By CJ Hunt
When beginning or while continuing a health and or weight loss journey this common thought usually comes to the surface. “If I rest, I won’t get the most out of my workout.” This is an untrue statement and can have an adverse effect on your workout. Rest is key for recovery. Not only from workout to workout but from set to set during your workout as well. There are scientific ranges of rest for optimal recovery in each mesocycle as well as real world adaptations for rest. We will take a look at both!
First, lets take a look at the scientific rest ranges.
The three mesocycles we will discuss are strength, hypertrophy, and volume/endurance. The strength mesocycle uses the most amount of rest, scientifically it is best to rest 3-5 minutes between sets. This amount of rest has shown to improve strength over multiple sets. While in the hypertrophy mesocycle, less rest is associated here due to less weight and a higher rep range. The ideal rest amount here is 1-2 minutes. In the last mesocycle, endurance/volume, the least amount of rest is appropriate. During this period, the rest should be less than 90 seconds for a specific muscle group. Each mesocycle is different in terms of how the rep ranges, order of exercises, and tempo work the muscles and thus the rest ranges will differ.
Next, we will look at how these scientific ranges are adapted in an hour-long semiprivate workout session.
In the strength mesocycle it is not time applicable to rest for 5 minutes between sets or not much would get done in that hour. To make those rest times work a bit better supersets or triple sets using different muscle groups and stretches are used so by the time u get back to each exercise at least three minutes has passed. This along with getting water or toweling off before starting each set makes the rest times effective. While in the hypertrophy phase again supersets are used but opposing muscle groups are used so one muscle group is ‘resting’ while the other is working. Then adding in a 30-60 second rest gets each member to that desired rest range of 2 minutes. In endurance/volume the least amount of adaptation is needed. While in this period the same muscle groups are used in the supersets to get that area of the body to fatigue quicker. So, if the rest period stays in the less than 90 second range no adaptation is necessary, but adherence is key. These adaptations to each period are the way we maximize our hour of training to achieve the goals of the mesocycle and each member.
Now that we have looked at both the scientific rest periods as well as how we as trainers adapt rest to fit a semiprivate session, the next time you have the thought ‘rest is for lames,’ think about the benefits of rest and how they will help you achieve those goals while working out smarter not more tired. Rest is your friend!!