Short vs. long rest periods

  1. Post Short vs. long rest periods

    The following study indicates that it doesn't seem to matter either way.

    Short vs. long rest period between the sets in hypertrophic resistance training: Influence on muscle strength, size, and hormonal adaptations in trained men
    Ahtiainen J.P., Pakarinen A., Alen M., Kraemer W.J. and Häkkinen K.
    J. Strength Cond. Res. 2005 19:3 (572-582)

    Acute and long-term hormonal and neuromuscular adaptations to hypertrophic strength training were studied in 13 recreationally strength-trained men. The experimental design comprised a 6-month hypertrophic strength-training period including 2 separate 3-month training periods with the crossover design, a training protocol of short rest (SR, 2 minutes) as compared with long rest (LR, 5 minutes) between the sets. Basal hormonal concentrations of serum total testosterone (T), free testosterone (FT), and cortisol (C), maximal isometric strength of the leg extensors, right leg 1 repetition maximum (1RM), dietary analysis, and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) of the quadriceps femoris by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were measured at months 0, 3, and 6. The 2 hypertrophic training protocols used in training for the leg extensors (leg presses and squats with 10RM sets) were also examined in the laboratory conditions at months 0, 3, and 6. The exercise protocols were similar with regard to the total volume of work (loads X sets X reps), but differed with regard to the intensity and the length of rest between the sets (higher intensity and longer rest of 5 minutes vs. somewhat lower intensity but shorter rest of 2 minutes). Before and immediately after the protocols, maximal isometric force and electromyographic (EMG) activity of the leg extensors were measured and blood samples were drawn for determination of serum T, FT, C, and growth hormone (GH) concentrations and blood lactate. Both protocols before the experimental training period (month 0) led to large acute increases (p < 0.05-0.001) in serum T, FT, C , and GH concentrations, as well as to large acute decreases (p < 0.05-0.001) in maximal isometric force and EMG activity. However, no significant differences were observed between the protocols. Significant increases of 7% in maximal isometric force, 16% in the right leg 1RM, and 4% in the muscle CSA of the quadriceps femoris were observed during the 6-month strength-training period. However, both 3-month training periods performed with either the longer or the shorter rest periods between the sets resulted in similar gains in muscle mass and strength. No statistically significant changes were observed in basal hormone concentrations or in the profiles of acute hormonal responses during the entire 6-month experimental training period. The present study indicated that, within typical hypertrophic strength-training protocols used in the present study, the length of the recovery times between the sets (2 vs. 5 minutes) did not have an influence on the magnitude of acute hormonal and neuromuscular responses or long-term training adaptations in muscle strength and mass in previously strength-trained men.

  2. I've been using longer rest periods recently, and I must say that my strength and size are the best they have ever been. Not scientific, but it seems to be what works for me

  3. Me also. But I also have slowed my rep movements and increased the TUT so I can't attribute all of the gains to longer rest periods.

  4. Have to agree with the longer rest. Although for me it is boring as hell.

    I figure if you rest longer your next set can be heavier and should help with more muscle growth. I would think there is a law of diminishing returns. Like if you rest so long you have to do 2 sets to rewarmup lol

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  5. As stated, with more recovery between sets, greater increases in strength can be expected to be seen. However, a greater level of strength doesn't necessarily translate to more hypertrophy.

    There are a lot of reasons as to why a person looks and/or performs the way they do. I think quite frankly its more about a strength athlete needing time to rest for ATP replenishment and a bodybuilder lightening the load in an attempt to speed up his rest periods in order to get in the proper amount of volume needed for a hypertrophy workout.

  6. you can make good strength gains on short rest periods too, it's whatever you're conditioned for. get yourself used to 60 second breaks and after a little time, 90 seconds seems like an eternity.


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