Rest Interval between Sets in Strength Training

This article essentially reflected on how training in certain ways can have certain effects on strength, endurance, hypertrophy and power of muscles. Looking at the exercise specifically they looked at the number of sets, reps, and rest between sets and how this effected the muscle of the athlete performing these movements.  Rest length between sets obviously being the changing variable in this study, the trials looked at acute responses and chronic adaptations of the muscles to note how the muscles were stimulated. Looking at longer rest periods such as 3-5 minutes, it was shown that an athlete could do more reps over the course of more sets, and with repeatedly doing this overall would get stronger than an athlete that had shorter resting periods, not allowing for as many reps between each set.  Similarly, longer rest periods allowed for more explosion and power from the athletes. For example, an NFL player at the combine doing the bench press will want to wait a significant amount of time between warming up, and performing the bench press to allow for optimal power and explosion to get as many reps as possible. When training with shorter rest periods, for example 30-60 seconds, this was shown to lead to more muscle hypertrophy and overall increase muscular endurance. Little rest between sets was proven to show an immediate acute reaction increasing growth hormone. This is shown to be effective in bodybuilders. Bodybuilders lift for the sole purpose of being big, tone, and proportionate. Getting this high intensity, more reps, low rest sets in for a workout will lead to more blood rushing to the muscle and allow for the muscle to grow. However, power lifters would implement the longer rest times with a heavier weight (closer to a 1 rep max, typically about 85%) because this leads overall to increased strength in the long run. Article results and full explanations –>

Overall I found this article very interesting. In todays day in age, I feel that so many people preach to lift heavy weight all the time with longer rest periods. I see this in the gym often, Delaware’s powerlifting team has a tendency to do multiple sets with a high weight, however they take a leisure break between sets usually for at least 5 minutes. This makes sense, this will increase strength in the long run however does not necessarily lead the powerlifters to get very big like a bodybuilder. On the other hand, a bodybuilder in the gym that I always see I will see doing lighter weight. He is a very big guy, however I will see him squatting 225 for 20 reps, and taking about a minute break between sets. This allows for him to completely fatigue his legs and allow them to grow, without him necessarily focusing on strength.

Has anyone else had similar experiences in this field? Has anyone else noticed a difference between lower reps, with a higher weight and longer rests, vs. higher reps with a shorter rest period?

Works Cited — de, B F, et al. “Rest interval between sets in strength training.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.)., U.S. National Library of Medicine,

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The effect of different rest intervals between sets on volume components and strength gains. –>

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