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Why your rest periods matter

You’re at the gym…you’re in a rush…does it really matter if you knock a minute or so off your rest periods? Well, it might matter more than you think gf!

While it’s not the end of the world if you’re cutting 10-20 seconds off your rest periods, skipping them entirely or only resting for 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets could be ruining your gains!

Here’s how recovering properly between sets can make all the difference to your progress and performance in the gym:

Strength gains

  • Recent studies have shown that when training with loads between 50% and 90% of your one rep max, 3-5 minutes rest between sets allows for greater repetitions over multiple sets
  • Most of your training loads will fall within this range, especially for your heavier compound movements (squats, deadlifts, bench press etc)
  • So, by skipping or shortening your rest period, you could be cheating yourself out of extra reps, and therefore missing out on strength and muscle gains!

Psychological benefit

  • If you have a few tough sets to get through, then resting for longer can help you prepare not only physically, but mentally as well
  • For example, if you know you only have 1 minute rest, you might subconsciously reduce your effort to conserve energy for following sets
  • On the other hand, if you know you get a longer rest period, you’ll likely be more inclined to push harder

Reduces risk of injury

  • If you attempt a physically demanding set on a technical movement such as squats without being fully recovered, then it's likely your form will suffer
  • This means you won't be performing the movement as safely and may injure yourself, or may not be able to move through a full range of motion, therefore reducing the effectiveness of the exercise 

Muscle gain

  • While longer rest is great for driving performance and strength gains, studies have found that shorter rest period can be beneficial for hypertrophy (muscle growth)
  • Research suggests that shorter rest periods of between 30-60 seconds are beneficial when paired with moderate-intensity sets, as this produces greater acute levels of growth hormones

So what does this mean for your training?

  • For your main compound lifts (where increasing strength is your main goal) stick to longer rest periods of between 3-5 minutes
  • This will help improve your performance and ensure you are lifting safely
  • For accessory/isolation movements, rest time can be reduced to 30-120 seconds depending on your ability to recover and your goals
  • A quick rule of thumb is the less physically demanding the exercise, the shorter the rest can be

TLDR - TIME YOUR REST PERIODS BESTIE! Your training performance will benefit from it! 

Bronte x