TOPIC: What Is The Optimal Time Between Sets?
For the week of: January 1st - January 7th.
How long should you wait between sets? Should you try to spend only a few seconds between sets to fully work the muscle and increase the "burn", or should you wait longer until your muscles have fully recovered from the last set?
Which way is best to increase growth? Should you ever change the amount of time between sets over time, or stick to one, proven method?
Have you ever used one of those "intense" workouts with absolutely minimal amount of time between sets just to try to break a plateau or try something different? Something like doing 10 sets of squats with only 15 seconds between sets, until you are on the verge of puking? If so, what was the workout exactly? How often should you do it? Did it help your overall gains?
Don't discuss any other topic in this section. ONLY discuss the question above.
The best response will get $50 in credit to use in our online store! The other good responses will be used in an article on the main Bodybuilding.com site, with the poster's forum name listed by it.
01-03-2005, 08:05 PM #1
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WEEK ELEVEN :: What Is The Optimal Time Between Sets For Muscle Growth?
Last edited by webmaster; 01-06-2005 at 08:20 AM.
01-03-2005, 08:19 PM #2
The optimum rest period length for increasing HIEE has not been determined through academic research. However, it has been generally accepted that shorter rest periods are more beneficial. High lactate levels (lactic acid) accumulate in the muscles during activities that demand high bursts of activity for one to three minutes, such as wrestling, long-sprint running (400-1,000 meters) and swimming (100 – 200 meters). These athletes must endure this accumulation of lactic acid during training to increase performance, or just to complete their event during competition. If you have ever trained hard you know how painful this can be. Therefore, it is thought that if you train with shorter rest periods it may be more beneficial because you adapt to the greater levels of lactate in the muscle while exercising.
However, two studies have shown that there is either no difference between shorter or longer rest periods, or that longer rest periods were more beneficial for increasing HIEE. Think about the activity you are performing and how long it takes you to perform it. If it is an activity of low-force production and long duration (running, biking, etc.), you will most likely require less time for that energy system to recover before the next bout. The opposite is true for high-force producing, short-duration activities (weightlifting, sprinting, etc.) that can take from three to eight minutes for energy source replenishment.
It’s obvious that there is no exact figure on how long one’s rest period between sets should be. If maximizing all three variables (muscle growth, strength, and HIEE) in combination is your goal, then there is good evidence that longer rest periods (3 – 5 minutes) could provide optimal benefits. Until there is more conclusive evidence, athletes and other trainees should use the rest period length experience and use the method that works best for achieving their goals.
But, as you get into better and better condition you may be able to reduce your rest intervals between sets while maintaining your training poundages. Another advantage to reducing your rest intervals is that it increases your metabolism and you will burn more calories during each training session.
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01-05-2005, 12:48 PM #3
I've been extremely busy this week with a lot of school work and exams.
I really wanted to write an article on this, but if I did I would have to go all out, and I don't have the time . I love writing articles based on science too, I wanted to bust out some studies .
Oh well, there's always next week.
01-05-2005, 11:19 PM #4
How much rest is best?
The “best” amount of time to rest between sets, like most things in bodybuilding, depends on what specific goal you’re training for.
Do you want to be stronger, more muscular or increase your stamina? Common sense and research tells us that we can only pursue one goal at a time. If we want to be stronger, we should follow a training program that increases our strength as quickly as possible. Likewise for size and stamina. Not surprisingly, with each specialised program comes a different requirement for rest periods.
Let’s look at WHAT those different rest periods are and, most importantly, explore WHY they are.
To get stronger faster, the best rest period is 3 to 5 minutes between sets.
This is because much of the energy your body consumes during traditional strength training (heavy weight, 1 to 6 reps) comes from the Adenosine Triphosphate Phosphocreatine system. The ATP-PC system uses phosphagens to produce energy very quickly and without the use of oxygen. Your body has a very small phosphagen reserve, which lasts about 15 seconds. It takes your body about 3 minutes to fully replenish phosphagen stores (Fleck, 1983).
