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The Often Neglected Aspect of Training
What would you say is the most important aspect of your pole training? Drilling your trick? Conditioning? Stretching? Polishing your combos? Rest?
If you have said rest? High five. You’ve nailed it on the Pleaser heel.
Rest is the single most important aspect of any training schedule. It doesn’t matter what your activity of choice is. It doesn’t matter what level you are at. It doesn’t matter how well planned your training schedule is. Rest. Comes. First.
The Importance of Rest
Why is rest so dang important? Because all the under-da-hood bodily processes that actually make you more awesome need time to complete. Take collagen synthesis for example, after an appropriate load is applied, aka after training, it takes up to 48 hours for collagen synthesis to finish. This is why people who are on a tendon rehab protocol only need to do their tendon loading exercises twice a week! Making sure your body can finish the job by not overwhelming it with non-stop training is important for progress and improvement as well as to mitigate the risk of overuse injuries.
Sleep is a huge part of rest but sleep is often the first thing we sacrifice when our plates start to pile up, like when you have a comp coming up and you need to finish your routine, sort out your costume, cut your music… waaah! A lack of sleep is the bringer of many health evils, such as increasing your risk of injury, increasing your pain sensitivity, lowering your pain tolerance… etc. It is also associated with stress and anxiety. Sleeping enough and getting good quality sleep are not only important for physical performance, it is crucial for good health as well.
Your Nervous System Needs Rest Too
Your neuromotor (brain-body) pathways can fatigue, too! Have you ever drilled a trick so much that the quality of your movement got worse instead of better? You became increasingly uncoordinated and your motor control simply walked out of the studio. You felt fine physically and you weren’t tired, but it didn’t matter what you tried and how much you visualised your movement first, your body and brain just wouldn’t cooperate. Neurones that fire together, wire together, meaning if you keep repeating the same movement pattern, you get better at moving that way. This is how you get skilled at anything, not only movement, by reinforcing and refining neuromotor pathways. Persisting with low quality movements reinforces the neuromotor pathways associated with them and these low quality movements then become your default. Why on earth would you want to do that? When the quality of your movement degrades, it is time to give your nervous system the rest that it needs.
When you’re well rested, both physically and mentally, you are better able to focus, perform, and grow during your training session. A short and focused session is far more beneficial and productive than a long but distracted session. Use science to your advantage, train smart and and get the best bang-for-yo-buck out of your training effort.
So how does one do rest? Here’re two elements I believe should be prioritised for quality physical and mental rest.
- Sleep – Good quality and sufficient quantity sleep.
- Unplug from all thing pole related – This applies not just to what you do but also what you consume, unplug from social media for a thorough mental reset.
The Tell-Tale Signs
Here’re some signs to look out for that you need to up your resting game:
- Fatigue. You’re always tired.
- Your stress and anxiety are worse.
- You’re sore a lot more and for a lot longer, you may even be sore all the time.
- The quality of your movement deteriorates, your transition and lines are not as clean as they normally are.
- Tricks and combos that are normally well within your ability become heavier and messy.
- Your lose your movement options, your lose your flex in your bendy tricks and/or you lose your strength in your power moves.
- Your progress plateaus/ stagnates.
- Aches and pain, niggles, injuries.
- You’re cranky, irritable, angry.
The more of the above you experience, the more you need to take a few days off pole and sleep a lot.
Train hard, rest harder!
’Til next time, Be Free In Your Movement™.
This information is not medical advice. Got health concerns? Consult a real-life health professional.
Views are my own.