When you’re weight training and complete a set of whatever exercise you’re choosing to undertake, do you haphazardly guess when it’s time to go again or do you consider yourself a regimented individual with a stopwatch at the ready? If you consider yourself the former then it might be time to purchase a stopwatch, or at the very least start glimpsing at the big clock in front of you at the gym!

The problem is, if you allow yourself too long with each recovery period then your target muscles would have fully recovered and you’re not really placing the correct exercise demands on them that they require to optimally develop. Furthermore, you’re wasting valuable time sat around in the gym. Conversely, if you don’t allow your muscles adequate time to recover between bouts then your energy stores won’t achieve replenishment and your training ability is again likely to suffer.

Regardless of what you’re trying to achieve, each specific goal has optimal recovery periods. If you are actively aware of these and implement them each and every time you train, then training enhancements are sure to follow.

Rest Periods For Specific Goals

Before purchasing that stopwatch you’ve always dreamt of, there’s one further consideration factor to consider that will also ultimately determine how long you rest for; what are you trying to achieve from your training. The three likely answers are strength and power, hypertrophy and muscular endurance. These will now be considered independently and their optimal recovery periods discussed:

  • Strength and power: When training for strength and power you are looking to achieve anywhere between 1-6 repetitions whilst shifting approximately 85-100% of your one repetition maximum. An optimal rest period for this training is between 2-5 minutes.
  • Hypertrophy: When training for hypertrophic or muscle growth reasons you are attempting to achieve anywhere between 6-12 repetitions for any given set at about 70-80 percent of your one repetition maximum. Optimal rest periods for this are between 30-90 seconds.
  • Muscular endurance: When training for muscular endurance higher repetitions are achieved by selecting lighter loads. 12-20 repetitions at a maximum of 70% of your one repetition maximum are considered optimal with rest periods of 30 seconds or less.
Final Word

Listed above are optimal rest periods during your weight training for strength and power, hypertrophy and muscular endurance. Where possible, attempt to stay within the boundaries of the suggested guidelines whilst at the same time paying attention to the repetitions and resistance.

These optimal rest periods have been tried and tested scientifically and are in place to help you, the weight training individual, achieve maximal results. If you’re going to lift the correct loads for the correct repetitions then you might as well get the rest periods right too!

All that’s left for you now is to chose your training goal and purchase that stopwatch!