Rest Day?

Jessica RiceJessica Rice Member Rank ✭5✭

Is incorporating a rest day beneficial when strength training?

Let me give some background for the question - I spent quite a bit of time training for half marathons about five years ago. During that time, I read a great deal about the sport, and most sources counselled a rest day following the lengthiest run of the week. Articles like those found in Runner's World stated that a rest day should not include anything strenuous. My husband, who always concentrated on strength training, never wanted to take a rest day.

Five years later, I am back on the fitness wagon, taking strength and fitness classes at AFS, in addition to resuming running again. Which brings me to my aforementioned question.


  • Jessica RiceJessica Rice Member Rank ✭5✭

    Really good information. Thank you!

  • Mike StackMike Stack Member, Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    I'll also add to what @Stephanie Carroll said, activity recovery is also great. It's actually far better than passive recovery. Moving around more is a great way to speed up the recovery process. As Sawyer points out rest is very important, however rest can take on different forms; it can mean doing nothing, but it also mean doing some cross-training or just being active. I think rest days are essential, however I also think staying active every day is best for health and active recovery.

    Michael E. Stack, BS CFP CSCS*D CPS
    AGENT OF CHANGE, CEO, & Exercise Physiologist

  • Beth ManoogianBeth Manoogian Member Rank ✭7✭

    I generally find my exercise performance is better the day after a rest day. I took a couple rest days before my most recent strength test and far exceeded what I thought I was capable of lifting. My rest days might be an outdoor walk, low impact peloton class, yoga or restorative yoga, or just stretching and/or a bath but if I don't take them, I know I am more likely to be either sore or injured so I force myself to take at least one per week. (Mentally I'd do two workouts daily if I had the time and wouldn't end up injured).

    I also stretch before and after every workout and if I can, stretch a little before bed as well.

  • Chris FirlikChris Firlik Member Rank ✭4✭

    I really like Sawyer's point about it depending. I play a full-contact sport, and even among my teammates, we all set up our weekly workout lives very differently. One friend will do two (or even three!) 30-minute workout classes, then come to our 2.5 hour scrimmage practice directly afterward. I'd love to do this, but my body usually can't take it. I have more orthopedic issues than she does (even though we're both young and relatively healthy), and I also know that most of the time I do not sleep deeply or long enough. So for me, I can go to practice or do an hour workout almost every day, but I don't usually double up. And Fridays are my all-out rest day—this one day per week I usually don't do anything beyond exist as a human and do normal daily tasks. If at some point my recovery changes, for instance, I might change my workout schedule—but for now I have tried to pay attention to all of the factors than go into why I'm doing things the way I'm doing them.

  • Heidi MorrisHeidi Morris Member Rank ✭7✭
    edited November 2019

    I always encourage people to get outside and walk, even in the winter! I never, ever would have done that until we moved and have to walk to school. However, it is AWESOME to be out, even in the cold, and it is perfect for in-between heavier workout days. I recommend thinking of it as a rest for your mind especially. No music, no texting etc. Take time to notice the sky, the clouds, the nature and sounds. It really is good medicine for your mind and body!

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