3 Benefits of Rest Between Sets

We all know the body needs rest, but did you know the amount of time you rest between sets is also extremely important? It’s true. Depending on your ultimate fitness goals and the type of workouts you’re doing, it’s a good idea to adjust your rest between sets to meet your needs.

What Are Your Fitness Goals?

How you set up your rest periods is determined by your fitness goals. Are you looking to get stronger? Or, is your goal to put on muscle mass? Maybe your goal is simply to improve your endurance.

Whatever your goal, there is a rest period that works best for you. Use your inter-set recovery time to your advantage to get the maximum benefits from your training.

How Is Your Body Powered?

Yes, you have to consume calories (carbohydrates, protein, and fats), and those calories get broken down into a usable form of energy called glucose. Your bloodstream then transports glucose throughout your body to provide it with the fuel it needs. This immediate fuel source is where you get most of your energy.

Bodyfat is also a source of energy. However, tapping into bodyfat stores is not as simple as one might think. Because your body favors the glucose already in your bloodstream, you need to work your way through that energy source before you can begin to burn bodyfat for fuel.

Your body also takes energy sources one step further and breaks these substances down to create what’s called ATP (adenosine triphosphates). This organic compound provides quick energy to your cells. It’s a fast, easy way to provide the power you need for your workouts, but unfortunately, it is relatively short-lived.

How Long Should You Rest Between Sets for Maximum Benefits?

So, because your fitness goals may vary, the benefits of resting between sets will also vary. As you learned above, you can tap into different energy sources when you work out and use those strategically. And, depending on your fitness goals, you’ll want to take advantage of some of these rest strategies:

  • Building Muscle—This type of goal will usually have you training in the medium-repetition range. You’ll want to complete between 6 and 10 repetitions for your selected exercise and then rest. Rest between one and two minutes before moving on to your next set.
  • Getting Stronger—To build stronger muscles, you’ll lift only a few reps per set, but each lift will be heavy. You’ll need to produce great force, but it will be only for a short period. This means you’ll need a longer rest period to recoup and line up the energy you’ll need for your next set. Take about five minutes between sets.
  • Training for Endurance—Even if you’re training for the long term, rest breaks are still necessary. Take up to 30 seconds periodically to catch your breath before plunging back into your workout.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)—This type of training is very taxing on your system and unsustainable over an extended time. That’s why it has built-in rest between sets within the workout itself. Typically, every 15 – 30 seconds, you will take active rest for up to 2 minutes, depending on the setup of your HIIT training protocol.

Benefits of Resting Between Sets

Obviously, you can’t go all out for an endless period of time. At some point, you need to rest before resuming your workout. Maybe knowing that rest has benefits will help you stop and take the rest between sets you need to:

Allow your muscles to refuel and recharge—Whatever energy source your muscles and body are using for your workout, you need to give yourself time to recharge during your workout. Taking the prescribed rest period between sets will help you do just that.

Stay in your zone—If you’re trying to build muscle, you don’t want to burn it while you’re training. Similarly, if you’re trying to burn max bodyfat, you’ll want to take some rest but not too much. Taking the right amount of rest allows your body to continue using the energy supply you want it to, based on your specific goals. Cater to your fitness goals with the correct rest between sets.

Get more out of your workouts—It’s true! The right amount of rest between sets will set you up for the most powerful and effective next set. If you’re using the correct rest periods, you’ll be refueled and ready to go and able to produce greater absolute strength and training intensities.

Want to improve your workouts across the board? Take the rest you need between sets and maximize your power and potential.