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I would like to start this by saying that I am currently sitting in a coffee bean, SUCCESSFULLY ignoring my massive craving for a bagel with peanut butter right now…just pretending to enjoy this cappuccino with burnt milk, living my best life.
Also – listening to the new Kevin Abstract album, on repeat. Anyone else a fan? Ugh it’s so good.
ANYWAY – I want to talk about rest periods because there’s a lot of contradicting convos going on and I feel like it would help to just clear the air up a bit.
> I have a lot of clients say they want to get a bigger butt or sculpted arms but they don’t want to lift any weight.
> I have other clients who are so used to the quick fast paced environment of fitness classes that they tell me they don’t feel like they’re getting in a good workout unless they sweat a lot but they also don’t feel like they’re getting any stronger in their weekly classes.
> And I have other clients that I train online that just want to know how fast they should be going. How much rest is too much rest? How much rest is actually too LITTLE? What’s the benefit of longer or shorter rest periods?
WELLLL it all depends on your goals, but you can really think about it in 3 separate categories. Let’s start here:
Strength training of course means using weight but today it holds more meaning than just that. If your goal is to build strength faster, then your focus should be on doing strength training workouts. According to ASSM, if you’re looking to get stronger faster, then the best rest time for you is 3-5 minutes between sets.
Keep in mind though that if you’re doing proper “strength” training then you are doing 1-6 reps per set MEANING that you are using a weight that you can literally only lift between 1-6 times before failure. With that said, it’s pretty clear that whatever you’re doing is HARD and heavy af.
During this kind of training, your body uses phosphagens from your ATP system (Adenosine Triphosphate Phosphocreatine System) in order to produce energy VERY quickly without the use of Oxygen (less than 10 seconds).
BUT your body’s phosphagen reserve is like the shitty street light that everyone hates. It lasts for about 15 seconds then takes 3 minutes before it turns green again.
So we use up our reserve within that 15 seconds while we do our 1-6 reps and then if we wait the proper 3-5 minutes before we try to go again, then we’ll be able to lift more weight, and get stronger, faster.
According to Bodybuilding.com :
In one study, athletes lifted a weight more times in 3 sets after resting 3 minutes compared to when they rested only 1 minute (Kraemer, 1997). Another study showed a 7% increase in squat strength after 5 weeks of training with 3 minute rest periods.
The group that rested for 30 seconds only improved their squat by 2% (Robinson et al, 1995). Two more studies that examined very short rest periods (30 to 40 seconds) found they caused nowhere near the strength gains from longer rest periods (Kraemer et al, 1987; Kraemer, 1997)”
If you’re looking to build strength in a specific area (like booty for example) then try adding one day a week of STRENGTH TRAINING. Try doing 5 sets of hip thrusts for 5-6 reps, then rest for 3-5 minutes before trying again.
Follow that up with some complimentary exercises like:
3 x 12 Romanian Dead Lifts
3 x 10 Goblet Squats
And then end with some band work and really chase the burn with:
3 x 30 band walks.
UNLESS – you are a beginner. If you are just getting into weight training then you might want to do a month of training where each exercise is done for a rep range of 10-15 to strengthen ligaments and avoid getting hurt.
2. HYPERTROPHY TRAINING:
Who’s heard of this one?!
Hypertrophy training is what you do when you want to get bigger, faster. The rep range for this type of training is typically anywhere from 6-12 reps.
The rest time for this kind of training is 1-2 minutes because this short rest period causes a greater release of anabolic (growth) hormones than longer rest periods. Resting for shorter periods of time also causes more of a burn in the muscles which I’m sure we’ve all experienced. This burn is the sign of lactic acid building up and the “pump” for lack of a better word, is the blood flow to that area, which is actually a great thing because where there’s quicker blood flow – there’s more protein being delivered to that area as well! Woooo!
I think hypertrophy training is my favorite kind of training. You might be thinking, well I don’t WANT to grow my muscles, and I don’t WANT to get BULKY. Fortunately for you, getting bulky is SUPER hard to do. You may think that your training is making you bulky but chances are, it’s your diet that’s throwing you off. Plus – we don’t have nearly enough testosterone to grow the way that men do.
Guys on average have 300 – 1,000 u/dL whereas females only have 30 – 90 u/dL. We’re like delicate little flowers lol and thinking that we’re going to get as bulky as men is like thinking a little flower can turn into a huge palm tree. It’s just not going to happen, unless you’re taking steroids…then, well…we know what that looks like.
True anabolism from hypertrophy training only last about 48 hours which is why for someone who wants to grow their ass, they need to be CONSISTENT and SHOW UP REGULARLY in order to see the kind of results they’re expecting. If you do hypertrophy training 1-2 times a week then don’t do it again for a week, your muscles are just in a maintenance phase rather than a growth phase.
Do 2-3 days of hypertrophy training a week with your 1 day of strength training. I make sure to set my timer during rest periods to ensure that I get going again as soon as I need to… or else I end up getting distracted and taking 5 minute rest periods which is no bueno.
3. ENDURANCE TRAINING:
Endurance training is best for anyone who is looking to increase their muscular endurance. This is what most of us ladies are used to with all the classes that we typically attend. As a trainer I know that if I take a women through a endurance style workout that she’s most likely going to do a great job BUT if I were to take a man though the same kind of workout, it would kill them. Men don’t do as much endurance training as they do strength and hypertrophy.
Classic endurance training is when you use light weights for 15-20 reps and rest for 45 seconds to a minute between sets and it’s biggest purpose is to make your muscles more resistant to fatigue. If you want to start applying true endurance training to your workouts, try doing a 1:1 work to rest ratio or a 1:2.
So if you did the 1:1 ratio you would do for example, squats for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds. If you did the 1:2 ratio then you would do squats for 30 seconds then rest for 1 min.
Add one day of endurance training to your weekly training regime!
So now you can see why if you’re someone like the old me, you’re wondering why your butt ins’t getting any bigger even though you’re going to Orange Theory and Barry’s every day.
Or maybe you can now see why going to Yoga and doing cycling a few times a week isn’t exactly getting you the toned look that you want.
As women we need to work on not being so afraid of the gym and of lifting weights. We don’t have NEARLY the same amount of testosterone that men do so we can get away with doing the “same” training as men and experience great results without looking like a man.
Also something to note is that you can’t spot reduce (burn fat in one particular area on your body) but you can build muscles in specific areas.
So for me, I might do 2 lower body hypertrophy days a week + 1 lower body strength training day and then I’ll do 1 upper body hypertrophy day + 1 full body endurance day.
My main focus isn’t to grow my arms but I never neglect them and I still use heavier weights than most women. I’d say my arms are strong and toned and not bulky. Before when I was using 2-5 pound dumbbells for my upper body, I had flabby arms. Now I curl with a 40 pound barbell, bench with 35’s, do overheads presses with 25 pounds, etc and my arms have done nothing but toned up.
Just try it and see how it benefits you!!
If you feel like you’re lost or would like some personal guidance in the gym, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about your goals and get a personalized work out plan!