If you read the latest Muscle & Fiction magazines you’ll say 60-90 seconds is the optimal rest interval between sets. This assertion is rarely backed-up with scientific research, and when it is, they will say it increases human growth hormone levels in the body temporarily, which is true, but I haven’t found any studies that correlate it with long-term increases in muscle mass. I have no doubt that many people achieve respectable results from this protocol, especially the enhanced lifters that fill the pages of the muscle magazines, but what is optimal for the natural lifter. What does the science say? Continue reading “How long should you rest between sets?”
Forget those 1-minute rest intervals in the muscle magazines. Your performance from set to set will decline quickly. Short rest intervals and training to failure repeatedly will increase human growth hormone levels, but I have not found any studies that correlate it with long-term increases in muscle mass. I have found studies that have concluded just the opposite. [i] [ii]Countless studies have demonstrated that progressive overload is the key to muscle and strength gains.
If you want to build strength and muscle, it is best done naturally by resting 3 to 5 minutes between working sets. The only time I recommend one-minute rest intervals are between low-intensity warm-up sets. A study conducted by the Kennesaw State University found that subjects that rested 2.5 minutes between sets made substantially greater gains in muscle mass than the subject that only rested 1-minute between sets.[iii]