Resistance Training & Program Design part 7

Posted by on Mar 17, 2013 in Program Design, Review Topics | 0 comments

(see Step6)

Step 7: Rest Periods

Rest period, or “interset rest” (who actually calls it that?) is the amount of time you rest in-between sets.  The NSCA has guidelines that are based on a set of studies examining the effect of rest periods on three different aspects of strength training:

  • Strength and Power
  • Hypertrophy
  • Muscular Endurance

Rest Periods for Strength and Power
While training status does effect an athlete’s ability to train with less rest, performing structural exercises with near maximal load requires long rest periods.  Studies have shown that 3 minutes of rest were better than 30 seconds of rest for strength gains in the back squat.  Guidelines for strength and power: at least 2 minutes, or a range of 2-5min

Rest Periods for Hypertrophy
Although the NSCA book doesn’t reference any studies, if you look at any body building program (aka hypertrophy) the rest periods are short.  When the goals are growth, and not strength (remember strength is both neurological and physiological) shorter rest periods fatigue the muscle groups more and are generally accepted as being better for growth.
Guidelines for hypertrophy: 30-90 seconds

Rest Periods for Muscular Endurance
Endurance programs are typically designed with light loads lifted for many repetitions.  Since the load is lighter, and the program is designed for endurance, the idea of sport specificity comes into play here (ie make the strength program mimic the demands of the sport).
Guidelines for endurance: 20-30 seconds

That wraps up the series on program design.  If you need to review it again, here is a list of all the posts in the series.  Let me know if you think I’m missing something!

Part1A-Needs Analysis
Part1B-Athletic Assessment

Part2-Exercise Selection
Part3-Training Frequency
Part4-Exercise Order
Part5-Training Load and Repetition

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