In other words, if you give your ATP-PC system at least 3 minutes to recharge, you’ll lift more weight and get stronger faster.
In one study, athletes lifted a weight more times in 3 sets after resting 3 minutes compared to when they rested only 1 minute (Kraemer, 1997). Another study showed a 7% increase in squat strength after 5 weeks of training with 3 minute rest periods. The group that rested for 30 seconds only improved their squat by 2% (Robinson et al, 1995). Two more studies that examined very short rest periods (30 to 40 seconds) found they caused nowhere near the strength gains from longer rest periods (Kraemer et al, 1987; Kraemer, 1997).
You'll cool down too much if you rest longer than 5 minutes. No-one wants to increase their chances of injury.
To get bigger quicker, the best rest period is 1 to 2 minutes between sets.
Typical bodybuilding/hypertrophy training (moderate-heavy weight, 6-12 reps) draws energy from the ATP-PC and glycolytic system (the glycolytic system gets most of its energy from the carbs you eat). The aerobic metabolism plays a very small part as well.
Think of the ATP-PC system as a racehorse and the glycolytic system as a steady, dependable Clydesdale. Because your glycolytic system has come to the party, your body doesn’t need to rest as long between sets as when you’re strength training.
Bodybuilders take advantage of shorter rest periods to make their muscles BIGGER. How? Well, one of the key factors in how much muscles grow is the amount of anabolic hormones your body produces after weight training (McCall et al, 1999). Short rest periods of between 1 and 2 minutes cause a greater release of these hormones than longer rest periods (Kraemer et al, 1991; Kraemer et al, 1990).
Short rest periods also cause other muscle-building bonuses like increased lactate production and blood flow to the targeted muscles (Kraemer, 1997; Kraemer et al, 1987). Don’t laugh about the blood flow bit. I know it sounds like old-school “pump” talk. But it’s been shown that the increased blood flow to your muscles helps the protein get there quicker (Biolo et al, 1995). Muscle fatigue, caused by lactate production, has also been implicated in short-term strength gains and significant hypertrophy (Rooney et al, 1994).
To increase muscular endurance as quickly as possible, the best rest period is 45 seconds to 2 minutes between sets.
Classic endurance training (light-moderate weight, 15-20 reps) draws much of its energy from aerobic metabolism. This means your body burns carbs and fats in the presence of oxygen.
Basically, endurance training is aimed at making your muscles more resistant to fatigue. Without going into complicated details, a major cause of fatigue in endurance activities is lactic acid build-up. Regularly lifting weights in a 15-20RM makes your body more efficient at clearing lactic acid from the muscles by boosting your body’s hormonal and vascular systems (Donovan & Brooks, 1983).
Coaches from a variety of endurance-related sports usually recommend a 1:1 or 1:2 work-rest interval to increase your body’s lactate threshold (Sleamaker & Browning, Winbourne, 1998, Horswill, 1992). A strict set of 15 to 20 reps should take you between 45 seconds and 1 minute to complete…which works out to a rest period of between 45 seconds and 2 minutes.
And here’s a final interesting fact: bodybuilders (who train with short rest periods and high reps) are more fatigue-resistant than powerlifters (long rest, low reps)(Kraemer, 1987). Bodybuilders are better at clearing lactic acid.
I’ve done a number of things over the years to crank up training intensity. Strips sets, endurance training…all things that require you to rest for short periods of time (or not rest at all!).
But the most intense “short rest” workout I’ve ever done was Bahlow Circuit Training…I almost barfed. And let's not forget....barfing is actually a BAD thing and not something you ever want to do after a workout.
BCT is not for the faint hearted. It requires bucketloads of protein and many hours of sleep afterwards. I did BCT for six weeks and made newbie-like gains…but it’s hard, hard work.
