How long should I rest between sets when strength training?

Depending on your goals of training, your rest times should vary. But here, we’ll go over optimal rest times for when you’re working on improving strength, power, hypertrophy, and muscular endurance!

You should feel like you need rest times.

If you feel like you’re ready before these rest times are up, you may have too light of a weight, heavy of an assistance if you’re using a band assist with any bodyweight exercises, or the exercise variation may be too easy.

If you feel like you need longer than these rest times before your next set, you may have too heavy of a weight, light of an assistance if you’re using a band assist with any bodyweight exercises, or the exercise variation may be too difficult.

You may need to review how to determine what the right weight or assistance to use – if you need help with this, check out this post here for more guidance!

If you’re working on strength or power, you should rest 2-5 min between sets.

Muscular strength is focusing on how much weight you can move. On the other hand, power includes a time component so you’re looking at how much weight you can move as fast as you can.

If you’re working on hypertrophy (increased muscle size), rest 30 sec-1.5 min between sets.

Hypertrophy is performed with a goal of increasing muscle size. For example, a lot of people currently want to grow their glutes and therefore the goal would be a hypertrophy.

If you’re working muscular endurance, rest ≤30 sec between sets.

Muscular endurance is less intense muscular contractions with the goal of sustaining those contractions for a longer period of time.

This post just discusses rest times in relation to lifting weights or strength training. When you’re looking at interval training, rest periods will vary based on different criteria!

Thanks for reading & drop any questions or comments below!

Reference: Haff, Triplett, N. T., & National Strength & Conditioning Association. (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning (Fourth edition.). Human Kinetics.

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Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here. 

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