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 Post subject: strict set rest timing
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:02 pm 
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After coming off a few week layoff due to travel and illness, I decided it was a good time to cut down my rest slightly, which I'd been wanting to do anyway.

I thought I'd been doing about 90 seconds, but I brought a stopwatch and the reality was my counting was wildly skewed when I was gasping for air between sets. Sometimes in the past I think I was doing as much as 240s when I was just counting. I strongly suspect now that some "good days" and "bad days" in the past had more to do with inaccurate counting than anything else.

Do you strictly time your rest between sets?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:40 pm 
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I don't. At first I felt obligated to, but my lifts are mostly for strength, so I rest AMAP. On my assistance work I am more inclined to keep track for consistency, but I either forget to look at the clock when I finish a set, or I look, then promptly forget what time it was when I first looked. So now on assistance, I still go by feel, but I try to push myself to get from set to set faster.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:45 pm 
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I keep a clock with a second hand handy when I do my thing. A lot of my stuff is GPP oriented, so I like to keep it in line with the prescription, but while doing ME work, I don't really worry about it that much, just rest until I feel ready to bust loose.
Tim


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Unless you want to work your cardio/muscular endurance, you should rest as much as you need.

Studies have shown that rest times have little effect on hypertrophy and super short rests obviously have an effect on strength gains.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:24 pm 
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I'd like to think that I'm just past the beginner stage, but I've been working out seriously for the past 8 months.

Anyway, I've been working with a stopwatch for about the last 3 months. This was for the same reason that I didn't really have any idea how long I was resting between sets. I did some research online as to ideal rest times which varies wildly from no rest (supersets) to 15 minutes (some powerlifting regimins).

Instead, what I did was bring a stopwatch and take down times over the course of a week. I would do a set and then try to strike a balance between "rest" and "pump." It took awhile to get a consistent rest schedule that almost guarantees (me) that I feel good heading into the next set. It was a bit easier for me since my sets are always the same numbers (ex: leg day):

Primary: 6x6 (ex: squats)
Secondary: 4x6 (ex: straight-leg deadlifts)
Tertiary: 4x6 (ex: dumbbell lunges)
Quaternary: 4x10 (ex. standing calf raises)

I think most people agree that between the 1st and 2nd sets of squats you typical can get by with less rest than between the 5th and 6th sets. It just didn't make fundamental sense that X seconds would be good between two early sets and that same X seconds would be fine between the last two sets. Yet I see websites that say X seconds of rest between sets. I feel that wasn't striking the right balance.

When I was starting this rest schedule I found that 1:45 was a good rest time for me between the 1st and 2nd of my primary sets. By adding 15 seconds to each rest time I felt that I was both still maintaining my pump but still able to hit the next set with ~90%. This would look like:

Set 1: 0:35
Rest: 1:45
Set 2: 0:35
Rest: 2:00
Set 3: 0:35
Rest: 2:15
Set 4: 0:35
Rest: 2:30
Set 5: 0:35
Rest: 2:45
Set 6: 0:35

I just followed a logical progression of 0:15 and made my rest between primary and secondary sets 3:00 and the rest between warming up and the first set 1:30.

I found that working out like this has some real benefits:

1. I know my workout is maintaining some level of consistency every time. This is important to me since I typically have a tight 60 minutes to workout everyday.

2. Another is a psychological advantage of sorts. If I do a set and I'm dog tired after that and would normally be apprehensive about hitting the next set, my mind knows that I will be able to rest longer (even if just 15 seconds) right after if I just go for it it.

3. The last is that it is so easy to control how long you rest for (like the original poster was curious about). I was interested in the same thing which is sort of why I started in the first place. I took 5 seconds off of all my rest times soon after I started timing my rests and have just taken another 5 seconds off two weeks ago. That might not sound like much, and it isn't, but it's nice to know not only how long you're resting, but that you can control it accurately and consistently.

