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Sometimes the smallest adjustments pay the biggest dividends. Exercise is no exception. Tweaking the way you rest between workouts—called “active rest”—can help you milk the most out of every gym sesh. Active rest also loosens up your joints, preventing injury during exercise. So rather than end a set of reps staring at the ground with your hands on your knees, try out one of these moves and see if you recover faster.
Get ready for these active rest moves
These active rest moves can be used in between workout sessions as well. It’s up to you to figure out how much your body is able to do handle. Remember that there is no substitute for rest, so make sure you take adequate time to let your body heal before hitting the gym again.
Hands Behind Your Head
Finishing out a cardio burnout workout? Walk around with your hands behind your head, as if you were lounging on your back.
It might feel better to put your hands on your knees, but in reality, it’s actually worse. Putting your hand behind your head opens up your lungs and allows more oxygen to enter your body.
Remember to take long, deep breaths from your belly, rather than short, shallow breaths from your chest.
Bounce on Your Toes
Need a quick way to keep your heart rate up? Bounce on your toes!
You don’t need to attempt the world record for most baby hops in a minute. However, make sure you maintain a steady pace and avoid touching your heels to the ground.
You can even shadowbox with a light dumbbell in hand to incorporate a light arm burn. Punch at about 60%, focusing on proper form.
Jumping jacks keep the entire body loose while the heart continues to pump blood.
The key again is pace. Maintain a slow pace to preserve your energy for the rest of your workout.
Make sure your arm movements are dynamic. You won’t feel lighter unless you really extend your arms and legs as you jump.
Here’s one you can do in between ab exercises.
Stand up straight, clench your fists, and lock your arms in front of you at 45º angles. Keep your hands from touching (about a fist’s length apart). If done correctly, your body and arms should form a trapezoid.
Keeping your arms locked, use your midsection to twist your arms until the far arm is parallel with your stomach. Then, reverse directions. Turn deeper for an extra core burn.
Basketball players love doing calf raises before bed. Why? They’re an effective way to tack on extra leg muscle, which can help you jump higher—and possibly even dunk.
You can use them as an active rest move, especially during chest day when your legs are already inactive.
Start out with your feet flat to the ground. Slowly transfer your weight from your heels to your toes, until you are standing on nothing but your toes. Hold that posture for a few seconds, then slowly lower yourself onto your heels in the flat-footed position.
Active rest is a great way to catch your breath while still keeping your heart rate elevated.
These 5 active rest moves are great for your workout!
Photos courtesy Fit Body Boot Camp