BCT is basically a giant circuit of supersets. Make that super-supersets. You have three exercises per bodypart that you do in a row without rest. The exercises start hard and end with an “easier” movement. Here’s an example using the leg superset:
Squats x 10
SL Deadlift x 10
Leg Press x 10
You work out your 10RM on each exercise BEFORE you do the circuit. That’s bad. Because by the time you’ve done squats and deadlifts without a break, your 10RM on leg press feels like a 5 rep max. And you’re expected to crank out 10.
Bodyparts worked are legs, chest, back, shoulders and arms. You get a two minute rest between each megaset. TWO MINUTES!!. You do 3 circuits.
First time I did BCT I was on the floor afterwards. Looking at the bright lights. It’s the closest I have ever come to barfing after a workout.
Biolo, G et al. Increased rates of muscle protein turnover and amino acid transport after resistance exercise in humans. Am. J. Physiol. 268: E514–E520, 1995
Donovan, C and G Brooks. Endurance training affects lactate clearance, not lactate production. Am. J. Physiol. 244: E83-E92, 1983.
Fleck, S. Bridging the gap: interval training physiological basis. NSCA J. 5: 40, 57–62, 1983.
Horswill, C.A. Interval training for wrestlers. Wrestling USA, Sept. 15, 1992
Kraemer, W. A series of studies—the physiological basis for strength training in American football: fact over philosophy.
J. Strength Cond. Res. 11:131–142, 1997.
Kraemer, W et al. Endogenous anabolic hormonal and growth factor responses to heavy resistance
exercise in males and females. Int. J. Sports Med. 12:228–235, 1991.
Kraemer, W et al. Hormonal and growth factor responses to heavy resistance exercise protocols. J. Appl. Physiol. 69:1442–1450, 1990.
Kraemer, W et al. Physiologic responses to heavy-resistance exercise with very short rest periods. Int. J. Sports Med. 8:247–252, 1987.
McCall, G et al. Acute and chronic hormonal responses to resistance training designed to promote muscle hypertrophy. Can.
J. Appl. Physiol. 24:96–107, 1999.
Robinson, J et al. Effects of different weight training exercise/rest intervals on strength, power, and high intensity
exercise endurance. J. Strength Cond. Res. 9:216–221, 1995.
Sleamaker, R and R Browning. Serious Training for Endurance Athletes. 2nd ed. Human Kinetics, 1996.
Last edited by ~jAmeZ~; 01-06-2005 at 03:16 AM.
01-06-2005, 03:38 PM #5
Optimal Resting Time Between Sets
HOW MUCH REST IS BEST BETWEEN SETS:
A. 20 SECONDS
B. 45 SECONDS
C. 60 SECONDS
D. 90 SECONDS
E. 90-180 SECONDS OR MORE
F. YOUR MUSCLES WILL TELL YOU
I have heard many times this question What Is The Optimal Time Between Sets? And have heard many answers to this question sometimes from the same persons who constantly change the answer to this question. I also know most of you have heard the same question too. I'm sure that you've heard 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 60 seconds, and so on. After trying all these and 4 year of training, I have concluded that there is no set amount of time one should rest in between sets. Though it is said that in 90 seconds a muscle recovers to an extent of 80-90%. How often you have to look at the experts to guide through this often confusing maze of bodybuilding. After all, few of us have all the relevant information in terms of physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, biochemistry, and applied chemistry that we would optimally desire. One prominent magazine even has a full two-page spread listing the degrees and credentials of their contributing authors, many of whom are MD's and Phd's. If I ask the above question from an expert then I will get a big lecture on the ATP-PC and glycolytic system. I will be made to see various extracts from medical journals and I really feel it difficult to stay awake while reading these.
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that when it comes to building your body, you are the most qualified person to turn to. For all that the experts and gurus know from years of education, research, and field trials, none of them can compete with how well you understand yourself after several years of training. We all have different physical make-ups, and unique needs for exercise and tolerance to the same.
