By Jacob Sterny, Head Coach, Valhalla Barbell Club


In today’s article we are going to cover the pace of a weightlifting training session and compare it to a traditional fitness session.  Typically the pace of a full training session for a weightlifting athlete is significantly different than the session for an athlete who attends a weekly fitness class.  Not only are the rest periods slightly longer but the overall session length is longer as a result (of rest time and intensity).


The few main differences are;


Rest Periods


Unlike many fitness classes, where efficiency is key and the rest periods are shortened, a weightlifting training session typically requires longer rests with heavier loads.  This doesn’t mean athletes aren’t taking a single attempt and then resting for 10 minutes between each one. It simply means that if the working sets start creeping above 85%, athletes rest longer.


Transitioning Between Sets


With that being said if an athletes weights are below the threshold of 85 %, the only amount of rest time an athlete needs is all that is required to load the barbell for their next set.  An athlete who loads and rests for an extended period of time between their lighter warm up sets has a greater potential to cool off. These athletes will not get the added conditioning benefit of moving quickly either.  If you are profusely sweating during this time and wheezing during a warm up, another area needs to be addressed.


Total Length of Time Required


In a fitness class that typically has a run time of one hour, coaches are moving athletes through a few different modalities.  During a weightlifting training session (if the athlete is not performing two a days) the separate pieces that make up a workout can reach the numbers of 4-5 (sometimes even six).  Not counting warm ups, these sessions usually last between 1.5 hours to 2 hours in length. This differs depending on the time of year and training cycle intent, but this is the average.


Long Story Short


Weightlifting training sessions are a different animal.  They are typically not quick, often require more rest and usually contain more pieces of work than a fitness class.  Both have value but just be aware of what you’re getting into when transitioning between the two sessions.


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