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Rest Periods - New Studies

Been quite awhile since I posted on here but I recently read some articles discussing new studies that have been done on rest periods and greater rest periods 2-4 mins or so being better for strength and muscle gains. My understanding from what I’ve read is for bigger movements like squats presses deadlifts etc resting around 3 mins is optimal and for isolation exercises you can keep it a little shorter here 1 min or so. Feel free to add in anything I’ve missed or misunderstood but my biggest question is around how does this new information correlate to cutting?

Should you apply the same logic to lifting when cutting as it relates to rest periods or what are your thoughts here? I haven’t found any articles that really touch on this and in the past I could always count on the folks here for some of the best info out there.

I tend to think it probably doesn’t matter to a really significant amount. The old thinking was you wanted to rest shorter so you would burn more calories. But you could definitely argue that a better weight session (resting longer) is better than that. From what I’ve read recently the latter seems to have a bit more to it.

Personally if you’re training for aesthetics I think it doesn’t have a huge significance. I do time rest periods a lot and sometimes I just rest until I’m ready. But do I think you’re going to see magic differences resting 3 minutes vs 2 minutes on a squat if you’re working in the day 6-12 rep range? Not really. Longer is probably ideal, but not everyone wants to be in the gym forever.

Thanks for the reply! That was my assumption too so thanks for that. I’ve definitely thought about resting longer during bigger lifts because sometimes I feel like I’m more gassed than I should be. Probably would even help me preserve muscle more during a cut to have longer rest periods on the big lifts because keeping my strength to the best of my ability on a cut really helps preserve my muscle.

I think this makes sense. If you did a set of 7 squats and you’re supposed to hit 7 on the next you don’t want to feel gassed. At the same time I don’t think if you feel good to go that you need to force yourself to rest a bunch just to make sure. Rest until you feel good. I don’t like to sit and do nothing at the gym so I do walk around so I’m not technically “fully resting.”

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The answer is simple - why are you training?

If you’re lifting to maintain as much muscle as possible then rest longer like you would during a gaining phase. If you’re lifting to burn calories then shorten the rest and superset everything.


Rest periods during lifting is stress I cannot be fucked with.

As soon as I feel good to go then it’s on.

If it’s heavy as fuck and the sets are intense then I take a while longer and vice versa.

Conditioning is another story completely. Keep that shit short and nasty.

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Studies in exercise science are honestly not worth being concerned about.


isolation or big lift, its still 3 mins

Yeah. When they design these things and try to isolate a training variable it sometimes loses some cary over to application.

I know one thing for sure though - 5 minutes rest between near max effort sets is not the same as 5 minutes in the check out line at the grocery store.

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If you are looking at this at like one month timeframes then it doesn’t really matter IMO.

If you take a longer term view, then the ability to do more work in the same time is going to benefit you. Try fit this in inline with your other goals.