15 Mar How Long Should You Rest Between Sets For Strength and Hypertrophy Training?

Rest Between SetsHow long should you really rest between sets?

The time taken in between a set is a very important consideration in a well designed training program.

So, what is the optimal rest time you need to take between sets?

The real answer is it all depends on your training goals.

And, it depends on the methods used.

Strength training is a both an art and a science with many independent variables (frequency, duration, volume, intensity) that can be manipulated, depending on what outcome you really want.

In general, the widely accepted range to rest is between 30 seconds and 2 minutes between a training set.

For maximal strength gains, a minimum of 2 minutes and longer is quite acceptable and even necessary to recover properly.

Your energy stores can often be partially replaced very rapidly (as little as 3 to 5 seconds of partial ATP/CP energy can be restored) during a period of brief recovery, but complete recovery can take up to several minutes.

There’s actually quite of bit of science behind optimal recovery time and you must consider muscle recovery and neurological system recovery, which are 2 different things.

The challenge sometimes is that the longer time period can be problematic as you could lose your energy level or training ‘flow.’

This is something I’ve personally experienced, as the longer time can break the pattern of a great training session.

On the flip side, if you want to get seriously stronger, you need to rest appropriately and recover for the next heavy set.

It all depends on your goals, the methods, and the training protocol.

For muscle building (hypertrophy), the shorter rest between sets is usually best.

Also, keep in mind that there will be many other variables that may adjust the time of the rest period, such as:

  • your energy level for the workout session
  • pre-workout nutritional status
  • type of training (barbell work, kettlebells, bodyweight metabolic conditioning, as examples)
  • compound, multi joint lifts
  • and actual training intensity (as measured by % of 1 RM)

To keep things simple, there are basically 3 categories to consider when deciding how much rest time to take betwen your sets.

They are:

  1. Muscle building (hypertrophy), the rest time may actually be decreased to shorter rest intervals such as 45 seconds or less.  (This will depend on many other variables, of course).
  2. The same time frame (45 seconds or significantly less), would apply for the training goal of improving muscular endurance and enhancing fat loss. The rest time could actually be no rest, such as with the example of performing a “complex” in which you move from exercise to exercise without rest.
  3. And, for maximal strength (and performance) benefits, a rest time minimum of 2 minutes and usually longer is most optimal for muscle and neurological system recovery.

Rest time between sets is critical, depending on your training goal and type of training your doing.

It’s something you need to seriously consider, in order to get the best outcomes from your training program.

Hope this short training tip was helpful to improve your training results.

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