You might be able to thrive on a high-volume routine that involves very frequent training. Your friend, on the other hand, might burn out and even start feeling sick and run-down on the same routine. He may get better results training a body part just once a week, while you need to hit it twice or else you feel as if you're losing size and strength. This is the real reason pro's go through so many training partners. Have you seen training videos of pro’s. They too follow differential pattern of resting between sets. The point is, there are no hard and fast rules governing how often to train and for how long. You may have already discovered what works best for you. If not, keep searching. Somewhere out there is a simple formula that will allow you to make the best gains of your life.
Fact is stranger than fiction.
Strength coach Charles Poliquin, who has the history of more Olympic medals for his clients then anybody else, wrote an arm training program recently in which one is to train arms literally all day with breaks only at meals. I was stunned to find that trainers praised him for the inches of new bicep and tricep girth.
NOW SOME FACTS………
If you are want to make an intense workout , attempt to keep the time as short as possible eg 20 second rest between sets. You tire yourself out very quickly! Before you know it, you have to crawl around the gym in order to complete your workout and that is no good for strength. It does more harm than good for strength and size. To get bigger quicker, the best rest period is 1 to 2 minutes between sets. If you take longer rest periods e.g. 180 seconds or more then it is more for strength than anything as they more you rest, the more your muscle recover and the more weight you can push and pull. I say, take the time you need, but stay warm. Take care, do some flexing and stretching between sets to keep the muscle warm and avoid injury if you want to rest longer than 3 minutes. You have to develop your instinct about resting between sets. I mean listen to your body. Watch your concentration level too. If you are lacking physical and mental focus, then you should take some more rest between sets. If you are feeling a bit tired and less motivated, then take some more rest. If your poundages are dropping between sets then take some more rest may be 2 minutes. But if you notice that your reps and poundages are staying about the same, then you could theoretically cut your rest time down a bit.
Resting between sets is also dependent on training technique used. If you do a lot of PARTIALS , it is very important to stretch after each set. And in PRE-EXHAUST training, we have no rest between an isolation and a compound exercise to fatigue the targeted muscle group.In REST-PAUSE training, a set is done to failure and then after 5-10 seconds rest, few more reps with the same weight are done. Supersetting involves doing two exercises with no rest in between. In Giant Sets, we do several exercises for one bodypart in a row without rest in between exercises , e.g. chin-ups, seated rows, straight arm lat pushdowns, then lat pull downs. So if you use these kinds of intensity building techniques and are in cutting phase then it is obvious that you have to take little rest between the sets.
If your gym is too crowded, then also it influences the resting time.
So the best way to ensure growth is to listening to your body and see how it is feeling. The resting times varies between workouts and workouts. You cannot take same rest period between a set of bicep curls and a set of grueling deadlifts. Your muscles will tell you when the time to change has arrived. For some more information read the article on New Muscle growth Theories on www.bodybuilding.com.
AN INTERESTING FACT: Exercising as little as three times a week, 20 minutes per session will yield noticeable results for most people ( www.bodybuilding.com)
Once I was to participate in a fashion show so I wanted to be in great shape like never before. At that time , my trainer told me to try something different. Using that my metabolism got a tremendous boost and I saw tremendous gains. This workout method is called X-size training system. These workouts were short and intense with very little or no rest. This training method is described below:
Each workout begins with a "setup set". Used as a warm-up set, it prepares the muscle fibers for maximum growth. The "setup set" lasts 2 minutes. The motion during this "setup set" is nearly static - you're barely moving. The positive portion of the rep lasts 60 seconds. Once you reach the point of
maximum contraction, the negative portion begins, lasting 60 seconds.
The weight used for the setup set was 50% of one rep max. Immediately after the "setup set" you will perform a "maximum set". You should use a
weight that you would "normally" use for 6-8 repetitions of the specific exercise. Without resting, immediately start the "minimum set". The weight for the "minimum set" is the weight for the "maximum set" minus 30%. For example if you are using 100 pounds for the "maximum set" - you should use 70 pounds for the minimum set. During the last rep of the "minimum set" you should perform a "static contraction" - hold the weight at the fully contracted position for 15 seconds.
