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How to program rest times

Programmed rest times vary depending on which phase of training you are in, how quickly you recover between sets, what the purpose is behind the exercise, and how you are overall feeling that day. For example, your rest times during a strength phase are going to look quite a bit different than in an endurance phase. They're also likely going to look a little bit longer if you're feeling more tired or sore than usual one day.

Below are general suggestions based on phases of training.

Stabilization: 0-90 seconds between sets

Endurance: 30-90 seconds between sets

Hypertrophy: 30-60 seconds between sets

Strength: 2-5 minutes between sets

Power: 2-5 minutes between sets

The problem with these generalizations is that just because you're in one of these phases, such as strength, doesn't mean that you will have 2-5 minutes of rest between every exercise programmed. For example, in a strength phase, your main movements for a day could be squat and bench. Those two exercises will likely require a 2-5 minute rest period between sets to help you fully recover since these are requiring you to push the most weight of all programmed exercises for the day.

When it comes to the accessory exercises for that day, those rest times may lie somewhere between 60-90 seconds. The accessory exercises are there to help support your overall strength in the main movements. For example, a couple accessory exercises could include single-leg deadlifts or back fly. The purpose of these accessories would likely be to focus on volume and effort.

Another example could be in regards to the programmed warm-ups. I don't usually program rest times with these exercises because the level of effort is/should be so minimal that it doesn't require a structured rest period.

As you can see, rest times will not only vary between training phases, but also based on the individual workout contents and purpose of each exercise.


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