One thing that I have to make clear is that these are tight guidelines...but they are still just guidelines! If I need a few more seconds...hell even if I need another 30 seconds, I'm not going to make myself workout at 70% just because a watch tells me. The thing is though, I can follow this schedule almost to a T everyday, feel good throughout, and be out within a minute or two of when I expect to. The other thing is I can't see how this would work the same for everybody...you will likely need a week in the gym with this as your goal to find the balance that's right for you.

I guess I'll end with the full times that work for me and maybe you can see if any of it might apply to your workout:

Warm Up: 5:00
Rest: 1:20
Set 1: 0:35
Rest: 1:35
Set 2: 0:35
Rest: 1:50
Set 3: 0:35
Rest: 2:05
Set 4: 0:35
Rest: 2:20
Set 5: 0:35
Rest: 2:35
Set 6: 0:35
Rest: 2:50
Set 1: 0:35
Rest: 1:50
Set 2: 0:35
Rest: 2:05
Set 3: 0:35
Rest: 2:20
Set 4: 0:35
Rest: 2:50
Set 1: 0:35
Rest: 1:50
Set 2: 0:35
Rest: 2:05
Set 3: 0:35
Rest: 2:20
Set 4: 0:35
Rest: 2:50
Set 1: 0:35
Rest: 1:50
Set 2: 0:35
Rest: 2:05
Set 3: 0:35
Rest: 2:20
Set 4: 0:35
Rest: 1:20
Cool Down: 5:00


Total is 60 minutes and 50 seconds.

Hopes this helps at least a little!

Steve


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:49 pm 
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I do track my rest pretty well. This is because if I don't then I will want to just jump to the next set and be weaker than I should be.

That being said, it's pretty easy for me, because I log my workouts with an Iphone App. The App has a built in timer, therefore it goes like this. Record set, immediately hit the timer.

For my 5/3/1 lifts, I force a mandatory 3min before my final heavy set. 2-3 min between my first 2 work sets.

After that, it's basically all accessory work of some sort, so no more than 90s rest between sets. This helps keep my heart rate up, and is basically a carryover from when I was doing WS4SB and that's what was programmed in for accessory rest.

I also think this strictly tracking rest times gives a good consistent workout that I can compare from week to week. Just one less variable to factor in.

Cliff


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:11 pm 
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Steve07--if you're happy with this, fine, but it would be way, way overthinking for me! It would drive me insane to try to track rest that precisely. If the function of timing is to make sure that you have enough rest, then why not just rest until you feel ready for the next set?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:28 pm 
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Haha, I can understand that it looks more like a robot working out.

To be honest, it was a lot of work initially setting it up, the first couple of weeks was a lot of note taking and modifying for the upcoming day(s). But now it's quite easy to keep track of. All I do is finish my set, click the stopwatch once, when it hits the time, I reset it and do my set. The 0:35 times for my leg sets aren't how long it takes exactly, it's normally in the range of 0:26-0:33 (depending on if I do less than 6, or need to take a couple of extra breaths etc.). 0:35 is just to show that I can typically finish my workout in the 60 minute range give or take a minute or two (which I said is really important to me).

Like I mentioned, I do the same number of reps and sets everyday, even if everyday is a different split of body parts. That being said, I just have a list of these times printed for each day in my log. Not only can I keep an accurate and consistant workout, it also helps me keep track of how many sets I've done (haha, I used to forget this all the time "was that my 4th or 5th set?"). But like I said, it's just a click of the stop watch when I finish a set, I checkmark or small note in the log book with my reps, and a click of the stopwatch when my rest is over.

To answer your question, one big problem I used to have is looking up at the clock and thinking "oh sh*t, I only have 10 minutes to finish my last 8 sets!" It was easy to lose the minute hand on my watch or the gym clock and 2 minute rests would turn into 3 (or even 4 if I got distracted!) and I felt that the next set was "too easy" or that I lost that pump. I find that these particular rest times are giving me a good balance of set to set pump while allowing me to hit the next set in around 90% of my recooperated strength.