THE SAMPLE WORKOUT
SAMPLE Training Plan :
Seated Cable Rows (setup set)
Pull Downs (maximum set)
Pull Downs (minimum set)
Barbell Preacher Curls (maximum set)
Barbell Preacher Curls (minimum set)
3 minutes pause
Bench Press (setup set)
Pec Deck (aka Butterflies) (maximum set)
Pec Deck (minimum set)
Pulley Pushdowns (maximum set)
Pulley Pushdowns (minimum set)
Training Plan: Part Two
Leg Press (setup set)
Leg Extensions (maximum set)
Leg Extensions (minimum set)
Leg Curls (maximum set)
Leg Curls (minimum set)
5 minutes pause
Overhead Dumbbell Press (setup set)
Side Lateral Raises (maximum set)
Side Lateral Raises (minimum set)
Bent-over Lateral Raises (maximum set)
Bent-over Lateral Raises (minimum set)
So you can see it takes a little more than 20 minutes to complete the workouts. After it , I had two days rest. During the rest period, I experimented with my diet ,increased protein uptake etc .
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DO IT :I used it for 3 weeks and the results were tremendous. It is really so intense that if your diet is good then you will see the gains in a week. If you try this workout, you should do this in your cutting phase and I assure you that the gains will be amazing.
DID IT HELP MY OVERALL GAINS: This workout increased lean muscle mass and I saw great definition in the body and I was ripped to the max. Also I had got weak point in shoulders and after this training regimen, my shoulders looked like boulders.
So , I can say that train with intensity and keep safety in mind too. Its your body so make some smart changes in your diet and training regimen and see the difference yourself. Without adequate rest, your training and eating are being secretly sabotaged.
There is no need to know everything the experts reveal and preach in bodybuilding. Certainly read as much new information as possible, but realize that you know your own body like nobody else and ultimately you will determine what is best for you. Be confident in what you know about yourself, and use your considerable powers of instinct and intuition to guide you to the greatest physique you are capable of building and always remember “ NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE” .
References:- 1.X-Size training system: OLIVER WOLTER, www.x-size.com
01-06-2005, 05:23 PM #6
01-07-2005, 12:44 AM #7
x-adaptation is a free book provided on the site but x-size training program is a paid service and i have seen many getting results with it.i hav no ill feeling towards you buddy but this program provided me that which i wanted very badly. also x-adaptation donot contain any training routine too......anywaz ....... one question that this week 11 topic was to be discussed from jan 3 to jan 10 and why did Mr admin changed all that to jan 7. This topic was posted on jan 3 by admin. When i posted the article , after sometime i saw that the results have been declared to my utter dismay.
thanks and regards
Last edited by monsterashu; 01-07-2005 at 12:01 PM.
01-10-2005, 11:09 AM #8
03-28-2009, 12:20 PM #9
- Join Date: Jun 2002
- Location: Booneville, Mississippi
- Age: 56
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Check the pump...
Talk to you later.
Mikefromms"When confused about how to train, do the the basics and train like like your life depends on it,"--Mike Baggett
05-02-2009, 08:17 PM #10
I was going to write about this BUT after reading "~jAmeZ~" reply I have nothing to say because he/she had by far the best answer. I have read a lot about this and everything he/she has said is true. I have just started working out for about two months and during the first month I did a 2-3 minutes rest time (usually 2) and I gained 50 pounds on my bench press. I did barely any triceps workouts (which was a VERY stupid thing of me to do). During the 2nd month I am did 1 minute rest between each set and I barely gained anything.
The MOST intense training I have done was Rest Pause Training (RPT). It is absolutely INSANE. After finishing the workout I felt like I could take on the world. I am ADHD and full of energy all the time but I have NEVER and I mean NEVER had more energy nor the pump than the after I finished RPT.
SORRY ABOUT THE BAD ENGLISH.
05-03-2009, 08:02 AM #11
How long should you wait between sets?
