How Long Should You Rest For To Build Muscle?

How Long Should You Rest For To Build Muscle?

How Long Should You Rest For To Build Muscle?

Your gym is probably populated by two types of lifter. Minding the bench like his life depends on it is the guy who supersets everything with facebook and then has a face on him when asked if you can jump in for a set. Then on the battle ropes or the preacher bench or the leg press is the circuit rabbit running from one to the other thinking any second still is a waste.

Which one is right? Neither one or both !?!?!

You know that the amount of weight you lift,the number of sets and reps you do in each workout, affects results. But what about resting time between sets

Rest periods are not the same for everyone. They should be set depending on your goals and the exercise being done.


As you might know squats and deadlifts work big muscle groups and therefore require a large amount of effort and energy. Meaning you may need longer time to recover.

Warm-up sets are different-the weight you’re moving just isn’t heavy enough to create any fatigue. If the weight you’re lifting becomes heavier then your rest period should also increase. When you’re doing heavy sets of five you might may up to 4 minutes of recovery.

After banging out a heavy set of squats to failure your heart will be banging with your lungs screaming for oxygen and it can take several minutes to get your breath back. So taking a longer rest makes sense in order get the most from your next set.


When working on smaller muscle groups things change a little. With the dumbbell curl or lateral raises for example 60 to 90 seconds rest is enough.

A cut in rest period can also mean more muscle gain. Even though the most important element for muscle growth is progressive tension overload — lifting more weight over time – there is a second element for growth – metabolic fatigue.

Metabolic fatigue = “burn” – or pumped up and on fire!!! One VERY effective way to stimulate metabolic fatigue is to shorten your rest period between sets.

Say you start out this week resting for 90 seconds between sets, then during next weeks sessions you drop down to 60 seconds then the week after – 45 seconds. Then when you increase the weight  you use the same cycle – 90, 60, 45.

However,this system isn’t for all exercises. When squating or deadlifting avoid very short rest periods due to the problem that fatigue can increase the risk of injury at the end of your set.

Its probably best to mix up your rest periods depending on the set and rep count of the exercise you’re doing.

You may start out with some heavy, low-rep squats, resting 3-4 minutes between sets. Try then moving to Bulgarian split squats with higher reps but shorter rest period. Lastly leg extensions to “burn” the quads with high reps and 30-second rest period.

This will hurt alot !!! However can mean better results with less time.