Resting Between Sets February 29, 2012
Resting Between Sets February 29, 2012

Do you really need to rest in between sets? Yes, and here’s why!

In general, everyone knows they need rest between workouts to allow for recovery and achieve the best results. What a lot of people don’t know is that resting between sets is just as important.

Instead of doing three sets of 10 reps, resting in-between, why not just burn through 30 reps and be done with it? Why bother with rest between sets?

Here’s why: Resting between sets is as important if not more important than resting between workouts and it can greatly affect your results.

The amount of rest you take depends on the type of exercise you are performing, the intensity you are using and ultimately the results you are looking for.

Resting can be an important gauge of how hard you are working. If you don’t need to rest between sets, then you’re not working hard enough. When performing a set of a weighted exercise, you should be using a weight that is challenging enough so that the last few reps are difficult to perform. For example; if you are performing sets of 10 reps each, then the 8th, 9th and 10th rep should be a bit of a struggle, somewhere around an 8 or 9 out of a scale of 1-10. If those reps are not that challenging and you feel like you could keep going, then you’re probably not using the correct weight.

Resting between sets also gives your muscles time to recover and prepare for the next set, tapping into fuel sources for energy. The most immediate fuel source, glycogen or ATP, is right inside the muscle cells. You use this for short bursts of activity such as weight training. When you perform a set, you use a certain amount of muscle glycogen. You have a limited supply in the muscle cells and it is quickly used up. Luckily it can be replenished pretty easily and relatively quickly. Once the muscle glycogen (ATP) store is depleted, it takes approximately 2-3 minutes to fully replenish. Resting between sets allows this to happen to a certain extent.

The amount of rest required between sets to replenish muscle glycogen varies depending on the type of exercise, the number of reps performed and ultimately the desired goal. A good rule of thumb is; the heavier the weight, the lower the number of reps, which then needs a longer rest period.

Here are some general rest interval guidelines for specific goals: Explosive Power: 2.5-3 minutes Hypertrophy: 1 minute Maximize Fat Loss: 30-45 seconds

Its important to note that there is always crossover between goals. These guidelines are not an exact formula and adjustments can be made.

Another reason for resting between sets is to reduce the risk of injury due to fatigue. Although you do want to be nearing a stage of muscular fatigue towards the end of a set, you do not want to completely exhaust yourself by performing multiple sets in a row without much or any rest. The risk of injury due to loss of form increases as you fatigue. By resting between sets, you allow for that all-important recovery to take place so you can execute your next set with proper form.

When it comes to strength training, the amount of rest you take between sets plays a significant role in your results. It’s as important, if not more so, than the rest you take between workouts. This is why FitnessBuilder has a Rest Timer built in. It can be set in increments from 15 seconds up to 5 minutes, which will beep and vibrate when it’s time for you to start your next set.

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