A bit of background...I have been doing a 3 day a week workout. I use equipment in my basement and I have an 8 month old so possibly less sleep than average joe. I started about 8 months ago with a 2-20 rep scheme, then a 3-15 rep scheme, then 3-10, then 5-5, then 5-10, now back to 3-15 with new exercises after deloading. I just recently learned that your rest should be around 30 secs to 1 min instead of 1 minute to 1.5 like with hypertrophy to maximize the endurance aspect. most which has always been my downfall so I've been trying to implement it ever since my last rep scheme. I seem to be severely out of breath when doing my workout and I've noticed it's gotten more severe since I've upped my reps to 15 and changed my workout exercises. I've especially noticed this during any kind of leg movement like landmine squat but moreso with unilateral ones such as step-ups or Bulgarian split squats possibly because they use larger muscle groups with a bit more time under tension.

I'm almost gasping for air after so much that I have to rest 2 minutes or more because I don't have the energy. I don't seem to have an issue with actual muscle endurance when doing the exercises.. for example the weight I'm using actually feels just heavy enough to complete 15 reps and my muscles are getting that lactic burn feeling, In some of the easier exercises like chest press but not with leg exercises. My lungs are failing before my muscles andmy fatigue and being out of breathe hinder me from using more weight on exercises such as the leg exercises. The out of breath is hitting me before the actual weightlifting does so I'm not reaping the full benefits.

My guess is that I need to improve my energy systems but I'm not sure. Would some type of anaerobic workout during the week give me less of an out of breath feeling during my workout and what kind? Or should I go with aerobic? Or is it something else entirely? I feel like I'm throwing away my weightlifting because I'm resting so much doing 5 compound exercises takes over an hour.

  • I usually joke that my 15 rep sets are my cardio but they really shouldn't be. 2 minutes isn't some extreme rest time either -- that's still admirable. What kind of RPE are these sets at? 5 compound exercises for 3 sets at 80%+ is already going to be tight to fit in an hour!
    – C. Lange
    Mar 2, 2020 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


I think you should take a look at your work capacity. Here's a great article about work capacity from StrongerByScience and I suggest giving it a read overall. Their definition of work capacity is:

[The] total amount of work you can perform, recover from, and adapt positively to.

Your total volume scheme is a bit all over the place 2-20 (40 reps), 3-15 (45 reps), 3-10 (30 reps), 5-5 (25 reps), 5-10 (50 reps!), 3-15 (45 reps). So you went up, then deloaded to 25 reps, ramped up to 50 and now you're a little less again. On top of this, you've halved your rest time between sets (which, for strength training, I think 30 seconds is far too low. 2 minutes is plenty OK. You've stated the goal is endurance though).

So the goal here is to be able to do more reps with the lower rest times. It sounds like you're changing a bunch of variables at once. If you're lifting quite heavy, I would stick to one variable at a time. Pick your rep scheme -- say 5 x 10 -- and start with 1.5-minute rest. Then move that 5 x 10 to 1-minute rest. Finally, 5 x 10 at 30-second rest. At this low of a rest level and when endurance is the goal, I wouldn't use a particularly challenging weight

From the same article:

Another way [to increase work capacity] is to increase training density. Although this doesn’t increase your work capacity in the strictest of terms (total volume you can handle), it does increase your work capacity PER UNIT TIME, allowing you to supercompensate when you spread your sets back out. Let’s say you’re doing 5×5 with 315, and you’ve plateaued. You currently rest 5 minutes between sets. Next workout, just knock 15 seconds off your rest periods. Continue to do so each workout until you’re only resting 2 minutes between sets. You could probably then jump to 335 5×5 with 5 minutes between sets again. This method has the drawback of not increasing your total training volume which can make peaking for meets a little trickier, but it’s ideal for someone who doesn’t have room in their schedule to increase their weekly gym time.

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