To experience hypertrophy, you must do more than just lift weights. The right amount of rest between exercises is also needed if you are to notice significant gains. Here is some information that will help you plan your rest breaks most effectively.
Gains in Size
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research was performed on untrained males over a period of ten weeks. The results of this study indicated that males who rested 2.5 minutes between sets noticed a 12% gain in arm size over a ten-week period. On the other hand, men in the study who rested for only one minute achieved only a 5% gain in arm size during that same timeframe. This led researchers to conclude that longer rest periods are more effective when it comes to increasing size. The reason is thought to be because a longer amount of rest between exercises allows people to give each workout their very best, which in turn maximizes the benefits.
Gains in Strength
Longer periods of rest between exercises is beneficial whenever increasing strength is your primary goal. Research at the State University of Rio de Janeiro studied 36 well-trained athletes over a period of 16 weeks. These athletes were divided into three groups: one that rested for one minute between sets, a second that paused for three minutes, and a third that took five minutes in between. Those who rested for five minutes between sets showed significantly more improvement in the amount of weight they could bench press or leg press when compared to participants in the other two groups.
Mixing it Up
Although the above studies indicate that longer rest periods are more effective, there are nonetheless some benefits to shorter ones. Shorter rest periods result in higher levels of anabolic hormones being released in the body and an increase in the amount of blood flow to the muscles. Lactate production, which has been associated with short-term strength gains, is also highest whenever the amount of rest between exercises is between one and two minutes. As such, you should occasionally adjust your rest periods to take advantage of these benefits.
When performing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), shorter breaks are needed if you are to improve your cardio and maximize fat burning. In the beginning, a work-to-rest-ratio of 1:2 is recommended. As your fitness level increases, you can then reduce the amount of rest between exercises or include an extra interval. Even when increasing your work-to-rest ratio, you should never dip below a 1:1 threshold. Most HIIT workouts include rest periods of between 45 seconds and two minutes, depending on one’s fitness level.
Individual results will vary; however, most bodybuilders will find that around two to three minutes between sets will provide them with the results they desire. If you have been unable to achieve the right results, changing the amount of rest between exercises could provide you with better gains in virtually no time. For more bodybuilding tips, read this article.