Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip
How Long Do I Rest Between Sets?
(April 17, 2007)

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I just started strength training with free weights and some machines that I feel comfortable with. My question is how long do I rest between exercises? (Joyce, Queens Village)

The purpose of rest time is to allow your muscles to rest and recover between your sets. There are different variables which determine the length of rest time between sets. Your goals and fitness level will determine your rest time. Here are some tips which can help.

  • If you are a rookie, a beginner, you might need more rest time figure a minute to a minute and a half.
  • If you are doing explosive athletic movements, you need more recovery time two to three minutes.
  • If you are going for stamina and endurance, you limit rest time by keeping your body moving.
  • If your goal is strength, you might want to increase rest time, so you can handle those heavier weights which takes more out of you.
As you can see, you can find what works for you and adjust as you progress. Make it a positive adaptation.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on