active, static, recovery, rest, fitness

Which Rest Is Best?

Our expert settles the question of whether to choose active or static breaks throughout your workout.

If you’ve wondered what circumstances call for “active rest” (taking it easy while still moving) versus “static rest” (stopping completely) between sets, let us clear something up right now; static rest is never the ideal choice.

For that 60- to 90-minute period while you’re working out, the only reason you should come to a full and complete stop would be an emergency situation (as in, you're about to pass out).

That said, there’s so much more to your rests than simply resting. Just how much should you decrease the intensity? How should you be moving your body? Does it depend on the nature of your workout? We asked Hicham Haouzi, certified personal trainer and Tier 4 Coach at Equinox Columbus Circle to weigh in.

“Resting periods during workouts serve two purposes,” Haouzi says. “To get your heart rate down, and to reduce the buildup of blood lactate”—the natural byproduct of exertion that makes your limbs feel like spaghetti and can cause muscle cramps, soreness and joint pain.

Here, four ways to ensure your rests fulfill their duties: