Last week I was stressed, and it showed up in my workouts.
My resting heart rate was higher than usual.
My active heart rate climbed faster than usual.
My heart took longer than usual to lower back to rest.
While most of us focus on MEPs (points you earn for being active) the MyZone is actually a powerful tool for better recovery, better rest, and better self-care. This data helped me pivot mid-session to give myself more grace and smarter rest periods. My body was working harder than usual and if my goal is optimal health I can’t just push and push and push because it wasn’t honoring the goal, and it will work against me if left unchecked.
So how long should you rest between sets? The answer depends on your goal. Rest periods are based on how the body produces the energy to perform work during training. Specifically, the body uses three different energy systems, phosphagen, glycolytic and oxidative; however, the amount of each energy system’s contribution depends on the intensity and the duration of the event.
- To increase strength and power, the best rest period is 2-5 minutes between sets.
- To increase hypertrophy (muscle growth), the best rest period is 30-90 seconds between sets.
- To increase muscular endurance, the best rest period is 30 seconds or less between sets.
If your recovery outside of the gym is lacking, for example, not enough sleep, high stress, not enough protein, etc. it may impact your training session(s). These are the days you might need more rest. Many people don’t address their stress levels and end up getting hurt or burnt out as a result. I encourage you to prioritize recovery, it should be present in your workouts and in your wellness program. If we go hard in life and in the gym, rest is a requirement!
Rachel Prairie, CPT, Director of Wellness