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How much rest do I need between sets?

    Hey everybody, I hope you found the last blog outlining your recommended reps and tempos helpful.  I thought that the next thing we would address would be the general recommendations for rest in between those sets.  As anyone who has worked with me will tell you, I love to find new ways to keep clients engaged and challenged.  An important component of designing appropriate programs for clients is factoring in proper rest periods between sets.  It is with that element in mind that I prepared the following information for all of you.

    The amount of rest between sets of exercise will vary depending on the load used and the intensity of your routine.  Sets performed with lighter weights will generally require less recovery time than those sets performed with heavier loads, explosive speeds, or done with high intensity.  Other factors that will contribute to the selection of rest intervals include: training experience, conditioning, individual recoverability, nutritional status, and muscle mass utilized.
    For example:
  • Those just starting a routine will likely need more rest between sets than experienced lifters.
  • Larger rest intervals may be required for exercises that use more muscle.  For example, a squat will require more rest than a leg extension.
  • The better you eat, the faster you can recover.

Rest Between Sets: General Recommendations based on goal 

Training Goal                                    Rest period between sets
(# of repetitions per set)                     for similar muscles
Endurance/Stabilization (12-25 reps)            60 seconds or less
General Strength (8-12 reps)                       30-90 seconds
Hypertrophy/Growth (8-12 reps)                   30-90 seconds
Maximal Strength (1-5 reps)                        2-3 minutes
Power/Explosiveness (1-5 reps)                  3-5 minutes


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