How often do you say to yourself: “I haven’t got the time for a gym session today?” But consider how much time in your average session you spend looking at your phone, taking selfies, sneaking a pic of your gym crush, scrolling through Instagram…
Fitness in focus
Unecessary rest, as it’s called, is probably what’s really holding you back from hitting the gym on those days you feel you’re a bit squeezed for time. And not only is it time wasted, it can also be having a negative effect on your results. If you’re hoping to build muscle, you usually don’t want to be resting any longer than 90 seconds between sets.
Any more than that diminishes the amount of metabolic stress, which is what encourages muscle growth.
Excessive rest is even more detrimental if your goal is muscular endurance. Too much sitting around eradicates the stimulus needed to train the specific energy system or muscle fibres required for that goal.
You can tackle unnecessary rest by starting to time your nonactivity periods. Your goal in the gym will dictate how long to spend in between your working phases.
Here’s a rough guide of what you should be working towards, depending on your aims.
Two to three sets of between 12 and 15 reps, using a weight of no more than 67 per cent of your one- rep max on that particular movement. You should be resting for no more than 30 seconds between sets.
Three to six sets of six to 12 reps, using a weight between 67 and 85 per cent of your one- rep max on that particular movement. You should be resting for 30 to 90 seconds between sets.
Strength and power
Three to five sets of three to five reps, using a weight around 75- 85 per cent of your one- rep max on that particular movement. This is the exception to the rule: rest for two to five minutes between sets.
Setting goals, understanding them and knowing exactly how to give yourself the best chance of achieving them are imperative to seeing results. Take some time to reassess your workout programme periodically to help keep it fresh, fun, and, by timing your rest correctly, a far more efficient experience.