Are you taking enough time to rest? Both in between sets and in between workouts?

Did you know that when you strength train, you create microscopic tears in your muscle tissues. It is when you are resting that your muscles start to repair, growing back stronger and increasing muscle mass. If you are skipping taking your rest days, you won’t see the muscle repair that is needed and your results will be inhibited. Rest days are also super important mentally and will help you to be more consistent in the long term. Training every single day will not get you better results, it’s more likely to lead to burnout or injury, forcing you to take time off.

Plan in your rest days as you would your workouts, they are equally as important.

What about resting in between sets?

How long do you take?

On your big lifts, if you are wanting to increase strength, you ideally want to be taking between 2 and 5 minutes of rest between your sets. This doesn’t mean wandering around the gym, doing a set of burpees to fill the time, it means actually resting. Alternatively you could use this time to work on some small muscle or mobility drills (this is what I program for my clients here) but certainly nothing that is going to use the energy that your body is trying to replenish before you lift again.

As your workout progresses, you likely need less rest time between sets, but this will continue to depend on your goals, number of reps and sets you are doing. There isn’t a set amount of time but as a guide between 30 seconds and 2 minutes between sets works well on your accessory lifts.

Sleep is another aspect of rest often overlooked. Not getting enough sleep can hinder your progress in several ways. You will lack the energy required for your workouts and you could unintentionally overeat as you crave foods to boost your energy levels. Lack of sleep can also have an impact on your brain, making it more difficult to focus, learn and react, all important factors when you’re in the gym. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night is required for health so try to make sure you are hitting this every night (parents I know it’s hard! Do your best!)

The take away message? Rest is important! Make sure you are getting enough! And never feel guilty for having some time off the gym. Even a week or two won’t hurt your progress.