Believe it or not, one of the most important variables in your training is rest.
Longer and shorter rest times between sets can shift the focus and effectiveness of a specific exercise.
For strength and power/speed-dominant exercises—like heavy compound barbells lifts for 1-4 reps, Olympic lifts, med ball throws, and maximal-effort sprints and jumps—ideal rest time between sets is 3-5+ minutes. This gives your body enough time to regenerate the energy needed to repeat each effort at the highest possible level each set.
For hypertrophy or improving metabolic conditioning, you’ll want to stay under 2 minutes of rest between sets, in order to increase metabolite buildup (byproducts of metabolism in your bloodstream, like lactate) from set to set. For these exercises, it’s more about training your body to produce submaximal force in conditions of fatigue—as opposed to strength-dominant exercises, that require full recovery for you to be able to produce maximum force.
Using a timer during your workouts is a great low-cost idea and can help you stay on track and focused on your goals for each exercise. Or, if you’re a Volt athlete, use the app’s built-in automatic rest timer to help keep you accountable—and never skip your rest!
*This article can also be viewed on the Volt Human Performance Blog