4 Approaches to Fitness and Rest Times That Are Foolproof
When we look at a workout, we see sets and reps.
Something often overlooked is how much rest between each set you take — and that matters, too.
The time we take between each set can affect our result, so having a goal in mind when exercising is vital. Your rest times are based on what you're trying to accomplish such as building strength, burning fat, and increasing endurance.
Related - Find the Best Workout for You
So next time you take a break between sets to scroll through Facebook, focus on chasing your goals and time your rest. The rest between sets may not seem like it is that important until you start seeing progress.
Below we go over four approaches you can take to nail your rest times and progress toward your goals.
Rest and Fitness
Boosting fat loss means you have to burn more calories and increase your metabolic demands. Taking 30 seconds or less rest between sets is the goal here.
In simple terms, you want to push yourself to where you are breathing pretty heavily. These short breaks make it hard to repeat the same exercise over and over again, which is why many people add circuits to their fat loss strategies.
Doing several exercises in a circuit allow you to push different parts of your body while the parts you just work can rest. Jumping from one exercise to the next keeps your heart rate up, keeps rest periods short, and allows muscle groups to fully recover before going at it again.
When you are training for strength, you are demanding the most power output from your body. Taking between two to five minutes of rest between sets is ideal here. This increases the maximum amount you'll be able to squat, bench, or deadlift. I know this seems like a long time in between sets, but taking a longer rest period allows your body to fully recover.
If increasing strength is your goal, rest up.
This isn't an opportunity for you to play on your phone, either.
It sounds like that much rest between sets is too long until you try it. Focusing and listening to your body help you prepare to smash the next set.
Smash those personal records.
Interval workouts or high-intensity interval training improves your anaerobic conditioning. Unfortunately, there's a fine line with the rest times.
If your rest is too long, you won't improve your body's ability to recover quicker and replenish its energy. If your rest is too short, you will turn your workout into an aerobic workout — missing out on the benefits of a high-intensity workout.
You may also notice your sprint speeds are reducing as you go. This is a sign that you are resting too short and will not improve your speed or power.
Anaerobic intervals should be between 60 and 90 seconds of rest. This is long enough for your heart rate to drop below 130 bpm — allowing your body adequate rest to go full-bore next sprint.
Building a healthy heart and improving your ability to be active without being out of breath is a great goal. If this type of training aligns with your goals, aim to keep your heart rate between 120 and 150 bpm. Staying in this zone will target your aerobic energy system, forcing your body to adapt and improve how you want.
Buying a fitness tracker to track your heart rate is the most accurate way to maintain this specific heart rate.
Wrapping It Up
Everyone's fitness levels are different so if you can't maintain the rest times above, don't fret.
The main idea to pull from this is that your rest times matter and will change depending on your goals. Since rest times aren't set in stone, it's important to learn how to listen to your body.
In short, here are rest times for four of the most common goals:
- Burn fat - Rest about 30 seconds and maintain an elevated heart rate.
- Build strength - Rest between two to five minutes. You'll know when you're ready if you stay focused.
- Anaerobic conditioning - Learn to listen to your body, but 60 to 90 seconds rest is ideal. Let your heart rate reach just below 130 bpm.
- Aerobic conditioning - Use a fitness tracker to keep your heart rate between 120 to 150 bpm. This targets the aerobic system and improves your conditioning.