Mailbag: How long should I rest between sets?

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So today’s question is how long should I rest between sets?

Rest is an important aspect when you’re training for anything. It becomes even more important when you are at the gym in the middle of sets. We get a lot of people asking, but how much rest is actually required?

Well there isn’t really a set requirement, but there is a general guideline. Timing your rest in between sets will help you recover enough to continue with your workout and still hit your rep targets. The general rule of thumb is the more intense the lift, the longer you should rest.

Heavy Weight/Low Reps = Longer Rest (3-5+ minutes)
Light Weight/High Reps = Shorter Rest (0.5-3 minutes)

At the end of the day, rest periods should be determined on an individual basis. If you’re following a program, follow the guidelines in it. Certain programs may call for strict rest periods, or you may have some flexibility. If you feel that it’s not working, that you need less rest or more rest then simply adjust.


About the Author

Ben M

Ben is the lead editor at His passion for fitness developed at a young age from involvement in sports, and carried on since then. Ben focuses on strength training and is also involved in coaching youth soccer.

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