How Long Should You Rest Between Sets For Muscle Growth? | Men's Health Magazine Australia

How Long Should You Rest Between Sets For Muscle Growth?

Thanks to the wonderful world of social media, we now have direct access to some of the greatest fitness minds (and bodies) in our industry, keen to dish out their opinion and share the educated knowledge that helped shape their bodies/fitness/abs.

One athlete worthy of a follow is CrossFit athlete and owner of California’s CrossFit Chalk, Ryan Fisch. The man is quite clearly a beast, ripped beyond all belief, yet is full of real-world wisdom for his clients and followers. The good-guy of CrossFit regularly shares training advice, personal stories, transformations and inspiration in spades to his almost 100k Instagram followers.

Just this week, Fisch took to the platform to share some valuable muscle-building tips, an area that he is clearly well-versed in. Ryan tackles a frequently asked, yet rarely addressed, question by gym-goers; how long should I be resting between sets to optimise muscle growth?

“Which way is best to increase growth? Should you ever change the amount of time between sets over time, or stick to one, proven method?” asks a knowledgeable Fisch.

Proving his knowledge on the subject, Fisch first recognises that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to applying these methods, breaking his answer down by training type and goal; Strength, Hypertrophy, or Endurance.

“Having a degree in exercise physiology, I never even think about it,” says Fisch of his own training, “but for some of you this may help a ton, so here we go!”

Strength Training

To get stronger faster, the best rest period is 3 to 5 minutes between sets. This is because it takes your body about 3 minutes to fully replenish phosphagen stores aka ATP. In other words, if you give your ATP-PC system at least 3 minutes to recharge, you’ll lift more weight and get stronger faster.

Hypertrophy Training (AKA “getting swole”)

To get bigger quicker, the best rest period is 1 to 2 minutes between sets. One of the key factors in how much muscles grow is the amount of anabolic hormones your body produces after weight training. Short rest periods of between 1 and 2 minutes cause a greater release of these hormones than longer rest periods. Fact.

Endurance Training

To increase muscular endurance as quickly as possible, the best rest period is 45 seconds to 2 minutes between sets. Basically, endurance training is aimed at making your muscles more resistant to fatigue. Without going into complicated details, a major cause of fatigue in endurance activities is lactic acid build-up. Regularly lifting weights in a 15-20RM makes your body more efficient at clearing lactic acid from the muscles by boosting your body’s hormonal and vascular systems. 

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