I'm currently doing a (mainly) body-weight routine that involves 3 circuits of:

15 close grip push ups
15 squats
plank 1-2 min
5 chin-ups
5 pull-ups
(just started the *ups lagging behind in that dept)

I used to try to rest as little as possible, but I recently started running on my off days, so I'm getting my cardio in that regard.

So, my question is as follows; If my goal is strength/muscle mass, can I rest as long as I need to between sets(not just circuits, but the actual sets).

If I let my heart rate go all the way back to normal, Not only does it make my workout more bearable, but I can crank out extra reps and work myself harder. For example, In just the past week, I progressed from 1 min planks to 2 min planks and made a lot of progress in the other areas as well. Does this benefit outweigh the benefit from the low-rest intervals?

Is there an optimal rest period I should shoot for?

  • anyones help here is appreciated, thanks in advance!
    – Luke
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


Strength and muscle mass can be two thinks different.

You can archieve very good strength without increase your mass. But you can build more mass with good strength. It is good to train all aspect of fitness with some form of periodization.

What it is you current goal ? Try to stick to a goal and when your archieve this goal take another, don't switch too soon.

When you train with litle rest beetween set you have more intensity and you drain more energy in your muscle cells. If you take more rest you have more energy but you train more your skill and your strength.

  • I am training for both. I am primarily concerned with muscle mass, but obviously, I want to be strong.
    – Luke
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 16:41
  • 1
    You are saying that I should shoot for less rest, If i want muscle mass then? Do you believe that my ability to perform more reps isn't as beneficial as taking less rest would be for this goal? (I'ts not like I'm resting a full 5 mins or anything, sometimes, I just like to take 1-2 min so I can be able to push myself harder, and This isn't between every exercise or anything.)
    – Luke
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 16:43

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