Active Rest: Doing the Small Things

The American Open (this past weekend) marks an important Anchor Date for the Annual California Strength Olympic weightlifting programs and as a successful year of training and competition draws to a close, the focus shifts from PR crushing preparation to stepping back and planning for the year ahead.

Following the completion of a macrocycle, it is beneficial to prescribe at least one complete week off from training. Stepping away from the barbell allows time for the body to work out any aches and pains that may have amassed from a year’s worth of hard training and allows your Central Nervous System to recharge.  Although some athletes may not feel that they need a week off, it is an important preventative step in preventing overtraining in the next Macrocycle.  Following a complete week off, a reactivation week provides the perfect opportunity to zero in on any technical deficiencies that may prevent you from PR'ing in the future. 

2012 '105kg' Olympic Champion Aleksey Torokhtiy has stressed with great importance the benefits of building Active Rest into regular training routines.  Aleksey recalled spending his "off" days working in the gym with just a bar using a series of focused exercises that targeted both mobility and technique.  By doing this extra work, he was able to spend little energy while still improving both feeling and technique.  As a result his body rarely went a day without some form of activity.  Implementing bar work as a type of Active Rest can provide a great training benefit with little energy expenditure and as seen in Torokhtiy’s case.. a successful lifting career free from major injury.  

If your lifting technique is not sound, your body will quickly begin to let you know.  Being accountable to your technique means prioritizing warm-ups on training days to include using just the bar and lower weights to setup proper movement before jumping into your workout.  By working in the exercises listed below during your week off and reactivation week; you can help to reduce injury while improving your lifting technique at the same time.  Ultimately, the best results will come to those who find the time to include Active Rest during their regularly scheduled training weeks across the entire Macrocycle. 

A body in motion, stays in motion… true for your (active) Rest days too.

Active Rest Challenge:

During your normal training cycles, choose one day of the week that is scheduled as a complete rest day and work the following exercises below using just the bar and going no heavier than 40 kilograms.  

3 Sets of 3 Reps each:

Torokhtiy Block High Pulls (Snatch Grip) | Slow Snatch | Plyometric Snatch

Slow Clean from Power Position | Slow Clean from Floor

Sots Press | Jerk Balance

Gain access to Demo Videos for all of these exercises as a member of the California Strength Club or Elite programs on TrainHeroic!  

Sign up now at