My wait is normally around 3-4 minutes since I don't lift very heavy, but it all depends on the weight being lifted and even on the muscles. For example my legs muscles recover quickly than my biceps.
The person who is doing the sets would know how long to weight, as soon as he feels like he is ready to lift he should stop the wait.
Should you try to spend only a few seconds between sets to fully work the muscle and increase the "burn", or should you wait longer until your muscles have fully recovered from the last set?
Everyone has a different method of working out, I myself prefer my arms to be fully rested before started to lift again, If I don't allow them to rest, I will not be able to complete my reps fully and I call feel the "burn" still. however my legs are able to complete the sets just after a few seconds.
If I had to choose between one of them I would go for the longer wait. Since this will allow me to complete my reps on each excercise I do. So basically you should do what ever suits you best.
Which way is best to increase growth? Should you ever change the amount of time between sets over time, or stick to one, proven method?
I basically would try to LOWER the amount of time i wait between each set, sometimes I end up having upto 10 minutes of rest time. So Yes I would try to lower it to about 1-2 minutes as most of the bodybuilders who also attend the same gym as me have recommended it, but 1-2 minutes is a good time to allow your muscles to relax if your used to it.
Once you have it down to 1-3 minutes I suggest you keep it that way, Even though you feel like you can lift the weights, and you probably can anyway, but thats not the point. The point is that it could harm your muscles somehow, because they need to get there relaxing time, no matter what you feel like.
Have you ever used one of those "intense" woerkouts with absolutely minimal amount of time between sets just to try to break a plateau or try something different? Something like doing 10 sets of squats with only 15 seconds between sets, until you are on the verge of puking? If so, what was the workout exactly? How often should you do it? Did it help your overall gains?
Yes I have done this, and it was on the Abs machine (Image posted below - I do not know the exact name sorry I'm new to BB'ing )
I had it on about 50kg which the trainer said was quite good for my size, I did about 20 reps, waited under 20 seconds and continued doing them. I could feel the resistance against my abs.
I did enjoy it and I could see some gains, I could feel a slight bulge in my abs, so I had a feeling it worked. Flexing my abs before would hardly effect them, but for around 40 minutes I was on the same machine, and about 4 sets had the 20 second wait.
I tried that on other machines and free weights also, but it didn't go so well, the only parts of my body I am going to use the method on is my abs and legs since they are probably the most strongest.
I always use this method now, except when I feel tired I lower the weight a little, so it is still taking effect but also helping my muscles to relax, the normal weight change I would go for would probably be:
50kg - 40kg - 30 kg - 25kg
25kg is extremely low and seems like almost nothing for me, so therefore I leave it at that.
The machine I used for this was:
No matter what I always allow some rest time between sets, let it be 20 seconds or 2 minutes, You need the rest. Weaker parts of the body require more time to relax, which only a person can know about himself.
06-25-2009, 09:25 PM #12One reaps what they sow. Though the wicked may seem to prevail, the righteous one will be content in the work he has done to ensure those he touches were treated with the worth that every being has the right to receive.
I rep back.
4000 Cals, 17 pound/8 weeks and goin'.
06-25-2009, 09:30 PM #13One reaps what they sow. Though the wicked may seem to prevail, the righteous one will be content in the work he has done to ensure those he touches were treated with the worth that every being has the right to receive.
I rep back.
4000 Cals, 17 pound/8 weeks and goin'.
08-19-2009, 03:01 PM #14
08-24-2009, 02:23 PM #15
- Join Date: Sep 2005
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Ive always heard that resting longer intervals helps when building mass, but shorter intervals is for endurance trainin, and/or to keep the heart rate up when someone is trying to lose weight or cutting. It sounds pretty simple and I can see why but who knows but the person actually doing it. Everyone is diff. I just started working out again and I use 30-45 sec intervals of rest and go again. It also allows the workout to go so much faster, in and out of the gym in 30-45 mins unless doing cardio but still makes weight training go quicker.Follow me: