Only play your next muscle building set when you feel 100% recovered from the earlier set. Some people suggest resting between sets should be 2-3 minutes, some use 4-5 minutes. One study shows that longer resting between sets can enhance muscle strength (1).
However, the drawback of the short resting between sets is that you will be not able to save enough energy, or the weights you can lift will be not enough heavy to help you build muscles.
3 Minutes Resting
You are in the gym to move as much weight as possible for maximal muscle growth. There is no way to divide an absolute time of resting between sets. Sure, having a fixed 3 minutes time between sets provides the workout more organized and guarantees you can finish all of your exercises in the targeted time frame, but that’s not the best way to make you’re putting 100% effort into each set.
Some sets will use more energy and force you to rest longer, while others will not have an impact. It all relies on what exercise you do, how much weight you move, and how you feel on any specific day. The key is to listen to your body and perform your next set only if you feel you have recovered from the previous set. Therefore, you can execute the set with 100% intensity and strength.
You may rest for 3 minutes or even rest for 6 to 7 minutes at other times. Because your workout should not last longer than 60 minutes, including 15 minutes warm-up. It’s important that you always watch the clock to make sure you are not resting longer between sets.
The Bottom Line
You need to move around the gym enough to allow maximum resting between sets. While still completing your workout in less than 45 minutes is important.