When you’re busting out your best moves over by the free weights, the last thing on your mind is the science behind gaining muscle. While you’re not expected to be the next Bill Nye of body building, understanding why rest periods are crucial for a proper weightlifting routine is something you should try to wrap your head around. Sometimes the details can be a little confusing but the more you know about why rest periods are important, the better you can use them to your advantage.
Rest Periods Lead to Better Results
Once you get into a weightlifting routine, it’s understandable that you want to spend all your time pumping iron. On the other hand, some people can spend too much time in between sets chatting with other gym members or ogling themselves in the mirror. To get the best results and find a balance to your time spent hitting the weights, most experts agree that you should time your rest periods between sets.
Whether you choose to carry a stopwatch with you or want to show off your fancy phone app, you can set a timer to signal when it’s time to hit it hard on the weights again. How often the stopwatch goes off is up to you.
How Long Should You Rest?
This can be tricky because the amount of rest periods and the length of each rest period depends on your individual workout goals. Are you strength training? Endurance training? Or maybe you’re stepping up your hypertrophy training game? With each different type of training at the gym, you’ll need to adjust your rest periods to see better results. If you’re trying to tackle a super heavy workout, it’s a good idea to give yourself a few minutes between exercises. While workouts that are targeting a specific area to increase size can benefit from shorter rest periods.
Follow this simple chart to determine how long you need to rest during your weightlifting routine:
Goal: Muscular Endurance
- 12 to 20 reps
- 30 to 45 seconds of rest time
Goal: Muscular Power
- 1 to 3 reps
- 3 to 5 minutes of rest time
Goal: Muscular Strength
- 3 to 5 reps
- 2 to 4 minutes of rest time
Goal: Muscular Hypertrophy
- 6 to 12 reps
- 60 to 90 seconds of rest time
The Science Behind Rest Periods
If you want to see results from all that heave-ho action, you need to rest in between sets and during the week as well. These shorter rest periods between sets are necessary to let your body’s Adenosine Triphosphate Phosphocreatine system (one of 3 metabolic energy systems that help build muscle) or ATP-PC system recharge. When you find that perfect balance, you’ll start bulking up in all the right places. So get in the gym and get to work on sculpting your fit body.