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.