Safety and results are the primary concerns when exercising. Striking a balance is a challenging task. Too much emphasis on one can undermine the other.

Rest based training (RBT) follows a useful protocol. It includes pushing yourself when you can give more, and taking time to rest when you risk compromising your execution of the exercise.

RBT is a system that makes rest, not work, the primary goal of the workout. It allows participants to take a rest for as long as necessary. Rest actually becomes a tool for increasing intensity, because exercisers can strategically use it to work harder than they could without rest. It also provides a buffer against overexertion, making even high-intensity workouts safe.

Essentially it is a combination of rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and self-determination theory. SDT posits that those who are given autonomy over change are far more likely to develop and maintain innate motivation.

Just think for a minute. Would you willingly sprint as hard as you want until you choose to take a break, or have someone else not feeling your exhaustion decide. It is common to see those who take the latter road holding back, keeping reserve in case they need it.

Well, if you decide when you can stop, wouldn’t that risk you slacking? Wouldn’t that make it so you can be lazier? Perhaps.

You have to take responsibility for your own exertion, and own your drive to work hard. You will have to have more innate motivation. This is known as intrinsic motivation. You decide if you live up to the “push until you can’t; rest until you can” philosophy.

Contrary to popular perception, exercisers given the ability to self-regulate exertion do not necessarily default to lower exercise intensities. Research is showing that exercisers instead work at greater intensities than predicted. This remains true so long as the intensity remains below the anaerobic threshold. This is the whole theory behind interval training, which employs rest to allow greater exertion. RBT takes this concept one step further by using rest coupled with control. This achieves the results of interval training while keeping the workout safe and appropriate for all fitness levels.

Work and rest are often viewed as opposites. In reality, they are closely linked and dependent on one another. Intense exertion is the major determinant of physical adaptation, and rest is the chief driver of intensity. Without rest, exercise must be naturally regulated with pacing strategies.

The conclusion of the research was that aerobic exercise provides an insignificant weight loss advantage over diet alone. Results showed little metabolic stimulation from moderate-intensity aerobic exercise beyond the calories burned during activity. Researchers have determined that higher-intensity exercise like weight training and interval exercise burns significantly more calories than once thought and can provide a substantial metabolic advantage. This is known as EPOC.

The trick is to adopt some of the tools and techniques of higher-intensity exercise protocols, while keeping the workouts safe and scalable for all fitness levels. The problem with most interval training is that exercisers don’t recover enough to perform at the same high intensity every time. RBT asks exercises to wait until they are capable of performing at the same weight, or speed, as their first set.

RBT Exertion Scale
1. Exerciser is at rest.
2. Exerciser is exercising but can still talk, there is no burning in muscles, and/or the weight is light.
3. Exerciser can no longer talk, there is burning in the muscle, and/or the weight is getting heavy.
4. Exerciser must rest and recover.

RBT Readiness Scale

1. Exerciser is ready for full exertion.
2. Exerciser is ready to attempt full exertion.
3. Exerciser is unable to attempt full exertion.
4. No exertion is possible.

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