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 recently visited Newfoundland for one month, and was looking for a good place to train while I was there. Jon and the team at JK conditioning really took the time to assess what I already knew, and set achievable goals for the time that I had with them. The gym was such a great place to push yourself. It had everything you needed, but more importantly it had a well organized, very knowledgeable, and really motivating group of trainers to push you at each workout. Not to mention a really nice group of other members who also motivated me to go that little bit further. I would highly recommend the gym to anyone who has a goal and wants to find a place to help them achieve it.

I had signed up for other gyms in the past and never went or rarely went. Something always got in the way or I was just too tired and lacked motivation to go. This way I’ve made a commitment to Jon or Thomas and I try very hard to keep my sessions once I’ve booked in. JKC is different from other gyms that I’ve tried in the past because no one is there to be “seen”. We are all there to get a good workout in and go on with our lives. And it’s a small gym so you get to know everyone and it’s like a big family. When I joined JKC, I couldn’t do a chin up with an elastic band, but I’ve slowly worked up to 10 free hanging chin ups. That was big because I hate chin ups.

I have never previously seen the passion and level of care that Jon and Thomas bring to everyone who works out at JKC. Their knowledge, insight and skills are extraordinary, and they work with everyone individually to ensure the best possible results. The attention to detail and to every person’s specific requirements and goals, and the incredible, constant encouragement they provide, is, in my opinion, what truly distinguishes JKC from any other program in which I’ve participated. I am extremely pleased with the progress I’ve achieved thus far, and it’s largely attributable to Jon and Thomas and the approach they take to training and working with people.

The people and the training set JKC apart from other gyms or programs I’ve tried in the past. Truly Jon and Thomas meet you where are and help you get to where you want to be. There are no expectations and never any judgement. You can go there having the worst day and you always leave feeling better. Truly JKC has given me a level of strength and confidence I would not have had otherwise ❤️.

I heard somewhere that achieving your health goals is determined largely by what you do in the kitchen. I am grateful to have found Julia who brought direction and accountability to this most important piece for me. Having Julia in my corner has brought me confidence and certainty that I am on my way to achieving my goals. I highly recommend her if you are serious about making a change and feeling better about your health.

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