Rest Guide: The Art of Resting During Your Workout

You may be surprised to learn that rest is crucial when you’re trying to achieve workout efficiency. Taking the right amount of rest between sets will help you achieve your goals faster. If you’re confused about how long you should rest for, this article will give you the answer.

6 min read - 17 September 2021 Two woman resting on the floor with gym clothes on Exercise depletes your muscles’ energy sources. When you take a break between sets, you give your muscles the chance to recover and renew their energy supplies. Overtraining can cause fatigue and failure to maintain correct form, which leads to performance loss, so it’s important to have a recovery period. Resting also enables safer exercise by preventing potential injuries. 

There are three basic rules when it comes to taking rest during exercise:

  • The larger the muscle groups you’re working, the more time you should wait for recovery. For instance; glutes are bigger muscle groups than arms, and so thus you should rest for longer after exercises such as squats or glute bridges.
  • As soon as you catch your breath from the last exercise, you can end your rest because long breaks (longer than 5 minutes) cause your body to cool down and decrease your blood pressure. 
  • Focus on really resting during your breaks. Regulate your breathing or drink some water instead of scrolling through Instagram. 

The most complicated part of rest is deciding how long you should wait. But there’s no standard time for a break. The duration of the recovery period you need changes depending on your workout goals.


Rest time for muscle growth

You may have a target of body-building or working a specific muscle group for aesthetic reasons. Hypertrophy training, which leads to an increase in your lactic acid level, associated with muscle growth, gives you the best results. The magical formula for optimum muscle growth involves lifting heavy weights and taking short breaks in between. Short rests also contribute to the release of testosterone, which influences muscle growth in a positive way. 


Rest time for a cardio workout

Cardio exercises aim to increase your heart rate, increasing fat burn and making you sweaty. For those who want to lose weight, cardio is the best choice as it helps burn more calories. These workouts require short breaks, and 30-90 seconds is ideal. HIITs and Tabata are great examples of cardio exercises including short rests. You can also try supersets – you take a rest after performing two sets without a break. According to research, this boosts your metabolism and helps you burn fat faster.


Rest time to improve your strength

Strength workouts focus on reaching your maximum power in each set. Squats, bench presses, overhead presses, and deadlifts are the big four of a strength routine. Even though the duration can change based on your repetitions, taking approximately 2-5 minutes rest is optimal for increasing power. 


Rest time to build endurance

Endurance workouts are the key to sustain exercise consistently over time. Better muscle endurance helps you work longer without getting tired. The ideal endurance routine should contain 12-15 reps with a light weight and with a short rest of about 30 seconds between rounds. 


The Bottom Line

Rest definitely isn’t a waste of time. It’s an integral component of an effective workout routine. Consider your goals when you adjust your rest times. If you want to lose weight, improve your capacity for longer workouts and grow your muscles, shorter breaks will help you reach your dreams faster. If you aim to develop your power, longer breaks will be great to replenish your energy stores. 

A small reminder: Regardless of what kind of exercise you do, always listen to your body and when you feel that you’re pushing it too much, take some rest. Your health always comes first.
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