We all know when we need rest. Maybe our eyes start closing, or our heads start dropping, but what about between weight lifting sets? How much rest is the right amount? Too much rest and it takes an eternity to finish a workout; not enough, and the lift is compromised.
Short-term recovery is both necessary and important to performance. It can be defined as the recovery that takes place between sets of resistance or interval work. With respect to resistance training, research has recently shown that a rest period of 1:30-2:00 minutes up to approximately 4 minutes has a greater effect on increasing maximum strength output during each set. This allows sufficient time for the phosphocreatine to regenerate itself.
Phosphocreatine is a high energy compound that acts as muscular energy during shorter, more intense bursts of exercise. A common determination for the appropriate amount of recovery time to regenerate phosphocreatine is 10-12 seconds of rest for every second of work. However, aiming for about 2 minutes of rest should work about as well.
Studies have shown that a rest time of 2-4 minutes ultimately lead to more exertion during the lifts and, overtime, greater strength gains. Next time you’re strength training, don’t forget to take time to rest between sets!