One of my pet peeves in the gym is to see people chatting or being intensely busy with their phone. They do their set and then go back to their phone or their conversation. Time between sets and exercises is not free time. Here’s how you can turn this rest time to your advantage for a better workout.
Use this time to rehydrate yourself. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Even if you are not, take a sip or two to top up your water intake. Well-hydrated muscles work better as they contain more electrolytes.
Rest time doesn’t mean taking a nap. It can be more active such as stretching the muscles that you just worked to speed up recovery and retain suppleness. There is still controversy as to whether stretching should be done before or after a workout or to be more precise, before or after warming up. Some say that stretching cold muscles could cause minute tears in them. Others say that stretching is part of a warm-up routine. You decide…
After a physical effort, it’s time for a mental one. Perhaps the most important thing you can do between workouts apart from resting is to mental concentration on the next set ahead. Think about your next exercise, think about how you will perform it and how much you should lift. Visualise your muscles working hard and yourself achieving or exceeding the number of reps you need to perform. This mental concentration will help you enormously in your progress in the gym.
Thinking ahead is good but so is thinking back about what you just did. Evaluate your last set or series of sets and if you’re at the end of your workout, evaluate it too. How was your last set? Did you achieve the number of reps you set out to do? Did you exceed them? How are you feeling? If you are feeling very good, fresh and full of confidence, perhaps you should increase the weight or reps in your next set even more than you planned to. Your energy level and mood varies all the time. Today you can be in better or worse form than last time so what you planned for today may have to be revised up or down. So during your rest between sets, think about how you did on your last workout to decide how you need to do on your next one.
Now you have no reason to feel bored between sets in your training routine. Leave your phone in the lockers, close out the outside world and focus on only you and the weight.