Sunday, August 14, 2016

Rest time between sets

The truth is that different rest times can all build muscle. The best time between sets is probably the rest time you haven't been doing, because changing something as simple as rest times can shock your muscle into further growth.


The benefits of longer rest times between sets

If you typically rest for shorter periods (less than a minute) between sets, here is a list of reasons why resting a little longer might increase muscle growth.

Increased strength

Longer rest periods give your muscles more time to rest and recover, immediately increasing the amount of weight they can move and decreasing the rate at which they fail from set to set. Since more weight is moved and total time under tension (the total time the muscle is contracted against a weight) is increased, the muscle will receive more stimuli.

Less energy tax, more muscle tax

By resting more, your energy production systems are used less. This gives the body more resources and more energy to spend on building muscle tissue. More energy can be spent on generating power and building muscle, with less calories being spent on restoring cardio-vascular channels and refilling glycogen systems.

Great for bulking

As in the point above, more calories can be spent on muscle tissue instead of energy recovery. Also, glycogen levels within the muscle won't be drained as quickly as they are during shorter rest periods.

Less stress on the central nervous system

Since greater resting times will stress energy systems less and focus more on muscle tissue, the central nervous system will receive less stress. This means that you will be able to train more and be at less risk of over training. 

Keeping clear of a catabolic state

When the body is put under physical stress it releases cortisol, a stress hormone that holds onto fat cells and breaks down muscle tissue as a survival mechanism. The body does this because when it is stressed it thinks that its survival is at stake so it will rather break down muscle (which is more easily broken down than fat) to get quicker energy to get out of the alleged situation of danger as quick as possible. This is called a catabolic state, when the body breaks down muscle to feed itself. It is often advised not to train for longer than 90 minutes because longer training periods can put the body into this state. Since resting for longer periods does not stress the energy and central nervous systems as much as shorter periods, you will be able to train for much longer periods of time before the body will start breaking down muscle.

I like to take longer resting periods when I have more time I can spend in the gym and want to focus more on increasing the amount of weight my muscles can handle.

The benefits of shorter rest times between sets 

Having shorter rest periods have their benefits too. Here is a list of reasons why you should balance your programs out with shorter rest times as well:

Burns more calories

By taking shorter rest breaks, you are involving the cardio-vascular and energy systems during your weight training session as well. This means that more calories are burnt. This makes shorter rest periods a great strategy for a fat burning session (and therefore, a cutting routine).

Greater glycogen stores equal greater size

Shorter rest periods drain glycogen stores quicker than longer rest periods. The body will adapt to this by increasing the amount of glycogen stored in muscle fibers. The more glycogen stored in a muscle, the greater its size.

Increased metabolic rate

Since your energy systems are stimulated more, the body will adapt by increasing its metabolic rate. This will increase the rate at which the body burns fat for energy naturally, but also increase the rate at which muscle recovery takes place.

More damage, less time

Shorter rest times allow you to destroy your muscle in a quicker amount of time than longer repetitions. When you have limited time in the gym, this will make you more efficient at fully stimulating muscle growth in the shortest possible time.

So there you have it: both longer AND shorter resting times between sets can be beneficial to muscle growth. If you typically train using the one style, try mixing it up to shock your muscle into further growth. STAY STRONG!