How long should you wait between sets while working out? We’ll let the experts answer

We got the leading fitness experts across the country to tell you about the ideal resting period between sets while working out.
Woman resting between sets
Your cells need time to recover between sets guys. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Sonakshi Kohli Updated: 22 Aug 2020, 11:34 am IST
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From the serious Rambos-in-the-making, who won’t waste a second at the gym to
the chillers, who keep sipping protein drinks after each set of a particular exercise
we are sure you guys have noticed all sorts of people at the gym.
To be honest, it can be quite a task to choose your inspiration from these two sects of people. After all, deciding the correct duration of rest between sets isn’t a cake walk. Long, short, or just about medium? Before you make a choice…

Let’s first understand what happens while you rest
The first and foremost thing you need to know about is the phenomenon of
‘phosphagen recovery’ that happens in the body when you rest between your sets.
Basically, when you work out, your body uses the most easily-available energy to
execute the action or activity performed. When you complete a set, you end up
depleting the energy within the cells of your body. This is where ‘phosphagen
recovery’ comes into play.
“It is the amount of time taken by the cells of the body to get back the depleted
energy to perform the task,” explains renowned lifestyle coach and yoga
entrepreneur, Grand Master Akshar.

rest between sets
The time your body needs to recover during a workout differs from person to person. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“During rest, your body recovers from the impact of the workout, stabilizes the
glycogen levels, clears lactic acid from muscles, and restores ATP (Adenosine
Triphosphate/energy stores) in cells,” Praveshh Gaur, founder, Srauta Wellness
further explains.

“The duration of this period affects both acute responses as well as chronic
adaptations to a particular exercise program,” he adds.
And although scientific research touts 2.5 minutes as the ideal resting time between sets, Akshar says: “One must manipulate the rest periods in accordance with his/her end fitness goal.”

So, keep the resting period long if…
Akshar suggests that a long resting period starts at three minutes and can go higher. A longer break between the sets means more time for ‘phosphagen recovery’. This obviously means that your muscles have enough time to regain their strength and balance and are ready to perform optimally in the next set. In fact, this recovery can also enable you to lift even heavier weights in the next set.

rest between sets
Give your muscles enough time to regain their strength and balance. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Hence, long-duration resting periods are perfect for improving muscle power,
strength, performance output as well as for increasing muscle bulk, mass gain and building muscle volume according to Dr Kruti Khemani, sports physiotherapist and
founder, Continuum Sports Physiotherapy and Rehab clinic, Mumbai.

Keep the resting duration short if…
A short resting period is when you spend less time on rest than on the set. Ideally, it lasts between 30-40 seconds and is ideal for fat loss, stamina building, and
increasing muscle endurance according to Akshar. Since there’s not enough time for the muscles to regain their energy, the body tends to draw the needed energy from the stored fat for the next set—this is the logic
behind shorter resting periods having a slimming effect on you.

rest between sets
Lack of proper rest during workout can give you muscle cramps. Image Courtesy : Shutterstock

Keep the resting duration moderate if…
You can call a resting period of 60-90 seconds as moderate, as per Dr. Khemani. In this case, your muscles don’t recover fully, but you also get adequate rest to lift
heavy weights in the subsequent set. “That’s why it’s advised to keep the resting duration moderate so as to strike the right balance between building muscle mass and endurance,” she says.

The final word
The right fitness mantra is like the perfect shoe. Just like one shoe size does not fi tall, one fitness rule doesn’t work its magic on everyone.
But now that you know the effect different duration of rest periods have, how about making your decision based on your end goal? We say, go for it!


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Twenty kilos down and struggling to maintain the weight loss by preaching healthy eating, while eating unhealthy every now and then. ...Read More

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