Rest Between Sets

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Timing Your Rest Between Sets

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I was in the gym the other day and saw a young lady doing something that highly impressed me. She had a digital watch on with a timer and each time she finished a set she would set her alarm to go off in exactly a certain amount of time. She kept it the same for all sets.

This is the best way to tell if you are making progress or not and to ensure that you are getting your workouts done in an effective manner. However, it can present some problems depending on your gym environment.

Timing between sets would be almost impossible on the machine equipment where other members may need to work in. It could even be considered rude by some members and management. However, on exercises like bench press, squat, deadlift, and shoulder press it should be quite easy to pull off. These are the exercises where gauging strength levels makes the most sense anyway.

How long should you take between sets? If you are in a volume/conditioning phase take about 30-45 seconds. If you are in a power/strength phase take about 3.5 minutes and if you are somewhere in between take about 1.5-2 minutes.

You don't need to go out and by a fancy alarm watch either. It comes in really handy, but you can use any watch you have available or the clock on the wall will work just fine. I've used the wall clock and my second hand many times with great success and I don't have to worry about blasting one of those goofy sports watches off my wrist when I get a forearm pump going!

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