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Thread: Rest Periods Between Fatigue Sets

  1. #1

    Rest Periods Between Fatigue Sets

    fbloop wrote:
    This was a topic that had no formal suggestions in the book. Do you have some general suggestions on rest periods between fatigue sets? I tried 1 minute, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes, and 4 minutes, all done with triples. I settled on 2 minutes, as 1 minute did not leave me much strength for subsequent sets, and 3 and 4 minutes only slightly improved my subsequent fatigue sets. I stayed with triples to isolate variables, but I wonder how this might change with singles, fives, etc.

  2. #2
    Mike Tuchscherer wrote:
    In the book I suggest using an overall time limit. Say you're doing medium stress for a given exercise. I suggest that your work sets be limited to 20 minutes. That helps you manage your rest intervals. You can rest more if you need it or less if you don't need it. That way the rest periods get auto-regulated too. Of course you could control your rest periods more strictly such as using a firm time measurement (2 min, etc). But if you were going to do that, you probably should have a thought-out reason for what you pick.

  3. #3
    fbloop wrote:
    I guess the time limit versus prescribed rest periods leaves a lot of variables open that I don't know what to do with. Assuming moderate fatigue (5%fp and 20 minutes)

    1. I could drop the rest intervals to 15 seconds, fatigue much earlier than 20 minutes, and call it a day.

    2. I could raise the rest intervals to 5 minutes and never reach fatigue within 20 minutes.

    I'm using extreme examples to illustrate my confusion/ignorance. Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself, as the use of a top set + fatigue work has been consistently raising my lifts for the past couple of months (thank you!), even with the arbitrary 2 minute fatigue rest interval I've chosen, but as I progress, I'm hoping to understand more of the nuances of your work. I assume they'll matter more as I progress from intermediate to advanced territory.

    <Perhaps a better question would be: what's the best way to let the relation between work session time and fatigue set rest intervals autoregulate itself?>

  4. #4
    r1smith wrote:
    You want to hit ur fatigue percent by the end of the time limit. In your case, of ~20min / 5% fatigue percent, u wouldn't do either option 1 or 2 because that defeats the purpose of using the time limit for volume control. If u hit ur fatigue percent too early, you either didn't chose the weight appropriately or didn't rest enough. If you don't fatigue by the time limit, u either chose too little weight or more likely, u rested too much.

    I usually choose 2-3 min for my rest periods; and on rare occasions will do 4 min. You can adjust these to hit ur fatigue percent at the right time. If the set wore u out more than usual, up the rest time a bit. If you aren't fatigueing fast enough, cut some rest time.

    For example say we are doing triples at a 9 with 5% fatigue. Once u hit a 7 RPE set u start the clock. After this first set, u rest 2 min and up the weight on the bar. But oh crap, the RPE was like a 8.5: a little higher than u expected. Ok, up the rest to 3 min and up the weight. Third set was 8.5 again; pretty good. Rest 3 min and put more plates on the bar. Fourth set was a 9; time to drop the weight by 5%. After 3 min, u hit it and it's an 8. 3 min later and it's a 8.5. Now u check ur time and u see your quickly approaching the 20 min mark. Cut the rest to 2 min and do ur last set: it's a 9 RPE. Ur good to go.

    While I didn't actually calculate and see if it actually comes out to 20 min, but I hope it gives u a good idea how we can vary rest times.

  5. #5
    fbloop wrote:
    Thank you Mike and Smith, that's exactly the information I needed.

  6. #6
    Eduardo Chile wrote:
    I have given this a lot of thought in past.

    The max time I would put in between sets is the average time in between attempts at a meet. Unless, you wanted to simulate longs breaks in between attempts in a meet to become accustomed to that.

    So, from a skill standpoint I think long breaks are beneficial as these are the motor units you will most likely use in a meet. Somewhere from 5-15 minutes is the norm at a meet.

    If the target is to get gain size or target different motor units, then rest intervals will have a big impact. I would think shorter intervals would be beneficial here.

  7. #7
    Mike Tuchscherer wrote:
    <<I guess the time limit versus prescribed rest periods leaves a lot of variables open that I don't know what to do with. Assuming moderate fatigue (5%fp and 20 minutes)

    1. I could drop the rest intervals to 15 seconds, fatigue much earlier than 20 minutes, and call it a day.

    2. I could raise the rest intervals to 5 minutes and never reach fatigue within 20 minutes.>>

    Yes you're right. You'll want to get complete rest or near-complete rest between sets using this method. I don't mean rest-10-minutes kind of complete rest, but somewhere between 2 and 5 minutes depending on how tough the set was before. Monitor your breathing rate and perceived recovery. That will help you decide.

    r1smith brings up a good point too of trying to time them to occur at the same time. That could be something you want to try. I think you'll find that if your fatigue percent is tied closely to rest intervals, your fatigue is based on energy system recovery, not necessarily neuromuscular fatigue. This doesn't make it wrong -- just not exactly what we're going for. This is why I recommend near-complete rest periods most of the time.

    For the record, I like Eddie's ideas, but practically speaking it would make the workout insanely long.

  8. #8
    Svein wrote:
    Studies looking at rest-intervals approx 2 min> and 5 min> showed that the net results differed in favor of 5 min>.

    5 min could lift a higher volume at a higher intensity and thusly increased their 1RM more. As such I believe longer pauses gives more benefit than short pauses. This is for the strengthportion. If I was to emphasize metabolic stress I`d vary the pauses more also dable with more advanced methods (kinda like the "how many reps in 12 min" thing Mike got going on.. but working agonist and antagonist in supersets), myo-reps, occlusion.. etc but I know Mike has his own epic system. Don`t go messing it up!

    Also since the weight often already is at about 80-85% of 1RM you will have full fiber activation from rep 1 and dont have to focus that much on having short pauses to fully activate the whole specter of muscle fibers. (With lower intensity weights the IIx fibers would come to play at the end of the workout)

    I even add in (sorry Mike), sort of a "cluster-set" methodology to my deadlift workouts to get even more from the sets. This is true for the heavy sets atleast (1-3 reps). I do a short break between each rep. This has shown great promise looking at studies.

    Just my two cents..

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