JP Mullowney

As you are moving through your workout, you may have, at some point, wondered how long you should rest between exercises and what you should be doing for those rest periods. What may seem like common sense is actually quite far from it and the amount of research that has been conducted on rest periods only proves this point.

The Science:

In the fourth edition of the Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recommends that rest periods be based on the trainee’s goal. For example: for those seeking to improve muscular strength, the rest period should range from 2-5 minutes. For those who seek increases in muscle hypertrophy (size), the suggested time is 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes. Finally, for people interested in muscular endurance (fat loss or increased cardiovascular adaptations), the suggested rest period is only 30 seconds.

This can be a lot to remember, so for a more generalized approach, Gonzalez (2016) suggests taking 2-3 minutes of rest between sets for multi-joint exercises (think: squats, bench presses or deadlifts) and 1-2 minutes of rest between sets for single joint exercises (think: bicep curls and lateral raises).

In addition to research on the length of rest periods, researches have also identified the optimal activities to perform during rest periods to maximize the results of your workout. For example, in their 2016 study, Ouellette et al. examined the effects of seated, lying down, and treadmill walking on physiological recovery and energy output. Interestingly, they found that those who were seated or lying (passive rest) experienced superior recovery of their heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen consumption when compared to those who performed treadmill walking (active rest) during their rest periods. Also, Ouellette et al. (2016) found that those performing passive rest exhibited greater mean rates of energy output during successive sets than those who performed active rest between exercises.

The Take Home Message:

The amount of rest taken between sets is a critical consideration for your workout. The rest period is dependent on your goals and the amount of time you feel that you need to adequately recover to optimally perform on the next set. If you feel that you are too rushed or that your rest period is too long during your workout, please ask Jon or Thomas for ways to make your rest periods better suit your training goals.

References:

Gonzalez, A.M. (2016). Effect of interest rest interval length on resistance exercise performance and muscular adaptation. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 38(6), 65-68.

Ouellette, K.A. et al. (2016). Comparison of the effects of seated, supine, and walking interest rest strategies on work rate. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(12), 3396-3404.

NSCA. (2015). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (4th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Prepared for the JKC blog by Coach Thomas.

Photo credit: JP Mullowney

I heard really good things about it from my sister, and I could see the positive results she was getting.  I needed to do something.  I was overweight, depressed, and recovering from a back injury.  I had reached a point where simply getting up out of a chair was becoming difficult.  I knew that if I didn’t do something about it my senior years would be very burdensome to the people close to me.  I’m so glad I did!  After just a few weeks my day-to-day pain was drastically reduced, and my mobility increased. I had the confidence to try sea kayaking, and I now play ice hockey twice a week!

The key difference is the expertise.  The trainers know the gym equipment and the exercises, but they also have degrees in kinesiology, and can apply what they know to your workout.  As someone who was in poor physical condition starting out, I was worried about hurting myself.  Previously I tried an outdoor weekly bootcamp and injured my knee by pushing too hard.  The trainers at JKC constructed a program that started at the right level for me, evolving it as I grew stronger and more fit.  I feel well looked after.

I joined JKC because I wanted to better care for my physical health, but didn’t really know how, or where, to begin.  Seeking help from a trainer seemed like a wise choice, and I had heard great things about the staff at JKC. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate exercising.  So, I’ve only ever tried sticking with a gym routine twice in my life.  Each experience consisted of me wandering around, not knowing what to do, and settling for an elliptical machine or something else that seemed comfortable and non-threatening.  Each session was the same, and I felt like I was wasting my time.

Each session at JKC, however, is specifically crafted for me.  I don’t have to think about what to do, because I’m told what to do.  I don’t have to worry about how to do things properly, because I’m shown (sometimes multiple times!) how to accomplish each task.  I don’t have to be concerned about slipping into a comfortable routine, because Jon and Thomas won’t let that happen.

cas dyke

I started training at JKC in 2016 because I had built up a number of muscle imbalances from old injuries and activities like rock climbing which had led to some really bad posture and mobility issues. On top of that some friends had convinced me to sign up for a half-ironman. Working with Jon and Thomas was a way to pull my body back into alignment and make sure it wouldn’t fall apart during my race. The staff at JKC pride themselves on continuously advancing their knowledge, which leads to new and inventive way to address problems, old and new. I got my Dad to start training here and recommended JKC to all looking to improve their strength and fitness.

I’m 29 and I just had my 3rd Liftiversary 🥳 at JKC. I chose to train here because of the great word on the street and the fact that at lululemon, we’re encouraged to support our local community. My day-to-day routine is very busy, and I love showing up and having to think very little about my workout. The vibes are always good, my music choice is usually accommodated, and the bys are incredibly supportive and compassionate, helping me reach my goals (even when I had a broken hand). I also get to be my weird self, and am embraced fully.

I had virtually no real experience using weights and felt intimidated going gyms. I avoided gym-goers using free weights, especially when hearing that loud crash, as they would drop weights to the floor. I thought this was to show everyone around them that they owned that area and that I shouldn’t go anywhere near! So I guess I just wanted to learn how to lift weights safely in a gym environment.

I spent over 18 years in the British Military, so I got to use some nice gyms. 99% of my time and experiences in those gyms was spent doing cardiovascular workouts, because I could just jump on a treadmill, plug in my head phones and do my own thing! JKC is different, because they have given me the confidence to use free weights and equipment that I had feared for years. Their demonstrations and knowledge is impeccable and I thank them for their continuous belief and support they show me at every session.

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