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Rest Time Between Sets

Perhaps you’re thinking it seems a little tedious to care about how many seconds tick by between your sets.

But depending on your strength training goals, you should pay attention to time.  

This post will help you understand the importance of rest time between sets, identify the time for your specific goals, and how this applies directly to the Stronger Movement workouts. 

Rest Time in Strength Training

Now before we jump into it, let’s define what rest time is. 

Rest time is the amount of time between exercise, or set, that allows the muscle to recover.

This means, after completing an exercise, say 12 squats, you take a break. Sounds pretty great, right?

While mentally a break is nice, rest is crucial for physical results.

How long should you rest in between sets?

You’re probably wondering now “What is optimal time between sets?”  This is a common question in strength training! And an important one. 

The answer depends on what main result you are trying to achieve. Are you working for 

  • muscle endurance?
  • muscle growth?
  • Strength/power?

What does Research Say?

The National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) recommends the following general guidelines for rest periods between sets:

Rest <= 30 seconds  for muscle endurance 

Rest 30-90 seconds for muscle growth

Rest 2 – 5 minutes  for strength/power 

There are different times based on how the body uses stored energy to perform different types of physical activities.

The body uses 3 main energy systems to fuel activities. However, the reliance on a particular energy system varies based on the intensity and duration of the activity. 

Rest in Stronger Movement

The Stronger Movement workouts are primarily based on muscle growth, also known as hypertrophy

Therefore, focus on resting 30-90 seconds between sets with the essential requirement to reach fatigue by 12 reps.

Please note–exercises that primarily use bodyweight are based more on muscle endurance so shorter rest periods (<=30 seconds) may be advised.


Other common questions

Now that you know the importance of rest times, you may be wondering the following:

What should I do during rest?

While resting you can:

  • Take some deep breaths.
  • Hydrate
  • Get set up for the next exercise

Do I need to set a timer?

Typically by the time you’ve done the things listed above, it’s been an appropriate rest time.

Be reassured that you don’t need an exact science with stop watches and buzzers. Especially if that’s not your thing. 

However, to make this easy for you, the Stronger Movement App includes a pre-set rest timer on the workout screen.

Can I rest one minute between sets?


Stronger Movement is designed based on rest time between sets for muscle growth

So, on average, one minute (60 seconds) is a great target time. 

The app has a pre-set time of one minute. Just press start and let it work for you!

Stronger Together

If you have any further questions, reach out or leave a comment below. And I’d love to know– have you been resting between sets? How will this knowledge change your workout today?

See you over on the app! Together, we’ve got this!

*Disclaimer: It is not possible to include the complexity of the science and research of rest periods between sets here. If you want to learn more, I recommend digging into the research (check out PubMed


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I am Dr. Holly Richard, PT, DPT

I am a physical therapist that provides results-driven strength training workouts for women. 

I am a wife to an amazing man and a mom to an energetic boy. I love chaos and calm, coffee and cookies, and chilling at home. 

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