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Using Short Rest Times in Exercise

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:21pm

I was reading my brother, Jimmy’s, fitness diary for Day 3 and this stood out: “during my workouts i dont actuly stop. i just switch muscles, do those reps on that particular set and then go back to the other muscle”.

This is a great point I’d like to elaborate on.  I do something similar most days.  I’ll work a set of triceps, then move to a set of biceps then back to triceps, etc.  But if it’s an alternating movement, like alternating bicep dumbbell curls or triceps kickbacks, then I’ll bounce from arm to arm until my 3 sets is completed. If I’m using a barbell or doing push ups which is bilateral (using both sides at once), then I’ll dive into another exercise back to back, like push ups, then abs and switch back and forth until done with both.

One thing to note is that you don’t want to get too crafty and set up like 5 things that you’ll bounce to.  It sounds neat and everything, but you don’t want your rest period to be too long or you’re not going to get a pump in any given muscle.

Pumped is when your muscles are engorged with blood.  It’s not just bodybuilders that want a pump, but those toning for fitness will want it too.  Know why?  Because if you are overweight at all (AT ALL!) then you are at least a little insulin resistant, which means your cells are not listening to insulin anymore.  When this happens your body has to pump more and more insulin to get your cells to “listen” and behave.  When you get a pump in a muscle, you have increased blood circulation to that muscle group and that muscle group can now “hear” insulin much better.  This is a good thing!  So remember to go for the pump… the pump means you are becoming less insulin resistant and a whole host of problems will go away if you keep it up.

If you have any questions about this article or anything else, email me at cynthia[at] and I’ll answer your question on the blog so that other readers can benefit as well.

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