Rest between sets: why it’s important and for how long

When we decide to start training, we always have some goals. Some may think about weight loss and others about endurance. When you go to the gym, all your attention should be on the number of sets you will do and the intensity of the exercise. Regardless of the fitness goal and your experience, there is one thing that people often ignore or forget. Not many people focus on taking breaks while exercising. However, you need to know how much rest you need between sets. Tailoring the rest to specific fitness goals can make a world of difference in achieving the results you want. Read how long you should rest between sets.

The importance of rest between sets

The thought of pushing yourself to the limit and sweating it out may seem appealing. However, neglecting adequate rest between sets can hinder progress and increase the risk of injury, says fitness expert Varun Rattan. Maybe you give 100 percent to an exercise and stop to catch your breath in between. Well, resting between sets is more than just a time to catch your breath.

Rest between sets is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

It’s a much-needed break that allows your body to replenish energy stores, remove metabolic byproducts, and prepare for the next effort. This recovery period is important to optimize performance and maximize profits.

Rest time for beginners

Beginners are always told to take it easy when it comes to training. As a general guideline for taking breaks, beginners should aim for a rest period of 30 to 60 seconds between sets, Varun Rattan tells Health Shots. This ensures adequate recovery without losing the momentum of the workout. Too little rest can lead to premature fatigue and compromise. Too much rest, on the other hand, can reduce the intensity of the workout.

Rest between exercises to lose weight

Rest periods play a strategic role in sustaining high-intensity exercise, which is essential for burning calories and promoting fat loss. A shorter rest period of 30 to 60 seconds would keep the heart rate high and boost metabolism.

Endurance training and rest

Endurance training focuses on building endurance and the ability to sustain prolonged physical activity. In this context, rest periods should be kept relatively short, typically between 30 and 60 seconds. This provides a constant challenge to the cardiovascular system, promoting adaptations that increase endurance.

Woman resting between sets
Whether it’s 30 or 60 seconds, your body needs rest. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Hypertrophy and rest

A one to two minute rest period is recommended for those seeking hypertrophy or muscle growth. This ensures that subsequent sets can be performed with maximum effort, leading to muscle building.

There are some points to remember while resting between sets.

1. Monitor fatigue

You should adjust rest periods based on your fatigue level. If you’re still out of breath or unable to maintain your form, extend the rest period slightly, says Rattan.

2. Listen to your body

Pay attention to your body’s signals. If you experience excessive fatigue or soreness in any part of your body, take a longer rest or consider modifying your workout.

3. Experiment and adapt

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to rest periods. Experiment with different running times and find what works best for you and your fitness goals.

During these rest periods, make sure you actually rest. Do not exercise or do unrelated stretching exercises. Also keep your phone away so you don’t get distracted. Sit down, drink some water and focus on preparing for your next set.

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