How long should I rest between approaches for muscle growth? Find out what people write in popular sports forums.
Question: How much should you rest between sets? Is it worth it to limit the pause a few seconds to fully work out the muscle and increase the "burning", or is it better to wait for the complete restoration of the muscles after the previous approach?
Which option is better suited for boosting the rate of muscle growth? And do you need to change the duration of pauses between sets at all, or is it better to stick to one, proven method?
An additional question: did you have to use the techniques of "intensive" training with minimal rest between approaches to overcome the training plateau or try something new? Anything like 10 approaches in squats with 15 seconds to rest until you get sick? If so, what kind of training was it? How often did you have to exercise? Did it help make significant progress?
The "best" rest interval between sets, like most things in bodybuilding, is determined by what training goals you set for yourself.
Do you want to become stronger, pump musculature or increase endurance? Common sense and scientific works tell us that at one point in time we can pursue only one goal.
If we want to raise the power indicators, we must adhere to the training protocol, which most rapidly increases the strength. Similarly, with respect to muscle growth and stamina. And do not be surprised that in the specialized programs there are different requirements for pauses between approaches.
Let's see what periods of rest this or that training purpose implies, and we will find out why this is the case.
Rest duration from 3 to 5 minutes is the best option for the rapid growth of power indicators.
This is explained by the fact that most of the energy that the body spends during the traditional training on strength (a large working weight, from 1 to 6 repetitions) falls on the system of adenosine triphosphate – Creatine phosphate. The ATP-KF system uses phosphorus for the operational generation of energy without the participation of oxygen. The reserves of free phosphorus in the body are extremely small, enough for about 15 seconds. Then the muscles need about three minutes to completely fill the phosphorus reserve.
In other words, by giving the ATF-KF system at least 3 minutes to reboot, you will raise more weight and increase the power indicators faster.
In one study, athletes performed more repetitions in 3 approaches with a three-minute rest compared to athletes who rested only 1 a minute. Another experiment showed an 7% increase in strength in squats through 5 weeks of training with a three-minute rest period.
The group, which rested between the approaches of 30 seconds, increased the strengths in squats only by 2%. Two other experiments studied the effect of a very short rest (30-40 seconds). It turned out that in terms of strength growth, such a strategy does not go to any comparison with long pauses.
On the other hand, your muscles will cool down if the pause is more than five minutes, and nobody wants to increase the risk of injury.
The optimal option for rapid growth of muscles is 1-2 minute rest between sets.
A typical bodybuilding training (medium-heavy working weights, 6-12 repetitions) draws energy from ATP-CF and the glycolytic system. The latter uses carbohydrates from food as fuel. Aerobic metabolism plays a very small role here, as in the case of training for strength.
Imagine that the ATP-CF system is a racehorse, and the glycolytic system is a reliable and tested farmer's horse. As the glycolytic system enters the scene, your body does not need such long pauses as during strength training.
Bodybuilders take advantage of smaller intervals to make muscles bigger. How it works? One of the key factors of muscle growth is the degree of production of anabolic hormones after exercise. A short rest from 1 to 2 minutes better stimulates the secretion of these hormones in comparison with long pauses.
In addition, short pauses have other advantages in terms of muscle growth, in particular, they increase lactate production and increase muscle blood flow. And do not underestimate the importance of blood flow. I know, it's like old school talk about "pumping", but it is proved that improving the blood circulation of muscles speeds up the delivery of protein.
Muscle fatigue caused by lactate production is also involved in short-term growth of strength indicators and hypertrophy processes.
The best option for increasing muscle endurance is a short rest from 45 seconds to 2 minutes.
Classic endurance training (light-average weight work, 15-20 repetitions) takes the lion's share of energy from aerobic processes. This means that the body burns carbohydrates and fats in the presence of oxygen.
The main goal of the endurance training is to push the threshold of muscle fatigue. Without delving into complex details, the main cause of fatigue in endurance exercises is the accumulation of lactic acid. Systematic training with 15-20 repetitions teach the body to remove muscle lactic acid faster by increasing the efficiency of hormonal and vascular systems.
Trainers from various sports disciplines that require endurance, recommend to observe the ratio of 1: 1 or 1: 2 between work and rest periods. This helps improve the metabolism of lactate. The intensive approach from 15-20 repeats usually goes from 45 seconds to 1 minutes, hence the rest between such sets should last from 45 seconds to 2 minutes.
For snack, one interesting fact: bodybuilders, who train with a short rest and a large number of repetitions, are more enduring than powerlifters who practice long pauses and few repetitions. The bodybuilder's body effectively removes lactic acid from the muscles.
Over the years of training, I tried many ways to increase the intensity of the training. Drop-sets, endurance training . all options that require reducing rest between approaches (or complete absence of pauses!).
But the most intensive training with a "short rest" was a round training Bahlow (Bahlow Circuit Training, further – BCT) . I almost burst out. And let's not forget that vomiting is a bad sign that no one would like to encounter after training.
BCT – not for the faint of heart. It requires a huge amount of protein and many hours of sleep after training. I used BCT for six weeks and progressed at the beginner's pace . but it's hard, hard work.
In fact, BCT is a giant circle of supersets. Even super-supersets. You have three exercises for each part of the body that you need to perform one after another without pauses. It starts with a heavy exercise and ends with a relatively "light".
In each exercise, use the maximum weight with which you can complete 10 repetitions BEFORE starting the superset. This is the problem. After sit-ups and stanovoy without rest 10-repeated maximum in the bench legs will seem to you 5-repeated. And you need to somehow get to 10.
During training, the legs, chest, back, shoulders and arms are worked. And you only have 2 minutes to rest between megasets. Two minutes!! And you have to make three circles.
After the first BCT workout, I lay on the floor and looked at the bright lights. At this point, I was a step away from turning the stomach inside out.