Longer rest intervals mean greater strength gains

Strength increases in upper and lower body are larger with longer inter-set rest intervals in trained men.

The purpose of the current study was to compare different rest interval durations on upper and lower body strength. Thirty-six recreationally trained men were randomly assigned to 1 min (G1; n=12), 3 min (G3; n=12) or 5 min (G5; n=12) rest interval groups. Each group performed the same resistance training program. Maximal strength was assessed at baseline, mid-point (8 weeks) and post-training (16 weeks) for the bench press and leg press exercises. For the bench press, significant increases were demonstrated within G3 and G5 at 8 weeks and at 16 weeks versus baseline (p<0.05). Additionally, for the bench press, G5 (98.2+/-3.7 kg) was significantly stronger than G1 (92.5+/-3.8 kg) at 16 weeks (p<0.05). For the leg press, significant increases were demonstrated within all groups at 8 weeks and at 16 weeks versus baseline (p<0.05). Additionally, for the leg press, G5 (290.8+/-23.5 kg) was significantly stronger than G1 (251.0+/-15.8 kg) at 8 weeks (p<0.01) and G3 (305.0+/-23.9 kg) and G5 (321.7+/-21.7 kg) were significantly stronger than G1 (276.7+/-10.7 kg) at 16 weeks (p<0.05). The findings of the current study indicate that utilising 3 or 5 min rest intervals between sets may result in significantly greater increases in upper and lower body strength beyond the initial weeks of training versus utilising 1-min rest intervals between sets.

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2 comments
eah says March 4, 2013

3 – 5 minutes is certainly longer than I currently usually rest. Interesting.

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Anonymous says March 27, 2013

I switched a few months ago to doing only bodyweight exercises with over an hour between sets and have had nice gains. I do clap pushups, chins, hand-stand presses, and pistol squats. One exercise per day. I do a set to failure at about 11AM, and then for the rest of the day until 6PM as mood and opportunity strikes (about once every 90m) I do another set.

This has been working for me dramatically better than concentrated gym sessions. At a lean #165 I can now bang out six hand-stand pressups and 32 chins. I hope to much increase these numbers.

The point isn’t that the exercises are bodyweight, but that I can do them in my office or home. I think best of all would be to have an olympic rack in your office.

I also skip rope for half an hour or go on a long bike ride once a week.

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