Written By  Flow Coach, Mackennon  Klink  B.S.,  CSCS,  PN1 

When  it  comes  to  training,  recovery  and  rest  periods  are  often  overlooked and under-valued in most fitness programs even though it has  a huge influence in your overall success. Unknown to most, programmed rest is just as important to your workout as exercise selection, sets, reps, and nutrition. The main question to ask yourself when determining adequate rest is what are you training for?   Hopefully, you know this answer even before you enter the gym, and once identified,  rest should be reflected accordingly. 

Below is a cheat sheet to help ensure you are getting the most out of your rest time:


Training Goal                                                                          Rest Period (b/t Sets or Exercises)

Metabolic Conditioning                                                                     0- :30 Seconds

Muscle Development  (Hypertrophy)                                           :30 seconds – 2:00 minutes

Strength Training                                                                               2:00-3:00 minutes

Max Strength Training                                                                      3:00- 5:00 minutes

Power Development (highly technical)                                        5:00-10:00 minutes

Metabolic  circuit  training  incorporates  minimal  rest  periods  (<30  seconds)  to  challenge  your  muscles  and  aid  in  conditioning.  However,  keep  the  weights  between  30-50%  of  your  max  to  reduce the occurrence of  injury.  For  example,  if  your  goblet  squat  max  is  100lbs,  goblet  squat  with  either  30-50lbs.    

For  your  hypertrophy  training,  keep  your  rest  period  between  30-120  seconds.    The  more  intense  the  exercise  (i.e.  more  weight),  the  closer  you’ll  be  towards  120  seconds  of  rest. 

If  your  goal  is  build  maximum  strength,  keep  your  weights  high,  reps  low  (1-5)  and  the  rest  periods  longer.   General  rule  of  thumb  is  to  keep  the  rest  periods  longer  between  sets  at 3-5  minutes.

With  highly technical movements such as the power clean, which stresses the central nervous system, keep rest times higher (depending on the weight) to ensure that you can perform the lift with maximum speed, effort,  and perfect technique each and every time.     

If  your  training  goals  aren’t  in-line  with  your  rest  periods, you  won’t  see  your  intended  results!   Also,  keep  your  workouts  within  60  minutes.    Your  testosterone  levels  are  at  their  highest  level  within  20-50  minutes.    After  that,  testosterone  levels  begin  to  taper  off  and  cortisol  levels  (stress  hormone)  will  dramatically  increase.  These  simple  changes  will  put  you  in  the  driver’s  seat  on  achieving  your  training  goals.  Regardless  if  you  are  a  complete  beginner  or  a  seasoned  veteran,  monitoring  your  rest  periods  will  help  you  crush  your  training, hit your goals, and remain injury free.