This Is the Optimal Rest Time Between Sets Based on Your Workout Goals, According to an Exercise Scientist (Well+Good)

Posted: Sep 03, 2023 in In the News

This article originally appeared in Well+Good on September 3, 2023.


This Is the Optimal Rest Time Between Sets Based on Your Workout Goals, According to an Exercise Scientist

By Rebecca Norris

Working out in group fitness classes tends to encourage people to go all-out, all the time. But when it comes to lifting, there’s something to be said about taking breaks. While some people worry that lagging between sets can be a sign of laziness or disinterest, in reality, taking breaks enhances the effect of the lift. That’s why apps, like Alive by Whitney Simmons, incorporate regimented rest time between each set, and even longer breaks between exercises. But it begs the question: How long should you rest between sets?

Although it may seem counterintuitive to working out—or like it’s slowing you down—CPT and ACE Senior Director of Science and Research Sabrena Jo, PhD, says that spending at least one minute between sets is necessary to really reap the rewards of lifting.

The importance of resting between sets while lifting

Spending a minute or more between sets can feel annoying, however, the benefits of doing so can prove extremely beneficial. When you take a minute (or more) between sets, you…

Prevent fatigue

Continuous, intensive exercise without rest can lead to premature muscle fatigue, which reduces your ability to maintain form and intensity across the entirety of your workout,” Dr. Jo says. “This can limit the effectiveness of your training and increase the risk of injury.”

Allow yourself to recover neurally

"The central nervous system [CNS] plays a significant role in weightlifting,” Dr. Jo says. “Rest periods allow the CNS to recover from the high-stress activity, ensuring you can maintain control and form during your lifts.”

Give yourself a psychological break

"Resting provides a mental break, which can help you maintain focus and intensity throughout your workout,” Dr. Jo explains. “This can be especially important during high-intensity or high-volume workouts.”

...Read the full article here.

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