By: Tim Rigby (courtesy of Inside Fitness)
Simply decreasing rest periods for improved results sounds overly basic and you may doubt its practical veracity. Rest assured though, it has been scientifically scrutinized and the results speak for themselves. A 2011 study by Souza-Junior et al. that appeared in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition concluded that subjects who decreased the time of their rest periods between sets produced greater gains in building muscle mass, compared to those who kept their rest periods constant. This study was run over the course of eight weeks, so you can appreciate that it’s a lengthy process. Bear in mind that you will not be able to accelerate this process if you decide to reduce your length of rest periods between sets substantially. A general rule of thumb is to reduce it each week by only 15 seconds. This rate of progression can theoretically reduce the rest time from 3 minutes down to just 30 seconds over the course of 10 weeks. A side benefit to these short rest periods is that in addition to mass and strength gains, you’ll also burn more calories by giving your workouts something of an aerobic element to them.