How Long To Rest Between Sets For Maximum Fat Burning?
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I hear a lot of discussions in gym locker rooms about how to burn the most amount of body fat and gain lean muscle during strength training. The good news is you don’t have to spend more time in the gym. In fact, it’s completely the opposite:
Spend less time – especially resting between sets!
Resting versus maximum fat burning
[A watch or clock is essential for measuring rest periods between sets – even grandma’s old clunker will get the job done.]
Will I Still Be Strong?
It depends on your goals. If you’re training to increase strength to be able to compete in power-lifting competitions then resting a bit longer would be a good idea – up to three minutes for movements like squats and dead lifts. But chances are you’re here at The Fat Loss Authority wanting to learn about losing fat. Being able to lift a small European car is not the primary goal.
Although plenty of articles will state that shortening rest periods is an effective fat burning technique, rarely do they tell you why or even point to research which backs up the claim. Thankfully there is research which supports the fat loss benefits of shorter rest periods and most of it was done by Dr. William Kraemer.
Research conducted by Kraemer has shown that resting between sets for 1 minute or less will provide you with a metabolic burn that will last well beyond 24 hours. In comparison, the metabolic rate after a workout using 1 minute rest periods was almost double that of an identical workout with 3 minute rest periods. Kraemer attributes this dramatic effect on resting metabolic rate to a faster heart rate, faster energy turnover, and greater hormone release – all topics that deserve there own time and space to discuss.
Rules To Reduce Rest Between Sets Correctly
There are several ways to implement shorter rest periods into your workouts (see Strategies to Shorter Rest Periods below), but first we need to cover two important ground rules.
1. You need to maintain fairly heavy weights (8-10 reps)
It’s easy to shorten your rest periods when you’re curling 2.5 pound dumbbells, but this defeats the purpose. Revving up your metabolism requires both heavy weight and less time between sets.
2. Listen to your body
Training with heavy weight and little rest between sets is hard on the body – in a good way of course. But that doesn’t mean you train until you puke! Listen to your body and rest longer as necessary while you progress to this style of training. Feelings of nausea and dizziness are symptoms that should not be ignored and are indicators that you’ve dropped your rest periods too quickly.
A good place to start is reducing your rest periods by 10 seconds from your current workout. Over time you will work your way back up to the same amount of sets and reps but done in far less time. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
Strategies to Shorter Rest Periods
Here are 4 techniques to shorten your rest period and increase the post-workout calorie burn at your next workout program:
1. Try supersets, compound sets, triple sets or circuit training. See the Fitness IQ article for definitions. Essentially, these techniques will keep you moving from one exercise to the next with minimal rest.
2. If you’re training with a partner, rest only long enough for him/her to finish a set and then start your next set.
3. This isn’t a cocktail party so forget about talking or socializing with others. Bring an iPod to help you stay focused and on task.
4. Keep an eye on the clock or wear a watch. Frankly, there is no better way to measure your rest period and you’ll be amazed at how much work you can get done in a short amount of time.