If you want to see faster muscle growth, you must start doing this between every set of your workouts. This is one of the most overlooked variables when it comes to tracking your workouts and is perhaps one of the most important. I’m talking about your rest between sets and how long you should be resting between sets to see the best results from your training.
The problem is, most of us don’t pay enough attention to this when we train. Instead, we aimlessly browse social media between sets and don’t realize how much time passes between sets of an exercise, which can greatly diminish the effectiveness of your workout.
The best thing you can do is simply start setting the timer app on your phone.
If you are given a rest range between sets, say 2-3 minutes for maximum hypertrophy, then you could either set it for the low end of that range and determine whether you needed a little extra time before jumping into the next set or sync it to the maximum rest for that range and simply jump into the next set earlier if you feel ready to go.
That being said, it is important to point out that there is great variability in the recommendations for interset rest periods depending on the goal of your training.
If you are training strictly for strength you are going to require much more rest to ensure that you are fully recovered and ready to perform at peak effort in your next set. Because of the high demands of strength training, you will often find lifters resting at minimum, 3-5 minutes but even as high as 10 minutes before heading into their next set of the exercise.
When hypertrophy or muscle growth is the goal you can see a big departure from these numbers but still a great deal of variation. For instance, here you will often see studies that point to either 60-90 seconds between sets as the optimal length that you should be resting after completing a set of an exercise or others that recommend this number be pushed closer to 2 to 3 minutes.
The largest determinant of this is the exercise that you are performing and your overall cumulative fatigue up to that point in the workout. Larger, compound exercises will need more time to recover from between sets while smaller, isolation or accessory exercises will likely need far less time.
Taking this even further however is the idea that muscle growth and getting bigger muscles isn’t always about the weight that you are lifting. In fact, we know that accumulating metabolic stress is one of the better ways to grow muscle. Here, you would lift much lighter weights for much higher reps to failure. It is common that the reps be even as high as 20 here. The rest taken between sets when this is your training style could be as short as 30 seconds.
The idea is that you want to accumulate metabolites as a byproduct of muscle contraction, which serves to place an intracellular stress on the muscles that causes a need for repair and regrowth.
Finally, others simply want to get in better shape from their workouts. Sets are treated less individually and more as one combined effort in an attempt to reach physical exhaustion and to improve overall cardiovascular conditioning. Here things like HIIT training and barbell complexes done with light weight can help to achieve this end goal with very very short rest times.
The rest between exercises here can be minimal and the rest between completed circuits or rounds is kept to a maximum of 60 seconds.
Regardless of what your training goal is right now the key is that you need to adopt a method for accurately measuring your rest periods. Keeping track of how long you rest between sets is something that can not only keep you on pace for a high intensity workout but it gives you a comparison just like your weight and reps logged that you can go back to as a way to see how you are improving from your training.
Don’t overlook the importance of timing your rest period between sets if you want to build muscle and see faster muscle growth. Just like everything else you track with your workouts you want to not neglect how important this one is to your overall results.
If you are looking for a complete program that spells out every set, rep and rest time between sets to ensure you see your best muscle growth and results, be sure to head to athleanx.com and pick the program that aligns with your specific goals.
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