Varying rest times delivers different results.

Did you know that the amount of time you should rest between sets depends on your specific training goals? It’s true. A new study by researchers in Brazil makes it clear that, depending on your goal, you want to alter the rest times between sets.

Researchers wanted to analyze the effects of taking different amounts of rest time between sets as a way of trying to get a specific training outcome – i.e., muscle growth, strength gains or enhanced endurance. They split subjects into groups and had them do a workout. The results show that in terms of acute responses, with training loads of 50 to 90 percent of one-rep max (1RM), a rest period of 3 to 5 minutes was best because it allowed more repetitions over more sets. Three to 5 minutes of rest between sets also increased greater absolute strength, which was a function of the increased intensity of the training. In terms of power, subjects who did multiple sets with 3 to 5 minutes between sets had higher levels of muscle power over those sets than people who waited only one minute between sets. The researchers also found that if muscle growth is the goal, 30 to 60 seconds is the best rest period, as it keeps growth hormone (GH) levels higher, and that 20-second to one-minute rest periods are best for endurance during high-intensity endurance exercise.

When designing a training program, factor in your intra-workout rest times and design them to give you the biggest bang for your buck – muscle growth, strength gains or enhanced endurance. By both working and resting for the same goal, you’ll be one step closer to taking your physique to the next level!

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