T Nation

Stop Watch?


Do you guys when you workout use a stop watch? I had someone tell me that using a stop watch to track your rest can really help you come along as you know exactly how long you are resting and therefore you can shorten or lengthen the time to make the exercise easier or more difficult. Anyways I was wondering what your experience was with stop watches?


I was actually thinking about posting this same question earlier today. I always have a stop watch with me when I work out. First of all, it keeps me on track so I can move through my lifts quicker. One thing I can't stand in the weight room is when people sit at a station for minutes at a time while they rest because they completely loose track of time.

Secondly, I figure that if there is scientific rational behind every other aspect of my training program (sequence of lifts, sets, reps, tempo, etc.) then the amount of time between lifts should be calculated beforehand as well to allow me to get the most out of my training sessions. Also, having a stop watch allows me to add variety to my workout as instead of lifting for reps I can lift for time.

This is especially important in a mass-building phase because what actually creates a proper environment for change is not the number of reps someone does per set, but rather the time that the muscle spends under contraction. My stop watch is something that is a vital part of my workouts and I never head to the gym without it.

Get big or die tryin'.

Charlie Cates, CPT
Self Made


No, because my need for rest periods depends on far too many variables to be constant.


I have a Nike watch from their runners department, which comes with a stopwatch etc. and I use it to time my rest periods. Makes it much easier and the workouts more efficient in my opinion.


I bring one along with me for every workout, best piece of exercise equipment I've invested in. That and a dip belt.


I do, and have for years!


Which do you think will help for getting you stronger: squatting sets of 300 with exactly 1 minute rest, or squatting 400 with as much rest as you need?


Well one of my friend's dad who used to be a bodybuilder was telling me that without a stop watch my workouts are completely useless and I know there are some really knowledgeable members here, so I wanted to get a second opinion. I train by myself and usually take 75-100 second breaks in between sets (I am on Starting Strength program), I never take any longer, unless I am putting away or changing plates. I was just curious as to whether it made a big difference.


I like taking as much time as I need.


For some programs, short rest periods are important. For Starting Strength, it is recommended that you take about as long as you need between sets.


Creeep- I agree with you in entireity on BOTH accounts!

Semper Fi


I use the clock on the wall, I am horrible at estimating time when I am working out and found that tracking the time to be very helpfull.


Yes, It keeps me focused.

That of course doesn't mean I follow it with absolute OCD ritualistic precision. It's just a guide of sorts. If time isn't important at all then a lot of respected authors that write here must be full of shite....I don't think they are.


Using a stopwatch, along with prescribing tempo, borders on pedantic.


I use a gymboss timer for certain things, but definately not everything.

If im doing some form of complex or conditioning exercise, then its a must, but if Im doing strength work, then i'd rather just go by when I feel ready to lift again.


Depends. On the big movements (SQ, DL, MP and BP) I go by feel, most of the time it's about 2-3 minutes I recon (including changing weights and writing in my log). If I'm tired it might be a little longer. For accesory work, I use a stop watch (1-1min15).


I believe it was a rhetorical question.


Got a gymboss too... gymboss.com

Love this thing. Currently using Waterbury's methods and this thing is a lifesaver versus lookin at the clock.

Also has an interval timer for HIIT


stopwatch works for me when doing DC rest-pauses, since I can barely breathe much less use my brain to count the # of breaths taken already


Yes. Mine has a lap timer and counter too. It helps to keep track of what set you're on. At the end of each set I just push this button, the lap counter restarts, the main timer keeps ticking, and the laps (number of sets) increments. Love it. It's also a heart rate monitor. Good way to count intervals.