T Nation


I have experimented with the following types of active rest:

Scheduled: 1 week off for every 4 of training

Instinctive: 1 week off whenver I feel training slipping

Reduction: drop to 40% volume whenever I feel training slipping.

Which methods have worked best for you?

It depends, if I have a scheduled break that comes during a program, I take it. The pros (to be read as strength coaches, not the mutants on stage) put them there for a reason. If I’m feeling just drained or over stressed, sometimes I just take one. You gotto do what your body is asking for though.

Listen to your body and pros, they know best!

I have to put the vote in to follow your body. If you are feeling strong and making
steady gains, why derail the momentum just because it says so on paper. Conversely, if you are feeling worn down, why risk harm just because you are scheduled to peak that week?
I would also say sometimes you need to take time completely off, sometimes it is best just to cut back on volume/intensity. Unless I am hurt or sick, this seems to be the best method, as I am not breaking my patterns.
Being in the Army, I don’t have to worry much about planning breaks. Due to one thing or another, something always comes up at least every other month that will get me away from the gym for a while. Although this is often two steps forward/ one step back, it does give me a break and chance to refresh/recover.

While I have traditionally used the follow your body method over the past 16 years of lifiting, I wonder if planned breaks would lead to better overall gains? For instance, when I finally ‘decide’ to take a break have I already had a few weeks of diminishing returns that I could have avoided If I had had a more scheduled deconditioning or break?