Athlete taking rest between sets

How much rest time do you need between sets?

Whether you are a beginner or someone who is looking to change up their workouts, determining the appropriate amount of rest between sets can be a challenging task. For the most part, the rest period between sets is based on your workout goals. In other words, what are you training for: endurance, strength, power, etc.?

Rest periods can significantly influence weight lifting programs. They can also impact your overall efficiency and safety. The following is a general guideline for rest periods based on various muscular training goals:

Muscular Power

Muscular power typically refers to sets of 1-3 repetitions. It’s where you exert a maximal effort in a short period of time. In the case of weight lifting, it’s contracting a muscle at maximum force in a minimal amount of time. This could include power lifters and those trying to do a 1-rep max.

3 to 5 minutes of rest between sets is the general recommendation for this muscular training method. Because of the maximal effort required, it takes the body more time to recover before being able to reciprocate these efforts again.

Muscular Strength

Muscular strength training often refers to sets of 3 to 6 reps. Training for muscular strength is similar to power training but, doesn’t require that one-time maximal effort. It requires more repetitions and less rest time. The general rest interval for strength training recommendation is 2 to 4 minutes between each set, as outlined by this study.

Muscular Hypertrophy

Muscular hypertrophy is when you are training to increase muscle size. This can include bodybuilders and those looking to put on some muscle mass. Hypertrophy training falls within the range of 6 to 12 reps and requires 1 to 2 minutes of rest between sets for size gains.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance is when you are training to resist muscular fatigue. Typically, this falls within the 12 to 20 rep range and requires shorter rest periods of about 30 to 45 seconds between sets. This category is great for endurance athletes or those looking to improve overall muscular conditioning without focusing on strength or size.

Other Factors

As mentioned, these are general recommendations based on the different types of muscular training. However, these don’t take into consideration physical or health limitations. Additionally, these general recommendations can also be modified for each person based on how quickly you recover and your experience level in the gym.

Tracking Your Rest Between Sets

Once you have determined your training goals, it’s easy to plan the rest breaks between sets. However, it’s imperative that you monitor these rest periods so that you don’t go too far over your desired break and/or not take enough time to rest.

The GrowBIG app not only helps you to design your workouts with rest breaks included, but it also helps to monitor the time for your overall workout and the rest breaks between sets. Although most gyms have clocks on the wall, it’s hard to see them at times and you might be in a part of the gym where there isn’t a clock. Additionally, watching your smartphone’s timer feature might not be as accurate because you could forget to start or stop it on time.

The ultimate solution is using the GrowBIG app that not only allows you to view and track your workouts, but it also lets you monitor your rest breaks at the same time.

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