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You should rest longer between benchpress sets-says research

Think you're taking too long of a break between your sets? It actually maybe the secret to more gains!

According to a recent study, that extra time might be just what you need to maximize your gains. Researchers have discovered that longer rest periods between reps are actually optimal for building strength and muscle.

A study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, examined how different rest periods affect performance in the bench press. 23 physically active participants (15 men and 8 women) were divided into three groups, each with different rest times: one, three, or five minutes between sets.

Participants performed six workouts, each consisting of four sets at about 75% of their one-rep max. During the first three workouts, they stopped with about six reps left in reserve. In the final three workouts, they stopped with four reps left. Researchers measured their bar speed to determine how close they were to failure.

The results were clear: longer rest periods led to better strength training performance. Specifically, resting for up to five minutes between sets provided better results than resting for one to three minutes.

However, when lifting lighter weights, a three-minute rest was still sufficient.

Why is it so effective?

Longer rests are beneficial because the body uses different energy resources for varying exercise durations. Heavier weights require more recovery time for muscles and the central nervous system compared to lighter, endurance-focused sets.

This supports the idea that different rest periods are suitable for different fitness goals, such as endurance, hypertrophy, strength, and power.

As Joe Stankowski, a trainer, mentioned, "The amount of time you rest between sets can have a major impact on how the exercise you're doing affects your body."

So, next time you’re at the gym, don’t rush your rest – it might just be the key to better results.


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