Rest Period Between Sets | The Perfect Timing?

How Much Rest To Take Between Sets?

So you’ve arrived at the gym ready to start your new workout regime. You do some stretches and begin to warm up. Moving over to the bench press, you throw on some plates and squeeze out 8 reps. You re-rack the weight and sit up….

Now what?

You’re sitting there wondering how long it should be before you start your next set. The dude over there seems to be going every 30 seconds but that other guy seems to be standing around for ages in between his sets.

So, what should you do?

Current Theory

So the current theory is that you need to rest for about 1 minute in between sets to build muscle. If you want to build strength, the recommended rest time is about 3 minutes.

This seems to be the norm and if you ask any seasoned gym goer they will probably say the same. However, there is now new research by a scientist known as the “hypertrophy specialist” which challenges these current rest periods!

The Hypertrophy Specialists Theory

The hypertrophy specialist or more commonly know as fitness guru Brad Schoenfeld recently performed a study to find the answer.

The study has been published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. In the study, they took 23 well-trained males and paired them up based on strength levels.  They then split each pair into 2 random groups.

Each group exercised 3 times a week. Each performing 7 resistance based exercises, doing 3 sets of 8 reps on each. They continued this training program for 8 consecutive weeks. The difference between the groups was that group A rested 1 minute between sets and group B rested 3 minutes between sets.

After the 8 weeks, group A had seen some results in muscle size and strength but nothing significant. Group B, however, had a greater improvement in all 7 tests. Group B showed significant increases in muscle size, strength and endurance.

It’s long been known that greater rest periods promote greater muscle strength, however, it was surprising to see a greater increase in muscle growth!

So Is Resting More Better?

Well, the long-standing belief that resting longer is better for strength and less is better for growth. So what about this study?

The researchers hypothesised that with greater rest you would be able to complete more reps. Increased reps mean that you will achieve a higher work volume resulting in greater overall stimuli to the muscles.

Remember however this is just a theory but if you are training with the proper weight then greater rest should allow you to lift more and see greater results.

So maybe you should spend more time on your phone or talk to your gym buddy in between sets. But whatever you do, don’t hog the squat rack… for all our sakes.

Things do not happen. Things are made to happen – John F. Kennedy

Comment below or hit me up on social media with your thoughts or questions!