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03.08.2010


Five minutes' rest between sets = maximal strength gain

For strength athletes wanting to put on muscle mass it makes no difference how long they rest between sets, according to a study we wrote about recently. But strength athletes who want to get stronger get better results if they rest for longer between sets. Researchers at the State University of Rio de Janeiro came to this conclusion after doing an experiment with 36 experienced strength athletes.

Five minutes' rest between sets = maximal strength gain

Five minutes' rest between sets = maximal strength gain
If you've only just started training, the amount of time your rest between sets makes no difference to your strength or muscle mass development. Short pauses work just as well as long ones. This is probably because beginners donít yet know how to get the most out of the reps they do. But is this also true for athletes who've been training for longer?

The Brazilians devised a 16-week experiment using athletes who had been doing weight training for at least 4 years. The athletes all followed the same programme and trained 4 times a week. They did alternate sessions, using weights with which they could manage 4-6 reps for one, and weights with which they could manage 8-10 reps during the other.

On Mondays and Thursdays, the subjects did bench-press, incline-press, lat pull-downs, supinated close grip pull-downs, neck press, biceps curls, triceps extensions and crunches. For each exercise the subjects did 2 warm-up sets of 20 reps using half the weight they would use in the real sets. They then did 3 sets at full weight, and trained to failure.

On Tuesdays and Fridays the subjects did leg-press, hack squat machine, leg extensions, leg curls and calf raises.

One group rested for 1 minute between sets, another for 3 minutes and the last group took 5 minutes rest.

The researchers measured the weight at which the subjects could manage just 1 rep on the bench press and the leg press, at the start of the experiment, after 8 weeks and after 16 weeks.


Five minutes' rest between sets = maximal strength gain

Five minutes' rest between sets = maximal strength gain


"Longer rest intervals (3Ė5min) become increasingly important as the potential for continued strength increases diminishes over time for a given exercise", the researchers conclude. "Conversely, shorter rest intervals (1 min) may suffice when an exercise has not been consistently performed as part of a training program and the potential for strength increases is great."

Oh well. That's one way of putting it.

Source:
J Sci Med Sport. 2010 Jul;13(4):429-33.

More:
Rest periods of 2 or 5 minutes between sets? It makes no difference to muscle growth 20.07.2010
Amount of rest between sets makes no difference to strength progression 24.01.2010
Short rest period between sets stimulates anabolic effect only briefly 02.08.2009