By Donny Shankle
Instead of taking an entire day off from the gym it is better to move around and do something. A weightlifters training is typically year round and advanced weightlifters are putting in multiple training sessions a day. With all of this training the body becomes very well adapted to the demand being placed on it and having a complete day off can leave you feeling very stiff and ungainly for your next training session. Getting in the gym and doing some very light lifts or even just bar work will keep this stiffness from happening.
Warming up before training you will notice takes longer for some lifters on Monday mornings than any other day during the week. If you are in this category it is probably because you are not doing enough activity on Sunday. The entire training day can sometimes be affected from too much lounging and rest to the point where performance is poor. To keep this from happening either get in the gym on Sunday or do something else if you prefer to keep your mind out of the gym for at least a day. If you are lifting for a team a great idea for your active rest day is to do something together as a team. A few activities I have always enjoyed are playing basketball at the park, setting up the volleyball net at the beach, or going for a swim at the beach or nearest pool. Each of these activities are great for your footwork, cardiovascular fitness, and can even increase your vertical which transfers well to the platform. If you train alone you can still go for a scenic walk, swim a few laps in the pool, or get out on the track and practice some 10 meter sprints which will keep the idea of moving fast fresh in your mind.
Your active rest day should be fun and if you are going to the gym to put in some light lifts it needs to be quick. I know it is tough for athletes to do this, but save any competitiveness you have for the platform. Your rest day is about training your mind more than anything else, and its important training for when you taper for a competition. The week of competition you should only be putting in two workouts that involve lifting your openers (light morning training does not count). The rest of that time is spent staying away from the gym so the weightlifter can't wait to get back on the bar. You should feel like a fixated dog being held by the collar waiting to be let go. Your active rest days prepare you for this and are the main reason why I believe its essential to have them.