How Long Should Your Rest Period Be Between Sets?

How long should I rest between sets? There is a simple answer to that…

You should go to the gym, lay on the bench press, and start pumping that bar for an hour straight NON STOP! That is great for a major muscle pump!

rest between sets


In Reality, The Rest Between Sets All Depends On What Your Goal Is!

If you are looking to get stronger, or if you are looking to increase muscle mass. These two different goals will have different rest periods.

Rest Period Between Sets To INCREASE STRENGTH! 


Strength is nothing but a practiced skill.

“Once again, just look at powerlifters. They take a long time and rest between sets until they recuperate their strength and breath fully.”

rest between sets

They want to approach every set FRESH, so resting for several minutes, is ideal.

Not to say you can’t build muscle if you take long breaks, but they won’t be as good.

You are looking to shock the muscle and produce growth in strength.

Allowing your muscle to fully recover, allows you to practice the skill with full strength. You are looking to increase strength not grow muscle!

  • As crazy as it sounds, strength is not 100% related to muscle size.

rest between sets

This is because there is different type of strength, and there are different muscle fibers.

  • With heavy lifting and long breaks, you only activate your fast twitch muscle fibers, and totally neglect the slow twitch muscle fibers, which are also a major part of muscle size. That also depends on your genetics.


funny gym meme


If you want to increase muscle mass, then the rest between sets should be minimal.

“You want to push your muscles to new limits, you should rest 10 – 30 seconds between sets. Resting a little bit more won’t kill you, but the shorter the better!”

rest between sets

It’s really that simple. Short rest periods, and a rep range of 12 -15 reps is proven to generate the best results for muscle growth.

You can be someone that grows muscle with lower reps, and if that is the case, do lower reps!

  • This is what studies have proven to be true for MOST people.

how long to rest between sets

Time under tension is something you heard of millions of times, and the longer you rest, the shorter the time under tension is.

The rest between sets is very important, and it makes a huge difference.

  • To grow muscle, and also increase your hear rate (burning calories = shredded), shorter rest periods are required.

rest day gym meme

How much time do muscles need to rest after a workout?

We wrote an awesome article on workout frequency that explains this really well.

Muscle recovery truly depends on your age, and a lot of other factors, but it mainly boils down to genetics.

The older you get, the longer it takes to recover. That is typically true for the most part, unless you are a freak athlete.

time between sets

Is it bad to work out every day?

In reality, you actually never have to rest between workout sessions. If you think that is crazy, you are wrong. 

  • Let’s say your workout session is doing 20 pushups! Are you telling me that you need to take a day off now before your next workout?

time between sets

Absolutely NOT! It all depends on your workout! 

“If you kill yourself everyday in the gym, you will need time off. If you do a little bit of everything every day, it’s actually a good thing to work out more often!”

Doing 20 sets on the bench press is a one way ticket to a major injury. Doing 5 sets on the bench 5 days a week, is a ticket to a jacked chest!

muscle genetics

  • Make sure you know what your goal is, before you decide your rest periods, and of course play around with it to see what works best for you.

Our bodies are all the same in many ways, but also very different in many ways.

  • If one things works for me, it does not mean that it will work for you!

We have different muscle fibers, different genetics, different recovery times and different metabolisms. It takes a while to truly understand what works for you.


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