I know a lot of members are doing workouts that are (involve?) things like 5/3/1 and 5x5. I don't actually know what these are, but will read more about them when I have some extra time. My workout has just developed kind of naturally from complete cluelessness through endless modification. I would never switch my workout completely because it has given me results that I am very happy with and the time commitments are just perfect for my schedule. That being said, I am still always tinkering...I think variety and experimentation are some of the funnest parts of weight training.

Steve


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:30 pm 
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frogbyte wrote:
Do you strictly time your rest between sets?


Yes. I carry a stopwatch around to do it - which is why you see rest times noted. If it's a range, all the rests were within that range.

I picked this habit up a long time ago from reading John Christy, and I never dropped it. It has three good benefits for me:

1) I can use variations in rest times for progress (less rest for the same sets/reps/weigh is progress).
2) I won't cram in extra rest without knowing I'm doing it.
3) I'll actually rest the whole time - I'd rest "3 minutes" between squat sets only to look down and see I'd only rested 1 minute so far. This forces me to actually slow down, rest, and get in better lifts.

On the other hand, I only have one tempo - maximum speed concentric, eccentric as fast as I can do safely. So it's not like I'm OCD or something, I just know rest time tracking with a stopwatch benefits me.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:25 pm 
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SteveO7 wrote:
I know a lot of members are doing workouts that are (involve?) things like 5/3/1 and 5x5. I don't actually know what these are, but....
5/3/1 is a method published by Jim Wendler. When people use that term they may be doing their entire workout according to his book, or may be just organizing the set-rep scheme for 1 or a few lifts using his approach. "5x5" refers to doing 5 sets of 5, but how that's actually done varies a lot from 5 ramping sets, to 2 warm-ups and 3 working sets, to 5 sets across (all 25 reps the same weight. There are many books and articles about this, but a good summary is:

http://www.ampedtraining.com/articles/5x5-routines-programming-training-system


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:22 am 
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I don't typically.

I would in some cases especially when doing more conditioning or fat loss stuff but, right now it's mostly when doing speed work. I "rest" 20-30 seconds then go for it again but, it'll take a good 15 seconds to get myself set up for the next lift so it's more like 40-ish seconds.

KPj


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:45 am 
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I always time my rest time between sets. It's another option for training, for example instead of adding 5 lbs, you could cut your rest time by 10 or 15 seconds.

On large compound lifts, I like to make sure I have had adequate time to recover.

I would think it would be a good habit to get into and it would at least add consistency to your workouts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:53 am 
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Always track my rest times.

1 minute for warm up/ramping sets
2 minutes for the first 1-2 sets
3 minutes for the rest.

If I am doing a movement where I don't bang out as many reps as the previous set, I take an extra minute of rest time.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:43 am 
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I try to leave a bit in the tank on the first few working sets, per pdellorto's total rep count thing, so ramping-up rest times isn't a need for me I think.

pdellorto wrote:
1) I can use variations in rest times for progress (less rest for the same sets/reps/weigh is progress).
2) I won't cram in extra rest without knowing I'm doing it.
3) I'll actually rest the whole time - I'd rest "3 minutes" between squat sets only to look down and see I'd only rested 1 minute so far. This forces me to actually slow down, rest, and get in better lifts.


I don't think I've ever done #3 - I'm more concerned about #2. Being able to track consistent progress is my main concern.

But Jungledoc seems to advocate extra rest if need be. Is that just from a strength perspective? Because I care about endurance/stamina/hypertrophy etc too.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:07 pm 
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i find I gain size best if I do high reps AND time my rests to about 90 seconds for compounds, a minute for isolations

when training heavy though i rest as long as i need. Sometimes up to 5 minutes for deadlifts

Vince Gironda was a big fan of timed rests, and that guy knew a thing or two about muscle


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