Top 5 Reasons to Stop Sitting Between Sets
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We probably already agree that sitting too much is bad. So let’s talk about 5 reasons to STOP sitting between sets in the gym, whether you are doing squats, deadlifts, olympic lifting, bench press, overhead lifting, or whatever else you like doing. Here we go, in descending order:
#5 – Don’t you already sit enough?
You already sit all day at work, why the heck do you want to sit while you are at the gym? The gym is supposed to be the sanctuary hour of your day where you “un-do” all the bad stuff you put your body through during the work day. Use the FULL HOUR to get off your butt, get moving, and be productive! People frequently use the excuse that they don’t “have enough time in their day” to do mobility work, stability work, movement work, etc. Which brings us to number
#4 – Use Your Time Effectively!
The time between your strength sets is a GREAT time to get ready to improve your technique and movement for the NEXT SET. You have a window of opportunity between your sets to maximize your next set. Say, for example, you are squatting and you have a stiff upper back. Use the time between sets to mobilize your upper back and then engrain that by hitting your next set of squats. Same thing holds true if it is your ankles, your hip, etc. Want some examples: Check here, here, here, here, here, here.
#3 – Recovery
You recover better when you are moving around. You don’t recover optimally by sitting around. Blood pumps through your body via 2 pumps: 1. Your heart 2. Your muscles squeezing the blood back to your heart.
If you are sitting, you aren’t using one of the pumps the way you could be. That blood flow you aren’t getting could be clearing out waste products and supplying nutrients to your muscles for your next set. Have you ever noticed after a hard workout you recover better using a cool down vs immediately going and lying down? Well each set of a back squat session is basically a mini-workout. Your goal between sets should be to recover maximally!
#2 – Sitting is Reducing Your Low Back Strength
The lumbar spine’s ability to resist flexion reduces by 42% after being held in a flexed (rounded) position for 5 minutes. Most people sitting on a bench between sets at the gym are rounding their low backs. You can read more about the study here.
I know, you would never take 5 minutes between sets. But you don’t go from 0% reduction of stiffness to 42% reduction of stiffness at 4:59. It is a gradual onset, so even if you are sitting for 2 minutes, your lumbar spine’s ability to resist flexion will be reduced.
Don’t you want your spine to be as capable of resisting rounding and preventing injury as possible, especially when we are dealing with heavy weights?
#1 – Are You Training to Warm the Bench?
The number one reason not to sit between sets, and I am stealing the sentiment from Joe Kenn, sit on the bench between sets only if you are training to be a bench warmer!
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