Intraworkout Rest

I'm having problems understanding something I never put too much thought into before now, and reading information that seems very contradictory to me. This will be a bit of a longer post, it's not the easiest topic, probably, I'm hoping some experts might chime in.

On the one hand, people say you should train hard, and lift as much as you can. Obviously this doesn't mean you should get burned out, but if you can do 10 Kg for 10 reps, you want to do 10 Kg for 10 reps, and maybe add some partials if it's one of your last exercises or so. This would be the mentality of "train harder than last time", like clown Doucette on youtube always claims.

On the other hand, I'm examining some bodybuilding programs, and the same people that say you should train hard also say their workouts last about an hour or so.

Now, my problem is with the rest times between exercises, specifically for a bodybuilding-oriented program. When it comes to rest between sets, ok, it's more or less 1-3 minutes (again, for bodybuilding, not for strength), depending on the situation, and that's fine. Having to rest just 1 minute instead of 3 will inevitably make you lift a bit less weight, but ok, you still put on more stress on the muscle.

HOWEVER. The rest between consecutive exercises is what I don't get. Example: the program I'm looking at now, on a certain day, had preacher curls 4x8, one minute rest between sets. After that, hammer curls, 4x12, one minute rest between sets. Recommended RPE of 9 or so.

Now, how the fuck am I gonna be able to do any quality work on hammer curls if I've just finished doing four sets of RPE 9 of preacher curls? I tried, and I kept rest relatively short (3-5 minutes) (short by my standards anyway), and the weight I would normally be able to use on hammer curls was just too much and could barely do one set. I had to drop the weight down by about 20%, and struggled to do the other three sets with that weight too.

So, I'm wondering, either I have awful recovery and "normal people" can have fully functional biceps after 4x8 RPE 9 1' rest of preacher curls, whereas for me 3-5 minutes just doesn't cut it, or option B.

Option B would be that there are two incompatible situations: keeping the absolute intensity up, or keeping the rest between exercises low. I could keep the relative intensity up at its highest while keeping rest low, but it would get to the point where I'd have to cheat to curl 5 Kg.

At the end of the day, what I'm trying to ask is: which is the better option, or the lesser evil, between resting more between exercises (thus being able to lift more weight) and lifting more, vs resting less between exercises and lifting less? For the purpose of hypertrophy, assuming the muscle is the limiting factor (and not, say, breathing, like it might be for a squat followed by leg press), which choice is better?

If I had to give you some numbers, two scenarios, with the previous example.

Choice 1: do preacher curls, 4x8, 1', whatever weight to really "squeeze", and the last reps are hard, can barely grind them out, might have to take a deep(er-than-usual) breath to break through the sticking point. Then rest 5-10 minutes to fully (or mostly anyway) recover biceps function, purposefully "lose the pump" (a bit at least) so I can use my arms better. Then, once ready, go do hammer curls with a weight, form, and rep scheme that I would be able to do if I had just gotten into them gym, and was fresh (let's say it's 10 Kg).

Choice 2: do preacher curls the same way as before, but rest only 3 minutes before moving on to hammer curls. At that point, lower the weight (let's say to 8 Kg now), and work as hard as possible. Might have to use partials for the last reps/sets.

Choice 3: lower the intensity on preacher curls, so the last rep is kinda hard but not really a grinder. Then rest 3 minutes, and do hammer curls. Could probably do 8 Kg with good form and full ROM for every rep. Maybe add some extra partials to reach and go beyond failure if there is no other exercise after the hammers.

Thoughts? Also, assume that time spent in the gym is NOT a limiting factor. Assume you can do a 2-3 hours long workout with long-ass pauses to fully recover between each exercise. So strict rest between sets, but "free rest" between exercises.

Which would be better, for hypertrophy? I always thought: keep rest intervals strict between sets of the same exercise to better ensure proper progression, but rest whatever you need between exercises so the next exercise in the routine doesn't suffer from the intensity of whatever came before. It worked good for me, but that was when I was training for strength, and not for size. Now I'm aiming for hypertrophy.
 

jJjburton

Member
AnabolicLab.com Supporter
I'm having problems understanding something I never put too much thought into before now, and reading information that seems very contradictory to me. This will be a bit of a longer post, it's not the easiest topic, probably, I'm hoping some experts might chime in.

On the one hand, people say you should train hard, and lift as much as you can. Obviously this doesn't mean you should get burned out, but if you can do 10 Kg for 10 reps, you want to do 10 Kg for 10 reps, and maybe add some partials if it's one of your last exercises or so. This would be the mentality of "train harder than last time", like clown Doucette on youtube always claims.

On the other hand, I'm examining some bodybuilding programs, and the same people that say you should train hard also say their workouts last about an hour or so.

Now, my problem is with the rest times between exercises, specifically for a bodybuilding-oriented program. When it comes to rest between sets, ok, it's more or less 1-3 minutes (again, for bodybuilding, not for strength), depending on the situation, and that's fine. Having to rest just 1 minute instead of 3 will inevitably make you lift a bit less weight, but ok, you still put on more stress on the muscle.

