Can Brief Breaks Between Weight Training Sets Promote Greater Muscle Gain?

Mar 4 09:15 2009 Francesco Castano Print This Article

Many bodybuilders aim for very short rest periods between sets, believing that this will aid weight lifting intensity. But will short rest periods in certain cases actually prove detrimental towards building muscle mass?

One of the many bodybuilding concepts that weight lifters must contemplate when compiling an effective workout plan is rest between sets,Guest Posting with some believing that short rest periods promote a greater amount of muscular overload, leading to superior muscle growth. This ideology is based on the overall body fatigue felt when participating in a weight training workout with short rest between workout sets, as the assumption is, if such a workout is more difficult to endure, the muscle growth will therefore be superior compared with extended rest between sets.

The issue with this theory is that the fatigue felt when rest periods between weight training sets are reduced does not result from greater overload to muscles, but rather occurs due to increased involvement of the cardiovascular system, where the heart is pumping substantially faster to sustain the continuous workload, similar to a heavy jogging workout. As a result, the amount of weight used during workout sets declines sharply during short rest periods, and this actually reduces the total overload received, harming muscle growth. The weight training workout plan with short rest periods between sets may feel far more intense due to significant cardiovascular fatigue, but this should not be confused with a useful muscle building workout plan.

The error made by numerous bodybuilders is to combine their aerobic and weight training workouts, feeling that this technique is sufficient in maximally stimulating both muscle gain and fat loss. Yet, two variables are neglected in producing this flawed idea, as weight used during each workout set is an important concept in encouraging the largest level of muscle gain, and complete mental focus during each set is also useful in fostering the greatest amount of intensity. When rest between workout sets is reduced to extremely low levels, the mind often becomes fatigued due to the lack of a recovery period between each set, and develops a nagging habit of putting forth less effort during the weight training set itself. This, in conjunction with the natural physical fatigue that is a consequence of moving quickly between weight training sets, causes the body to lift less overall weight than could be possible if rest periods were lengthened to a more reasonable level, as the mind and body do not have sufficient opportunity to recuperate sufficiently for the greatest level of output throughout each set.

Lengthy rest periods between sets offer a mental advantage for many, as feeling aerobically fresh throughout the weight training workout session allows a bodybuilder to provide strict mental attention upon each rep, without a feeling of overall body fatigue that adversely impacts motivation. Yet, there are some bodybuilders who due to their work schedules are incapable of devoting more than a short period to weight lifting sessions, and therefore must sustain the shortest possible rest periods in order to train as many muscle groups as possible during their brief workout time frame. In such a situation, extremely short rest periods between weight training sets are acceptable, as this is far superior to eliminating exercises, abandoning training for certain muscle groups, or training each body part on a less frequent basis.

Still other bodybuilders dislike extending rest between sets, as they feel far more capable of completing a weight training workout session with maximum focus when they avoid idle time, therefore, in such a case, shorter rest periods are preferable, as making a weight training session realistic to continually pursue is one of the most vital factors leading to significant muscle gain, and if extending rest periods causes frustration, then reducing rest to the maximum time frame that feels tolerable is an acceptable practice. But for any bodybuilder who wishes to achieve the greatest amount of muscle building, and has the time and mental wherewithal to lengthen rest between sets sufficiently so that a weight training workout gravitates away from a cardiovascular emphasis towards a dedicated muscle building focus, then this is a superior tactic to employ.

Remember that aerobic workouts are aimed at improving heart efficiency and increasing metabolism for added fat burning, but they are not designed to build substantial muscle mass, and thus the best plan for muscle growth is one where the weight training workout session does not feel cardiovascular in nature, as crossing such a threshold can begin to greatly hinder muscle building potential.

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Francesco Castano
Francesco Castano

Francesco Castano authors MuscleNOW.com, a diet and weight lifting program teaching the exact techniques for building muscle mass without supplements or drugs. He also owns IncrediBody.com, an online fitness superstore selling protein powder at guaranteed lowest prices.

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