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Hypertrophy and Rest Between Sets


How much of a difference will it make between resting 60seconds,90seconds, and 3mins between each sets if your goal is to build muscle.

Will the 3mins rest be less effective that one should most certainly aim for 90seconds or lower?


Instead of thinking about optimal rest times, understand that hypertrophy occurs when you fatigue and breakdown muscle fibers. In which, total volume and progression in weight lifted or increase in reps would be the most important factors.

Rest times come into play when you need to manage overall intensity(load) vs volume .e.g, going for lighter sets with lower weights and shorter rest times after your heavier sets are done.



[quote]WithMusa wrote:
Will the 3mins rest be less effective that one should most certainly aim for 90seconds or lower?[/quote]
It depends a bit on how your program is laid out, especially the volume and intensity. But generally, if the goal is to build muscle, then yep, completely resting a full three minutes won’t be as effective as other methods.

To maximize tension without allowing “too much” inter-set recovery, a rule of thumb is resting a minute or so between moderate rep sets (8-12ish reps per set). Resting longer than that might allow for better performance, but the total work done in a given time period would be reduced and would impact progress. And again, this is for moderate rep work. Once you start talking about heavier/lower rep stuff, longer rest periods can certainly improve performance.

In any case, you can always find “stuff” to do between sets that makes the most of rest periods. Active recovery methods like mobility work or training a non-related bodypart (basically a traditional superset) can be a way to sneak in extra training without interfering with the main work.


The goal of a hypertrophy type training is to fatigue the muscles. Therefore, changing rest times is obviously an important factor.

Rest periods is one of the factors you can manipulate in that hypertrophy type training.

For a guy lifting for strength, his rest periods are not part of the plan. They are only there to regain the energy needed to make the next lift.