Too many people who are new to fitness, the concept of “What is Active Rest in Exercise” appears to be an oxymoron. Many people are not familiar with what active rest actually is. Furthermore, they are unaware of its enormous benefits. Simply put, active rest allows you to take advantage of the rest period between sets. Therefore, instead of doing nothing but resting, you end up doing a completely different exercise between sets. When implemented properly, active rest allows you to keep working out between sets and makes your workout more efficient and effective. Therefore, you will be able to see the results of your hard work in the gym much sooner.


There are many ways in which active rest can be incorporated into a workout. One example of active rest is skipping for 30 seconds to one minute between sets of pushups. When you do pushups, you work your chest, arm and core muscles. Then, when you skip between your sets of pushups, you also end up working on your cardiovascular fitness and coordination. This, in turn, will help you burn more calories during your workout. Another example of active rest is doing jump squats in between sets of bicep curls. When you are doing bicep curls, you are putting a lot of pressure on your biceps. However, if you do 10-15 jump squats in between sets of bicep curls, you will also end up strengthening and toning your quads, calves, glutes and hamstrings. As we can see, almost any exercise that uses a different muscle group or a different energy system can be done during the “rest” period between sets. When you use a different muscle group in between sets, you end up giving the muscle group that you are training a break without having to stop exercising at all.

Benefits of Active Rest

Now that we know what active rest is, let’s examine some of the benefits. First, as previously mentioned, active rest will help you burn more calories during your workout. This is because instead of resting, you are still moving your body. The more you move your body, the more calories you burn. As you know, the more calories you burn, the more fat you will be able to lose over time. Furthermore, you will keep your heart rate higher throughout the whole workout, which will make it more challenging. The more challenging your workout is, the more progress you will see throughout your fitness journey. Some studies have even shown that adding a cardiovascular activity in between sets of strength exercises helps improve performance during the strength session. Active rest will also allow you to cover more muscle groups during your workout. Therefore, if you are short on time, opting to do a different exercise between your sets is the best way to make the most out of your workout.

As you can see, you will achieve better results if you opt to incorporate active rest into your workouts. Active rest offers a great way to alleviate boredom between sets and is a much better choice than checking your phone as you wait to do your next set. If you are not seeing results from your hard work in the gym, this may be a great way to give your workout a boost.