Rest Days & the Exhaustion Stage

As athletes we need to train- and we need to train hard; However, if we don’t allow sufficient time for the body to complete the repair process, we run the risk of moving into ‘exhaustion’. In this stage, cells are not fully repaired before again encountering a demand they cannot meet. (ex. for instance, if your strength program calls for 5 sets of 3 front squats @90% of your 1RM and you spend the next two days moving gingerly and wincing from the resulting DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), its not going to be a good idea to program another heavy leg movement for a few days at the risk of doing damage; this is when injury occurs). Over time, insufficient repair time, stemming from training sessions that are too intense (RX’ing a workout that you should have scaled), too frequently, leads to overtraining and insufficient recovery means poor physical performance (WOD times get worse and loads that were previously easier get difficult).
Yet don’t get it confused- A good athletes training program is to be constantly varied, in which muscles and energy systems regularly encounter an unaccustomed stress to which will be and should be difficult, but a healthy body will have no choice but to respond and adapt with willingness to improve and grow stronger.
By virtue of its structure, the body adapts and can go further than the average person pushes it- but for the Elite athlete that presses it faster than it adapts, risks overtraining and exhaustion. Remember that rest is NOT laziness and it truly is part of the program.

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