Resting Results

Mar 21, 2011
Resting Results

Get the facts on how resting can help you out with progressing to your goal

When most bodybuilders get into a diet phase they typically increase their reps to help burn more calories.

Doing sets in the 15-20 rep range is not uncommon. It makes sense, after all – more reps equals more movement. And that should burn more calories. Right? Not necessarily so. New research from researchers at the College of New Jersey has discovered that rest periods between sets has more effect on calories burned during a weight workout than the number of reps. To test the role that reps played on calorie burn, the scientists had 8 males perform 5 sets of bench presses completing 5 or 10 reps. To test the role that rest periods between sets played, they had them complete each workout using 30 seconds of rest between sets or 3 minutes of rest between sets. The number of calories burned was calculated by having the subjects connected to a metabolic cart during the workout and for 30 minutes after.


Calories Burned No Matter What

The scientists discovered that regardless of the number of reps performed, the lifters burned more than 50% greater calories when they rested just 30 seconds between sets as compared to 3 minutes. Doing ten reps per set only burned about 7% more calories during the workout as compared to doing 5 reps per set. However, this was negligible because when they did 5 reps per set they burned 6% more calories during the 30 minutes after the workout as compared to when they did 10 reps per set.


So if getting lean is top priority for you, you don’t have to give up your strength. After all, training heavy burns more calories after the workout. And research shows that this greater calorie burn can last up to two days! So you can still train heavy and burn more calories in the gym. Just keep your rest periods down below 1 minute. Yes, this little rest will effect your strength somewhat on successive sets, but it’s better than giving up all your strength by sticking with 20 rep sets.



Falvo, et al. National Strength and Conditioning Associations Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, 2005.


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