Most gyms endorse the belief “go hard or go home.” And, if you’ve set some short term goals, then there’s a good chance you give your workout routine your all. But, if you tend to jog or take very little rest in between sets, you might be making lesser progress than you’d like. Here are three reasons why you should consider sitting down and taking a breather between sets.
1. To Perform Better
We’re all about making the most of our workouts. And, although this may seem counter intuitive, resting between sets might help you perform better in your next couple of sets.
Research indicates that sitting or lying on your back between sets can have a significant impact on your heart rate, work rate, and your physiological recovery. This means you’ll be able to up the intensity of the workout and maximize recovery.1
Studies also show that a good long rest between sets enabled greater repetitions over multiple sets when compared to shorter rests. So, be sure to give yourself much needed breaks in between.2
2. To Optimize Muscle Growth
A lot of us head to the gym to walk out looking “buff” one day. Longer rest periods will help you achieve that look. Research indicates that rest periods between sets lead to greater muscle growth during resistance and strength training.
This muscle hypertrophy (growth) is higher with longer rest periods than shorter rest periods. One study showed that it increased the “thickness” of the elbow flexors, triceps brachii, and quadriceps femoris. So, take longer rests because it’s helping you get those “gains” easily.3 4
3. To Increase Muscle Strength
We all have a few practical fitness goals. One could be being able to haul a lot of grocery bags up to your house in one go. Another might be having the strength to lift the heaviest of things.
Whatever your personal goals may be, if you aim at building strength, then research says that you should take long breaks in between your sets. Rest periods also increased muscle endurance during resistance training. So, give as much importance to rest as you do to what (and how much) you lift.5
What’s The Optimum Rest Time?
There isn’t a formula to how long your rest period should be, since it depends entirely on the intensity, duration, and type of workout that you do. But, as a rule of thumb your rest period should fall between 3–5 minutes. This will help in muscle regeneration and give you energy to perform better.6
However, be sure to not train too hard or too quickly since that could result in injuries. Follow the routine given to you by your trainer, but make sure to listen to your body if you feel like you’re pushing yourself too hard. The efficiency of your workout also depends on your form so it’s important to pay attention to that as well.7
And, it isn’t just between sets that you need to rest. Ensure that you’ve got adequate rest days, anywhere from 1–2 days every week to help your muscles recover.8
A few gym trainers might push you to move from one exercise to another too quickly. If you’re looking to build lean muscle and strength, then do ensure that you take adequate rest between sets and inform them of the same. By giving your body just enough rest to recover without cooling down, you’ll optimize your workouts and reach your goals in no time.
|↑1||Ouellette, Kristen A., Timothy A. Brusseau, Lance E. Davidson, Candus N. Ford, Disa L. Hatfield, Janet M. Shaw, and Patricia A. Eisenman. “Comparison of the Effects of Seated, Supine, and Walking Interset Rest Strategies on Work Rate.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 30, no. 12 (2016): 3396-3404.|
|↑2, ↑6||de Salles, Belmiro Freitas, Roberto Simao, Fabrício Miranda, Jefferson da Silva Novaes, Adriana Lemos, and Jeffrey M. Willardson. “Rest interval between sets in strength training.” Sports Medicine 39, no. 9 (2009): 765-777.|
|↑3||Grgic, Jozo, Bruno Lazinica, Pavle Mikulic, James W. Krieger, and Brad Jon Schoenfeld. “The effects of short versus long inter-set rest intervals in resistance training on measures of muscle hypertrophy: A systematic review.” European Journal of Sport Science 17, no. 8 (2017): 983-993.|
|↑4, ↑5||Schoenfeld, Brad J., Zachary K. Pope, Franklin M. Benik, Garrett M. Hester, John Sellers, Josh L. Nooner, Jessica A. Schnaiter et al. “Longer interset rest periods enhance muscle strength and hypertrophy in resistance-trained men.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 30, no. 7 (2016): 1805-1812.|
|↑7||Pfeiffer, Ronald P., Cindy Trowbridge, and Cynthia Trowbridge. Concepts of athletic training. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2014.|
|↑8||Exercise safety. Better Health Channel, Victoria State Government.|