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Bodybuilding Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger Opens Up on Best Rest Time Between Sets

Brandon Gabriel Isaacs

Bodybuilding Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger Opens Up on Best Rest Time Between Sets

‘How long should you rest between sets?’ This has been a hot topic of debate over a long period in the fitness world. According to the thumb rule, one should be resting enough to be able to do another set in your training program. However, 7-time Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his recent newsletter, Arnold’s Pump Club, has come up with an answer.

Backed by scientific studies, the legendary bodybuilder cites that the best rest between sets depends on your exercises, repetitions, and whether or not you train to failure.

“New research found that your rest periods depend on the number of reps you perform and exercise selection, but — most importantly — it’s influenced by how close you train to failure.” 

Adding to this insight, scientists also found that if you want to build both muscle and strength, longer rest periods are the best way. An individual’s muscle and strength depend on the relationship between intensity and fatigue; therefore, if you push yourself to failure while training, you can maximize your results. 

“That comes at the cost of higher fatigue and needing more rest. If you try to push your intensity and don’t give enough time to recover, then you’re leaving results on the table.”

The Austrian Oak explains that longer rest periods aren’t for everyone, as everyone has different or busy schedules. To tackle that and attain good results, Schwarzenegger suggests adjusting your workout routine with a shorter rest period. 

However, what one needs to keep in mind while taking shorter rests is not training to maximum intensity on each set. Thus, when you focus on taking shorter rest periods, performing more reps or sets will help compensate for your limited recovery time. 

“In general, the research suggests that 3 to 5 minutes is the ideal amount of rest for multi-joint exercises (think squats, deadlifts, presses, and rows), as well as exercises where you’re using heavier weights (more than 80% of your 1-rep max).”

But the Terminator actor adds that those with more isolation exercises and heavy weights can rest between 1 and 3 minutes per set. While resting between sets is important for the body, Arnold Schwarzenegger once opened up on the significance of sleep and how it can impact weight loss.

Arnold Schwarzenegger suggests how sleep hygiene can impact fat and muscle loss

Fitness aspirants split their focus on multiple factors, and they, at times, end up losing steam and not meeting their fitness goals. To achieve their goals, following a workout style and a wholesome diet are necessary. However, there can be quite a few restraints while trying to attain them, and Schwarzenegger addressed it in another edition of his newsletter.

The tried and true approach to good health is to have a definite sleep schedule. It determines the rest and recovery time the body receives in a day. A volatile sleep pattern can affect an individual’s psychological health and result in stunted muscle growth. A study on the “influence of sleep restriction on weight loss” confirmed this. This included 2 groups given the same-day loss diet except one set, cutting their sleep by one hour per night. 

While the results showed both groups lost the same amount of weight, the latter group, who cut down on sleep, lost muscle and held on to fat. The experiment also allowed the individuals to get the sleep they lost on weekends. In the study, it was then noticed that those who didn’t get the required sleep lost muscle instead of fat.

This is why the Austrian Oak presses to get ample sleep to get enough recovery time. Arnold also added that some muscle loss can be expected from dieting. Hence, the key to a healthy body is training hard, eating a good amount of protein, and getting enough sleep.

Post Edited By:Simar Singh Wadhwa

About the author

Brandon Gabriel Isaacs

Brandon Gabriel Isaacs


Brandon Gabriel Isaacs is a US Sports Editor at The SportsRush. With a Master's degree in Journalism and Communication, he holds a background in content creation and editing. An avid cricket enthusiast and a sports buff, Brandon decided to quit his work stint with ed-tech content creation to finally jump into the world of sports editing and supervision. His unrelenting passion for sports has backed him to edit content pieces of American Sports ranging from Swimming and Gymnastics to Equestrianism. He seeks inspiration from personalities like Michael Phelps, Lyndsey Vonn, Sunisa Lee and Sir Mark Todd. Being a national level Table Tennis player himself, he hopes to hone this long lost skill and start playing again. Outside the study desk, Brandon is a lover of photography, race cars and travelling.

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