You are here

Trainer Q&A: How Much Should I Rest Between Sets

Our expert explains how much rest you need in between your sets to maximize your workouts.

Advertisement

The science behind fitness and health can be confusing—and it's certainly ever-changing. One minute, a study supports a particular food/exercise/claim, then the next, a newer study reports that eating, doing or trying that thing is the worst thing you could possibly do to yourself.

 

We read a lot of studies here at MensFitness.com—so we know how frustrating all of that apparent flip-flopping can be. In order to help make sense of all the breaking and headline news, we've aligned ourselves with some of the industry's top experts—clued-in doctors, trainers, dietitians and researchers who can help us separate fact from headline-grabbing fiction and give us the real-deal advice on how to live a healthier, fitter lifestyle...every day. 

 


 

This week, our experts explains how long you should rest between sets to maximize your workouts and recovery.

Q: How Long Should I Rest Between Sets?

 

A: Most guys spend far too much time chatting in between exercises leading to a much longer workout than necessary. To stay on task at the gym and get an efficient workout in, you should time your rest periods. Wear a stopwatch and set a timer to beep when it's time to attack the weights again.

 

How long you rest in between exercises is completely dependent on your goals and your individual workout. For instance, heavier workouts may require a few minutes between exercises whereas workouts designed to increase strictly size should feature shorter rest periods according to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning. In order to maintain a high output, you need to rest enough time to allow your muscles a chance to recover.

 

[see: 8 Recovery Strategies for a Workout-aholic]

To determine how long you need to rest during your workout, follow the guidelines below:

Goal: Muscular Endurance 
Reps: 12-20
Rest time: 30-45 seconds

Goal: Muscular Hypertrophy
Reps: 6-12
Rest time: 60-90 seconds

Goal: Muscular Strength
Reps: 3-5
Rest time: 2-4 minutes

Goal: Muscular Power
Reps: 1-3
Rest time: 3-5 minutes

Don't think that this time is only meant for complete rest. Make use of these extra minutes by foam rolling tight muscles, working opposing muscle groups, or refining and focusing your technique for the next set.

[see: Post-Workout Strategies for a Workout-aholic]

 

About the Trainer: Jeremey DuVall

Jeremey DuVall is a personal trainer based in Denver, CO. He received a Master’s degree in Human Performance from the University of Florida while specializing in strength training for endurance athletes. For more on Jeremey, check him out at JeremeyDuVall.com or on Twitter, @JeremeyD.

Topics: 

Want more Men's Fitness?

Sign Up for our newsletters now.

comments powered by Disqus