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Team Conditioning Systems:
It's Okay To Rest

Monday, August 27, 2001

By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Staff Writer

Athletes today are training longer and harder than ever before at all levels of competition. Multi-sport athletes and elite athletes are sometimes coerced into competing all year around and rarely get the chance between seasons to rest. To coaches and athletes alike, it's ok to rest, take some time to recharge your batteries and give your training protocol a chance to work.

When working with football athletes, it's a practice of mine to build in some time off from our training protocol. Depending on where we are in our training, that time off could be as little as a week or as much as four weeks. This time off represents our Active Rest Period. When most athletes hear the word rest they tend to think, they are to stop all activity all together. Complete rest would be a negative shock to the athlete's system. For athletes who thrive on high activity levels, this would be a poor alternative. Besides, fitness levels may decline depending on how long the athlete remained inactive.

The main objective of Active Rest is rejuvenation and recovery while maintaining a lowered level of activity. This phase is a break away from the organized workouts and practices that it is the life of a competitive athlete. It's time away from coaches who can be a little over the top, it's a time when athletes can do things they may not be able to do under game situations as well. Active Rest allows the athlete to physically and psychologically overcome the preparation of training and competing.

In our training protocol, we look at the Active Rest Period as the beginning of our training year, as well as the end to the previous years training period. It helps to create a smooth transition from one phase to another. When putting together this phase remember there should not be an abrupt stop in activity, there should be a gradual tapering off. This way the athlete is preparing for this next phase and does not go through "withdrawal" from being totally active to doing nothing at all. Finding a balance in the choice of activities that will work to maintain athletic conditioning and still allow the body to recover can be a challenge. Athletes who compete in high impact or even in collision sports, like football and basketball, we work to make sure that the moves we do are of the low to no impact variety. One of my favorite things to do is our Speed Agility and Quickness work in a swimming pool. The athletes like it, there is little stress on the joints and more importantly it's fun. Other activities can include hiking, biking stretching and swimming.

Depending on who you talk to, rest can be a big factor in a teams overall success. I cannot stress the importance of it enough. Remember to plan the rest periods of your training protocol because coaches do not plan to fail they sometimes fail to plan.

If you would like to get more information on Team Conditioning Systems programs, you can visit the web site at The web site gives the guest a better understanding of what's happening with the athletes and other things the program provides. You can also contact Rutgers 856-225-6197 or send email through the site.

Photos by Art Redd

Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig? Send it to If your question is used in an article, you will receive a free Team Conditioning Systems t-shirt.
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