I am all about circuits with most of my clients. We have 50 minutes to do a full-body workout and we get the job done; there will be no rest. Many people aren’t looking for max power or building muscle. They want health, tone, and weight loss.
But in traditional weight lifting, you rest. You rest so that you have enough energy to lift just as heavy for the next set. It’s a big part of your workout and a big part of your results. If you can’t lift heavy for the prescribed number of reps, you’re not going to see the results you want. So you rest.
The key is to rest appropriately. And that will depend primarily on your goal. Other factors must be taken into account too, such as how you feel that day, what you ate, and how intensely you’re working. But along with listening to your body, a few guidelines you can help you stay within a general timeframe so that you don’t rest too long or not enough.
Building Muscle Mass
How I love to build muscle. And it’s not easy for me. But it’s my personal passion, what drives me, what turns me on. I know I can’t look like a man, so I am not deterred. I push on for more muscle no matter what and use all the techniques I know of.
If you love building muscle too, strive for 45-60 seconds of rest between sets. You want to work those muscles again before they fully recover but not lift so heavy that you need more than that amount to recover.
When you’re lifting for 8-12 reps – the best rep range for building muscle mass – your body is using primarily glycolysis as its energy source (with ATP-CP at the onset). Glycolysis is used for activities lasting less than two minutes… It’s been shown that when lifting in the 8-12 rep range, muscles are sufficiently ready to be stressed again without too much recovery within 45-60 seconds.
If you need to rest 90 seconds after a set, don’t stress about it. Just keep the range in mind and try to stay within it on most sets. Doing supersets might necessitate a few more seconds to your rests but don’t let it become an excuse to lengthen them. My motto is if I have to rest longer than 60 seconds, I need to lower the resistance.
Increasing Power and Strength
If you’re a power lifter who lifts for short bursts or you train for strength using very heavy weights for low reps, strive for three to five minutes of rest between sets. That’s approximately how long it takes to replenish the ATP-CP energy pathway needed for short, intense bursts of activity 10 seconds or less.
After three minutes, 100% of your ATP-CP levels have been restored. So if you’re a max power lifter or lifting for strength using the 3-5 rep range, enjoy the longer rests.
Is your primary goal “toning up” while losing weight or increasing your metabolism? Keep your rests under 60 seconds and shorter if you’re more interested in calorie burn. Research has shown that metabolism is raised for more than 24 hours with shorter rest periods.
Circuits and endurance interval training is included here – the type I do with many of my clients. If strength training is done with progressive loads and minimal rest, you will see your goals of increased metabolism, calories burned, and muscle tone realized.
Maximizing Your Rests
It can be a bit challenging to get in the exact right amount of rest between sets. Especially when someone talks to you or those pesky texts keep coming in. That’s why it has to be a conscious part of your workout.
After lifting weights for so long, I have a feel for how long to rest. But when I started timing it, I found out I was actually resting too long. So I’ve started using my watch to time the 60 seconds. It’s the only way I can really get the proper amount of rest in, and to me it’s worth it.
If you’re not into timing your rests, may I suggest leaving your phone in your locker? Just checking Twitter mentions and email alone can take well over a minute (trust me, I know). If you’re resting three to five minutes you may have time to check your phone, but do still keep an eye on the clock. You don’t want to undo the stress on your muscles that you’re working so hard to build.
Sometimes I like to do core work in between sets. Again, watch the time. If you’re doing 50 crunches or a nice little abs superset you could go well over 60 seconds. You can even check yourself in the mirror… come on, no matter what our goals, this is fun to do. Just be sure and come back to the weights before too long.
Let me know how your progress is coming along. Keep your eye on your goals… everything you do in the weight room should reflect them. I love building, building…