Active rest

Yesterday my trainer introduced me to the idea of “active rest.”

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that’s a little oxymoronic.  If you’re active you’re necessarily not resting.  This is why you don’t catch people doing sit ups while also napping.  Immediately I thought it was yet another fitness misnomer.

This website says active rest is one of three things, either stretching, hydrating, or fine-tuning your form.  My trainer has not read that website.  For him “active rest” means exercising in between your exercises.  It’s doing high knees for 45 seconds and then going right back into bench-pressing heavy weight.

And yet, it works.  It beat my ass but I felt great yesterday and am feeling pretty good, albeit gloriously sore, today.  Still, the idea of active rest makes me giggle a little bit.  :)

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Freethoughtstorm

    Active rest is thumbs up. Have you ever done dropsets or supersets? Don’t plan on doing much the next day :)

  • ischemgeek

    We do it all the time in my martial arts club. Running to pushups to running to situps to running to jumping jacks etc.

    We do a lot of running because as every good self-defense school will tell you, the best way to win a fight is to avoid it altogether.

    I don’t normally go to the gym, though. I don’t know many people who like doing the gym thing, and if I’m alone, I get bored and aggravated with waiting for machines. I just find it very un-fun. Typically, I’ll McGyver home furniture into workout equipment instead of going to a gym.

  • Rory

    JT, if you don’t mind a tangent, are you at all familiar with this book by Jonathan Bailor (

    Somebody on one of the other FTB boards recommended it, but from the Amazon description I can’t tell if it’s science or science-ish.

    Pardon the digression.

    • JT Eberhard

      Never heard of it. :(

      • Rory

        Cool,thanks for the information. I’m vaguely curious, so maybe this warrants a trip to the library.