The two most common critiques we receive from parents of athletes in our Scholastic program is that we let the kids rest too long or the kids aren’t exhausted when they leave training. There’s often times an expectation that you’re paying for constant vomit-inducing movement for the duration of a session and anything less is money wasted. While there’s certainly a time and a place for this type of conditioning, the reality is quite different. Hard training is easy to do. Anyone can put together a training routine that makes someone nauseous. It’s much harder to put together a training routine that is smart and effective. There are some sessions that actually NEED more rest within the session to accomplish the goals set out for the session. Interested in knowing why? Read on….
The main reason why Athletic Lab and other scientifically informed coaches use longer rest periods during certain workouts than what may be considered normal at your typical practice is because we understand that in order to work on true speed and strength work there needs to be adequate rest. The body is like a rechargeable battery. If you do something hard, the battery becomes depleted. If you let the battery recharge then it will continue to work well. But on the other hand, if you don’t recharge the battery it will quickly deplete and eventually cease to provide energy. Not only that, but there is some evidence that a skill needs to be performed in excess of 10,000 times for mastery. If the skill we’re working on is speed and strength related, and we do that skill slowly or with low force output, then we will be teaching ourselves to do the activity slowly and with less than desired power (something that’s bad even in sports with high requirements of endurance). This is not to say that an athlete does not need to do any conditioning, because at Athletic Lab we believe that is very important, but we have designated sessions for this and believe that speed and conditioning work should be separated as to not confuse the body. We have a more detailed scientific explanation below as to why the body needs adequate rest during true speed and strength work and have provided several links supporting this practice. Our top goal is to make an athlete faster and this is the best way to do it. So the next time you see some coach doing “wind sprints” to the point of exhaustion you should think twice as to what they are actually accomplishing.
ATP is the primary form of energy used in exercise and movement. Creatine Phosphate helps readily provide the muscles with more energy when the ATP energy is depleted. When the Creatine Phosphate is depleted (usually takes about 10 seconds of maximal effort for this to happen) the body goes to other forms of ways to produce energy. Sprinting is a prime example of a way to deplete this extra Creatine Phosphate. When this happens the body needs rest if we’re expecting it to continue to operate at a high level. Approximately every 30 seconds the Creatine Phosphate system can ‘recharge’ up to 50% of it’s fuel. So after 30 seconds 50% of the Creatine Phosphate would be back and ready to go (which isn’t a lot). Approximately a minute later, half of that is ‘recharged’ so 75% would be available and so on. After 3 minutes of rest, approximately 99% of the Creatine Phosphate would be back and ready to produce energy for the body. This is why rest is so important in the development of speed and strength.