How many times have you been waiting for a piece of equipment or weights and the person occupying it is talking, texting or playing a game on their phone? It may be your pet peeve, but there is often a good reason why (for shorter periods), such as taking a rest in between sets.
Today we discuss timed rests between sets and why we time rest. Timing the rest between sets is just as important as the exercise itself. If you do not time the rest each of your sets will be inconsistent.
For example, if your aim is to complete three sets of an exercise, and between the 1st and 2nd sets you rest for 60 seconds and between the 2nd-3rd sets you only wait 10 seconds, completing the set could be impossible! It would leave you with no idea if the weight is right for you. Likewise, if you can complete the set, the weight was definitely wrong.
There are 2 main reasons for taking a rest period
- If you can achieve all of your sets with the maximum number of reps then the weight needs to increase. So the rest signifies when you should progress.
- If your aim was 12 reps and you do 3 sets of 12 then the weight needs to go up.
- The time you are working for and your goal should indicate how much rest you need.
- If your aim is to exhaust the muscle for hypertrophy then shorter rest periods could be used.
- If your aim is to gain strength then longer rest is needed.
It’s difficult to give you a set guide because there isn’t one. Once you start using supersets, drops sets or working smaller muscle groups your time of rest will be adapted.
Typically the structure of a fat loss program would start with longer rest, lower reps and less sets, but working the bigger muscle’s. Towards the end of the session the rep volume can increase, smaller muscles used and some varied workout methods such as rest pause, banded reps, drop sets or negatives.
If you don’t know about these methods of training then look out for future articles on training methods.
- The period of rest during a set should be the same and at regular intervals.
- If you can complete all of your reps and sets the weight needs to increase.
- Time of rest can change depending on training method.
- Don’t play on your phone in the gym!
How much rest and recovery do you give yourself between sets? We’d love to hear whether you found this information useful.