Rest periods are a vital part of your training program but are often overlooked. People will fall for 1 of the 2 following mistakes:
Mistake #1: Thinking that rest periods between sets are a waste of time and that less rest is always best.
Mistake #2: Taking too long during rest periods and not achieving the desired training stimulus.
A rest period is the time spent between sets. This will usually displayed as seconds. While resting between sets is easy to understand, there is still some planning that goes into a rest period to ensure the program delivers the desired result. Below I have outlined a few reasons behind rest period length.
Short Rest Periods: 10-30 seconds
Rest periods between 10-30 seconds would typically be used on programs that are designed to produce metabolic stress. This would include programs such as Giant Sets, Super Sets, And Tri-Sets. The purpose of a short rest is so that the body does not have enough time to recover form the previous set. As a result, muscular fatigue would accumulate from set to set. This effect can be great for fat loss, higher volume hypertrophy programs and muscular conditioning for athletes. The down side to shorter rest periods and accumulated fatigue is that the weight would have to be reduced (the exception to this could be Clutser Sets).
Moderate Rest Periods: 40-60 seconds
Rests between 40-60 seconds are better suited to standard hypertrophy plans. This moderate rest would still provide some metabolic stress but allow a heavy enough load to be used. This will tend to be the ‘sweet spot’ between the high metabolic training programs and the heavy weight focused strength programs.
Long Rest Periods: 90 seconds – 5 minutes
If you’re goal is to improve relative strength or functional hypertrophy then this would be the typical rest period. A longer rest period ensures that there is minimal accumulative fatigue from set and set. This helps your body replenish phosphocreatine levels which supplies the energy for short duration, high explosive ,strength activities. The combined sets and reps of these programs will be lower but the weight you will be lifting will be much higher.
Understanding the goal of your program allows you to better execute each of it’s parameters. If you know the benefits of your rest periods then you will understand that it does make a big difference if you rest for too long or too short. Use your phone, watch or clock to keep an eye on your rest and get the most out of your training.