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How Long Should You Rest Between Sets ? – Different Times For Different Goals

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Rest times are often over looked when it comes to your workout program and it may be one of the biggest reasons as to why most people never seem to be able to build any muscle mass. It’s an extremely important part of your fitness routine and simply put if your rest periods are too long or too short, you won’t be able to build that dream physique of yours.

Whatever your goals may be whether it be to build more muscle or increase your muscular endurance you need to find the sweet spot right inbetween resting too much or too little. When you find that for your particular goal, you’ll have found your optimal rest time.

So there are 3 different type of goals when it comes to weight training; strength, endurance and hypertrophy. Now let’s take a look at how long you should rest between your sets for each different goal and the science behind it.

Hypertrophy Training

Hypertrophy training is for building muscle mass and getting a ripped figure. The optimal time to rest for hypertrophy is 1-3 minutes between each set (8-15 reps). The more demanding a exercise is on your body and the higher your training intensity is the longer you should rest. For example if your doing deadlifts for 8-12 reps you should rest for at least 2 minutes between each set because doing compound movements like the deadlift is very demanding on your body and if you don’t get enough rest you won’t be able to do another 8-12 reps.

muscle pumps

Now if you’re doing an exercise like the bicep hammer curl then your rest time should be no longer than 1 minute and 30 seconds because you’re only working 1 muscle group, so since it’s a much less demanding exercise you shouldn’t rest to long or else you’ll lose “the pump”. The pump is important when trying to build muscle because the increased blood flow to your targeted muscles helps the amino acids get there quicker.

Strength Training

Strength training is for increasing and maximizing muscular power. The optimal time to rest for strength is 3-5 minutes between every set (1-6 reps). Since you’re using very heavy weight to train your ATP-C (Adenosine Triphosphate Phosphocreatine) system needs at least 3 minutes to fully recharge and replenish your phosphagen stores, but if you rest longer than 5 minutes you’ll have cooled down too much and that will increase your risk of injury.

heavy squats

Strength training is normally only done for compound movements like the bench press, deadlift, squats and occasionally the over head press.

Endurance Training

Endurance training is simply to increase your muscular endurance and resting between 30-60 seconds between sets (15-20 reps) is the most optimal. Basically, the goal of endurance training is to make your muscles more resistant to fatigue and lifting light weight for higher reps will make your body more efficient at clearing the lactic acid from the muscles.

endurance training

To sum up you now know the most optimal time to rest no matter what your goal is, so if you haven’t been getting the results you want from your current program get a stopwatch and time your rest periods because that will make a massive difference in your training.

If you have anymore questions about rest times then leave it below in the comment section.

2 thoughts on “How Long Should You Rest Between Sets ? – Different Times For Different Goals

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for the information ! All these years of working out, I never really timed my rest between sets. I just waited till I felt ready to lift weight again. But you are right, you don’t want to rest too long because you could risk injury, cheers.

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