I’m a 46 year old man.  I’ve been working out or been active my entire life.  As I’ve gotten older, I have a certain annual plan that I do with my workouts.  My workouts are centered around 4 month training plans, which in a year means I cycle through these 3 times.

Within this training plan, I factor in certain rest periods.  These rest periods aren’t just rest per se, but rest from lifting in particular.  Maybe, I want to rest my muscles and joints from lifting or maybe I just want to shock the system again by doing nothing and then start back into it.

But, I do rest.  Usually my rests are for a week at a time and I center them around my vacations and the end of the year holidays.

I have a family spring break where I plan a rest.  In August, I have our annual trip up to our cabin in Canada.  Finally, the two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s I just take off since who knows what will be happening then.

Let me clarify what I consider a rest.  For me, I don’t do any weight training, but everything else is fair game.

I could continue to do cardio, but usually no more than 3 times during that week.  It is also my time to try different activities.  Maybe I’ll play racquetball for exercise.  Or maybe my cardio consists of swimming.

These past two weeks, I wanted to give yoga a try.  I did not get around to it, but Heidi if you are reading this, I will.

The point is I try to give my body a rest from the weights and have it do something else that it isn’t used to.  This is a change of pace for the body.   When I return to lifting, yes I will be sore, but my body will have broken the monotony of the previous routine and ready to continue to grow and develop.

Yes, even at my age that will happen.

This could certainly apply to your athletes as well.

These kids are getting more and more involved with year round sports for just one sport.  This is a lot of stress on these young bodies, still in developmental stages.  So, when they have the opportunity to take a few weeks off from their sport they should.

Maybe in their case, complete rest is what is called for.  Shut it down completely.  Enjoy your gaming stations and lounge on the couch.

In other cases, maybe doing a different activity is the shock their bodies need.  Where I give up strength training for a week, primarily because that is my sport, I’m not a full-time athlete like these kids.  During their rest though, they could pick up strength training and not do their sport.  This would be called an “active rest.”

Give your body the rest that it needs from your sport, but challenge it in other ways such as strength training.  At the very least, strength training is going to make your athletes stronger and help develop those weaker muscles that could get injured.  Especially, if those weaker muscles are playing sports all the time.  Injuries could be right around the corner.

Learn about rest and how it might help you out.  Don’t just shut everything down.  That might not be the type of rest your body calls for.  Whether it is total rest or an active rest, get rest into your schedule.  You don’t have to be a 46 year old man to implement that training protocol.