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How Much Time to Rest Between Sets of Strength Training Exercises

Resting Between Lifting Sets Is as Easy as 1, 2, 3


Whether you're strictly into using dumbbells to strength train, or you like to mix it up by also including resistance band exercises, weight machines, kettlebells, and moves that require no equipment, how much time you rest between sets can affect the type of workout you get. So here are some guidelines:

  • Rest three minutes: If pure strength development is your priority.
  • Rest two minutes: If strengthening your muscles is your priority, but also muscular endurance.
  • Rest one minute or not at all: If you want to burn calories and add cardio to your session, while also strengthening your muscles and increasing muscular endurance.

As you can see, resting less between sets maximizes your workout. Just keep in mind that since it's more taxing on your muscles not to rest, you still don't want to compromise your form or risk injury just to say you didn't take any breaks. So start off small and rest three minutes between sets, and if you want to make your sessions harder, gradually decrease the amount of time you rest between exercises so your body has a chance to get used to it.

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