How long should you rest between sets ?

Quite often, we come across conflicting opinions about the length of breaks between sets. By asking trainers how much time we should rest, we usually get a general answer that ranges from 30 to 180 seconds. Scientists from the United States decided to address the issue and see what the optimal break between sets. The aim of the study was to check what break length works for both strength and muscle mass building.


21 men of intermediate level took part in the study. They were divided into two groups. Both groups trained for 8 weeks following the same training plan. The differences were only in the interval between sets. One group rested for 1 minute, the other one for 2 minutes.


The results suggest that the group that rested for 2 minutes achieved the best results, both in terms of building muscle mass and strength. Compared to MRI examinations, the thickness of the muscles of both the arms and lower limbs increased in thickness in the 2-minute resting group.


Although research clearly shows that longer breaks between sets give more effective results in terms of muscle adaptability to training conditions, researchers suggest that other training variables also matter. They draw attention to the fact that even such variables as genetic conditions for the construction of individual muscle groups can translate into a training effect.

The fast and intensive series with an extended regeneration phase works very well. This type of strategy is more beneficial for achieving muscle growth. However, the duration of the workout itself is also important.