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The length of rest periods in between your sets greatly determines the purpose and scope of your training. Training purposes are generally divided into three categories: hypertrophy training, strength training and endurance training. It is very important for you to understand your ambitions for training as you begin. Do you want to gain muscle, endurance, or strength? Surprisingly, just by varying your rest intervals in between your sets, you can easily focus on the category that you are aspiring to achieve. Let me explain this simple but commonly ignored part of training.
If you’re looking to take hypertrophy training head on, you have to understand its basics and the science behind it. What is hypertrophy? Well, this is the increase in muscle size and mass. It is usually undertaken by body builders. So if you’re aspiring to look bigger, take on large muscle compound exercises such as squats, presses and rows. The average body builder usually performs 8 to 15 reps with a short rest periods of 30 seconds to one minute. This is because shorter rest periods usually cause a greater release of anabolic hormones, which are the key ingredients in your body that boost muscle growth. Shorter rest periods also increase lactate production and blood flow to the targeted muscles, boosting muscle size even further. They also produce more testosterone and growth hormone than moderate rest intervals. The only drawback to short rest periods is that you will be building your muscle at the expense of your strength.
If you’re looking to take on strength training, then long rest intervals between your reps is recommended. A great option would be 4 minutes between each set of traditional heavyweight training (1 to 6 reps). The main reason is that much of the energy consumed during strength training comes from the ATP-PC system that uses phosphagens. Your body usually takes roughly about 4 minutes to replenish its phospagen stores. These periods are long enough to enable you to regain your strength after each set of reps. You can therefore make massive monster gains in your strength because your muscles are given sufficient rest periods in between sets. The only drawback to long rest period is that you don’t get to tire your muscles enough, which is a major setback if you’re looking to get muscle size.
When it comes to building your endurance and stamina, then endurance training is your answer. It consists of 15 to 20 reps with a rest period of 60 to 90 seconds in between sets. The energy required during this training is drawn from aerobic metabolism; where your body burns fats and carbohydrates in the presence of oxygen. The greatest advantage of endurance training is that it actually compensates full for both hypertrophy and strength training. This is because the weights you lift are still heavy enough to increase the strength of your muscle fibres; and the fatigue it brings about is sufficient enough to release the anabolic hormones that result in muscle growth.
All in all, knowing the right rest intervals in between your sets is vital in shaping your body according to your training purpose. Hypertrophy training works best for body-builders, Strength training is definitely the bread and butter for power-lifters; and for those inspiring to be all-rounded athletes, endurance training is definitely the key for you.