All the literature seems to suggest I should do between 4 to 5 sets of bench presses, but after my third set or so, I start to feel very exhausted, often to the point where I couldn't even complete a single rep if I tried. (This actually holds for all compound lifts, not just bench.) I find myself taking 30 second breaks at first, then 90 second, then sitting for 5 minutes waiting to get my breath back, procrastinating the next set, and getting nothing done.
How often is it appropriate to take a break while lifting, and how long? If I could take 5 to 10 minute breaks between each set (even if I did so by lifting other muscle groups) I could definitely meet the 5 sets goal. But would that negate the effect of doing 5 sets? Does letting your muscles recuperate between sets defeat the purpose?