Importance of Rest between Sets

Rest is important between exercises to allow for recovery and acquire best results. However, many people overlook the importance of rest between sets. Instead of practicing 3 seps of 10 reps and taking rest in between, many people try to lose calories by doing 30 reps at a stretch. However, it is not the best practice. According to the health experts, it is important to rest between sets. This article explains the importance of taking rest between sets.



The amount of rest you need to take between sets would depend largely on the following factors:

  • The exercise you’re doing
  • The amount of intensity involved in the exercise you are performing
  • The results you are aiming for


Resting can be turn out to be a significant an important standard of measuring how hard you are working. If you see that you can do away without resting between sets, know that you are not working hard. While doing an exercise using a weight, make sure that last couple of reps is hard to finish. For example, suppose you are doing sets consisting of 10 reps each. In this case, the 8th to 10th rep should be difficult to perform.  If these reps are done without difficulty and you have the ability to do more reps, know that you are not using the right weight. So generally you would take about 1 to 2 minutes between sets. If you ‘re lifting more than 85% of your 1 rep max,  it may be beneficial to take longer rest periods closer to 5 minutes. This is seen in many powerlifters because they are usually lifting more than times their bodyweight and it takes time to recovery from that bout of energy.



Resting between sets provides your muscles and your entire body time to recover and get prepared for the next set. While resting between sets, you get the energy required to perform the next set. Glycogen which happens to be the immediate source of energy for your muscles is just within the muscle cells. This energy is used for short bursts of exercise like weight lifting where a certain amount of glycogen is used.



The problem is that you have only a limited supply of glycogen in the muscle cells and it is used up at a rapid pace. However, the good thing is that it can be easily and fully replenished within 2 to 3 minutes. Resting between sets, to a great extent, helps in replenishing the depleted glycogen. However, keep in mind that the amount of rest necessary between sets for the replenishment of muscle glycogen varies according to the kind of exercise you are doing and the number of reps you are performing. Generally, it is said that the heavier the weight you are using for your workout, the lesser should be the number of reps and the longer should be the rest period.



Another benefit of rest periods are to prevent injury. Think about it, if your muscles are fatigued, putting a lot of resistance before they can a change to refresh, may lead to a pull, strain or tear. Also when you’re not rested before the start of the next set, your body will compensate by using other muscles in the lift. This change in form, or technique can cause a major injury or even irritate joints leading to tendinitis and other problem.



Training is important, but if the proper techniques aren’t followed and muscles don’t have a chance to recover, you will end up taking time off from the gym. Incorporate rest periods in between set to help push more weight, reduce the risk of injury, and get the most out of your workout.


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