after every set and i feel like im going to pass out and die if i do anything other than rest.

but no in theory if your cardio is well and you can handle heavy lifting with active recovery it sounds great as long as you figure out a way to do it without ruining you lifting.

for instance i know if im hitting chest on monday i wouldnt want to do biceps for active recovery if my next workout was a back day, (like working out your biceps two days in a row) ive known some people that do things like that but i dont like to. i would schedule it so that every muscle group had atleast 2 or 3 days of rest between workouts.

just my two cents, do what you want.


What is good to do on Delt/Traps day as active rest? Biceps again?


Active rest isn't a new concept, it's just been popularized recently by CT and his methods. Not saying it's not good, but I think u may be overthinking it a bit.

If you have a bodypart you want to bring up or hit multiple times, let's say calves, just do that in between sets of rows or presses. If traps, throw in some shrugs, etc....don't overcomplicate it.


You can make use of the approach as a means to get more 'work' in for a lagging bodypart (one that won't interfere with the main targeted muscle being trained on that day), or as more of a recovery aid (ie. eccentricless work to improve nutrient delivery to the muscle groups hit the previous day).



Thanks for your input Stu,since you are training with CT right now using active rest,i have a question. How does active rest affect CNS? Not much or will it make the CNS burn out faster therefore not being able to do as much volume for the main muscle groups.


CT had a pretty lengthy explanation yesterday about how the focus on intense, and proper periworkout nutrition will take care of what some people seem to feel is excessive work. He's always been quick to point out the large amounts of volume, and high frequency world class athletes routinely handle.

Obviously the average gym rat who can't even tell you how many grams of protein a day he's ingesting isn't going to be able to recover from such sessions.

Of course everyone's recovery abilities are different, but if you're able to stimulate a growth response, and manage fatigue while doing so, you should be able to handle a good amount of work without fretting over your nervous system.