How Long Should You Rest Between Sets? Hypertrophy, Strength and Power Guide

Check out how to figure out what your resting period is for optimal results.

Have you ever wondered how long should you rest between sets? Here is an objective answer to that.

Building muscle is a science. There are so many variables when it comes to hypertrophy that it is difficult to explain how to do one thing over the other. Truth is, each human being is unique and so would be the way for each person to achieve their fitness goals.

When it comes to training some of the variables are sets, reps, exercises, intensity, how heavy or light should you lift and so on. One key ingredient to building muscle is also rest periods, but sadly some people don’t think about it.

Source: Antoni Shkraba on Pexels

If that is you and it hits you only after the first set of the training session when you ask yourself how long should you rest between sets, then continue scrolling down for some answers from the always reliable Dr Mike Israetel.

Dr Mike Israetel, has a PhD in Sport Physiology and is the co-founder of Renaissance Periodization. In a video posted by Juggernaut Training Systems, he talked about how long should you rest between sets.

How Long Should You Rest Between Sets?

As mentioned earlier, the optimal resting period between sets can differ from person to person and Israetel explains early on about the answer he is going to give. “It only gets you into the average pretty decent zone of how long you should be resting, but it’s way better than random and way better than no information at all.”

So, how long should you rest between sets? It depends on your goals and Israetel divides goals into three categories:

  • Hypertrophy – to challenge local muscle as a limiting factor for at least 5 reps
  • Strength – to hit programmed weight at programmed reps
  • Power – to be able to hit 90% or more of peak power on the next set

The purpose of the resting period depends on what the purpose of your training session is. If you feel like you can do the same exercise with the goal written above for the following set, you have rested enough.

How to Tell If You’re Training Hard Enough?

how long should you rest between setsSource: Nappy on Pexels

That number can vary between 1 minute and 3 minutes for most people. However, for example, if you are training for hypertrophy and in your second set you can only crank out 3 reps with good form, you have failed the goal of the exercise and thus should have rested longer before trying to do the next set.

It is a learning curve to understand how long should you rest between sets. Trial and error, as with most things fitness related, is what you should be doing.

Dr Mike Israetel also talks about a checklist of things to keep in mind when resting to know if you’ve rested long enough before hitting another set or a new exercise.

For that information and a more detailed argumentation from him, click on the video below.

VIDEO – How Long Should You Rest Between Sets?

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