HOWEVER. The rest between consecutive exercises is what I don't get. Example: the program I'm looking at now, on a certain day, had preacher curls 4x8, one minute rest between sets. After that, hammer curls, 4x12, one minute rest between sets. Recommended RPE of 9 or so.

Now, how the fuck am I gonna be able to do any quality work on hammer curls if I've just finished doing four sets of RPE 9 of preacher curls? I tried, and I kept rest relatively short (3-5 minutes) (short by my standards anyway), and the weight I would normally be able to use on hammer curls was just too much and could barely do one set. I had to drop the weight down by about 20%, and struggled to do the other three sets with that weight too.

So, I'm wondering, either I have awful recovery and "normal people" can have fully functional biceps after 4x8 RPE 9 1' rest of preacher curls, whereas for me 3-5 minutes just doesn't cut it, or option B.

Option B would be that there are two incompatible situations: keeping the absolute intensity up, or keeping the rest between exercises low. I could keep the relative intensity up at its highest while keeping rest low, but it would get to the point where I'd have to cheat to curl 5 Kg.

At the end of the day, what I'm trying to ask is: which is the better option, or the lesser evil, between resting more between exercises (thus being able to lift more weight) and lifting more, vs resting less between exercises and lifting less? For the purpose of hypertrophy, assuming the muscle is the limiting factor (and not, say, breathing, like it might be for a squat followed by leg press), which choice is better?

If I had to give you some numbers, two scenarios, with the previous example.

Choice 1: do preacher curls, 4x8, 1', whatever weight to really "squeeze", and the last reps are hard, can barely grind them out, might have to take a deep(er-than-usual) breath to break through the sticking point. Then rest 5-10 minutes to fully (or mostly anyway) recover biceps function, purposefully "lose the pump" (a bit at least) so I can use my arms better. Then, once ready, go do hammer curls with a weight, form, and rep scheme that I would be able to do if I had just gotten into them gym, and was fresh (let's say it's 10 Kg).

Choice 2: do preacher curls the same way as before, but rest only 3 minutes before moving on to hammer curls. At that point, lower the weight (let's say to 8 Kg now), and work as hard as possible. Might have to use partials for the last reps/sets.

Choice 3: lower the intensity on preacher curls, so the last rep is kinda hard but not really a grinder. Then rest 3 minutes, and do hammer curls. Could probably do 8 Kg with good form and full ROM for every rep. Maybe add some extra partials to reach and go beyond failure if there is no other exercise after the hammers.

Thoughts? Also, assume that time spent in the gym is NOT a limiting factor. Assume you can do a 2-3 hours long workout with long-ass pauses to fully recover between each exercise. So strict rest between sets, but "free rest" between exercises.

Which would be better, for hypertrophy? I always thought: keep rest intervals strict between sets of the same exercise to better ensure proper progression, but rest whatever you need between exercises so the next exercise in the routine doesn't suffer from the intensity of whatever came before. It worked good for me, but that was when I was training for strength, and not for size. Now I'm aiming for hypertrophy.
That was alot. Lol. Only read half as of now.

so what happens is something called size principle. Your body recruits more fibers going from type 1 to type 2.
Type 2 fibers are bigger, but require more motorneurons to fire.

so to hit these muscle fibers you can do it multiple ways. One way to to go to failure or close to with 2-3 reps in reserve.


Also you can cut the rest periods to a lower amount like 45 sec or 1 min. But then your amount of weight you can lift will decrease, absolutly. Which is ok, because the body is still going to recruit the more powerful type 2 muscle fibers, because you not allowing your body to fully recover betweens sets.

keeping intensity up and of the many ways to do so will hit these bigger muscle fibers for hypertropht causes, keeping reps more then 6 with a decent RPE.

This at least answers some of what you asked.
 
That was alot. Lol. Only read half as of now.

so what happens is something called size principle. Your body recruits more fibers going from type 1 to type 2.
Type 2 fibers are bigger, but require more motorneurons to fire.

so to hit these muscle fibers you can do it multiple ways. One way to to go to failure or close to with 2-3 reps in reserve.


Also you can cut the rest periods to a lower amount like 45 sec or 1 min. But then your amount of weight you can lift will decrease, absolutly. Which is ok, because the body is still going to recruit the more powerful type 2 muscle fibers, because you not allowing your body to fully recover betweens sets.

keeping intensity up and of the many ways to do so will hit these bigger muscle fibers for hypertropht causes, keeping reps more then 6 with a decent RPE.

This at least answers some of what you asked.

cool i was doing right then
 

jJjburton

Member
AnabolicLab.com Supporter
Once you go past a certain amount of reps its more for type 1 fibers, which are more oxidative, meaning its for endurance. Which is good for some things.

All 3 of your lifting ways work. You should not ever need more then 3 minutes of rest unless doing 1-5 RM. It only takes 3 minutes Maximum if doing hypertrophy work for ATP and stuff like that to recover.
 

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