When it comes to lifting weights, most people will tell you to rest one minute between sets if you're aiming for muscle growth, and three minutes if you're building strength. A recent study suggests, however, that three minute rests may be better all around. This video from the PictureFit YouTube channel explains why longer rests could be better for everyone trying to build muscle mass and strength, using a study led by Brad J. Schoenfeld, PhD. The study, published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, had two groups of participants perform resistance training exercises three times a week for eight weeks total. The only difference between the two groups was one was told to rest between sets for one minute, while the other was told to rest for three minutes.
The researchers measured each group's muscle growth, strength gains and muscle endurance, and found that the group who took longer rests between sets improved the most overall. So why does resting more appear to be better than resting less? The researchers suggest that longer rests allow you to do more reps in each set, which means a higher total work volume and the development of better muscular training adaptation in the long run. Essentially, more rest means you can do more work, and more work means you get bigger and stronger.
How Much Rest Between Sets? [YouTube]