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How Long To Rest Between Sets For Fat Loss, Muscle Growth, And Strength

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Optimal Time For Rest Between Sets

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m answering a question about how long to rest between sets for fat loss, muscle growth, and strength building.

When it comes to the time period of rest between sets, it’s not a one size fits all situation.

For example, if your goal is strength, your rest between sets is going to be much different than if your goal is fat loss.

Of course, if you’re a beginner to working out, you can make some level of progress with just about any type of rest period.

But if you’re a Live Leaner, I know you prefer optimal results, in the fastest time possible.

The amount of time you rest between sets is one of the most important training variables to get faster results.

Based on this, let’s discuss how to follow this important training variable correctly, so you can get optimal results, in the fast time possible.

Here’s Why The Time You Rest Between Sets Is So Important

#1. Rest Helps You Regain Short-Term Energy

Resting between sets gives you time to regain your short-term energy, so you can give maximal performance during your next set.

#2. Rest Gives Your Body Time To Clear Metabolic Waste From The Muscle

Resting between sets gives your body the necessary time to clear out the built up metabolic waste in your muscles from the previous set.

#3. Rest Gives Your Central Nervous System Time To Recover

Resting between sets allows your central nervous system to recover.

#4. Rest Allows Your Heart Rate To Lower

Resting between sets allows your heart rate to recover and lower back down, if desired.

We’ll talk about why this may not be as important for some goals, shortly.

#5. Rest Helps Produce The Right Hormone For Your Goal

The amount of rest between sets affects which hormones are produced by your body.

These hormones then help you achieve your desired goal of strength, muscle growth, or fat loss.

How Long To Rest Between Sets For Fat Loss, Muscle Growth, And Strength

Now it’s time to breakdown the optimal amount of time to rest between sets, based on the following three fitness goals.

Goal #1. Optimal Rest Between Sets For Building Maximal Strength

rest between sets for strength

If your goal is maximal strength, the amount of rest between sets should be higher.

Stick with higher rest intervals in the 3 minute range for isolation moves, and the 4 minute range for compound moves.

When training for maximal strength, you should also be training with 85-100% of maximal weight, in the 1-5 set range.

This rest time is sufficient in allowing your nervous system to properly recover after each set, so you can keep the intensity high for your next max lift.

If You Think 4 Minutes Is Too Long To Rest, Try This

Now you may be thinking that 4 minutes is a long time to rest.

That’s true, but there are ways to make the most of that time.

When training for strength, I like to alternate opposing muscle group exercises between sets. 

For example, if I’m hitting my shoulders and back during my strength workout, I would do the following:

Although the rest between sets is only 2 minutes, you actually have about 4 minutes of rest before doing your next set of the seated dumbbell shoulder press.

By working opposing muscle groups like this, you can activate even more motor units during the contraction.

That’s a good thing.

Goal #2. Optimal Rest Between Sets For Muscle Growth

The optimal rest between sets for muscle growth and fat loss is a little more straight-forward.

rest between sets

For muscle growth, I recommend 60-90 seconds rest between exercises.

And of course, let’s move on to everyone’s favorite fitness goal, fat loss.

Goal #3. Optimal Rest Between Sets For Fat Loss

rest between sets for fat loss

When your goal is fat loss, it’s important to keep your body moving to ensure your heart rate is up to burn more calories. 

So yes, you guessed it, shorter rest periods when your goal is fat loss.

For my fat loss programs, I usually design the rest between sets for 30 seconds, and sometimes less, as you’ve probably seen in my Live Lean Afterburn 6 week programs.


You have picked up a copy of our Live Lean Afterburn Dumbbell 6 week home workout program, right? 

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And that’s why you’re looking so lean and sexy.

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Question For You:

  • Which of these 3 fitness goals: strength, muscle growth, or fat loss, applies to you?
  • Are you following the correct rest between sets protocol for your goal?

Be sure to share your answers in the comment section below.

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35 responses to “How Long To Rest Between Sets For Fat Loss, Muscle Growth, And Strength

  1. i’ve been using short rests partly because of the program like body beast
    or p90x but also because i dont wanna be working out for a long time; any

  2. Yo yo… Terrific movie.

    My buddy was once a flabby. He went from 279 lbs of pure fat to 205 lbs of genuine lean muscle. His mates were astonished. I just joined myself coz I wanna strengthen. He used the Muscle Building Bible (Search on Google)…

  3. Hey Brad, i am 26yrs old and weight around 92kg. Recetly i’ve started to do the Lean gains diet over a month until now, my eat time is from 12h to 19h, and i feel great. I wanna know when i can incorporate fasted state cardio with this diet. Help me out please. Thanks!

  4. @DomRocha Your body and muscles are getting stronger but don’t judge how well your workouts are based on soreness. Focus on feeling the muscles working during the workout and getting a good sweat.

  5. I have a question. I’ve been doing Tabata for two weeks, 5days a week. But after the first week, or so, I stopped getting sore but I still feel the burn and breathe like Darth Vader while doing it. But why am I not getting sore?

  6. In two months I’ve lost 14 lb not an easy task for me. I had saggy man boobs but they’re almost gone. What should I do to spread my chest out and loose that last tip of the boobs lol help please.

  7. I am interested in fat loss and toning. I am just getting started again but usually rest about a minute or two between sets. Thanks for the information, as now I realize that is way too long.

  8. Nice Video. Im interested in getting my legs bigger but im trying not to scarfice my abs too much. I will invest in your system asap.

  9. Hello Brad, On May 31 I reached my goal with a lost of 50 pounds. Now I keep my weight around 175. On July my fat percentage was 17%. My new goal is to gain more muscle ”Lean mass” to reach a 14% for my fat percentage.

  10. I came here to find out about muscle building, then later found out that only 3 seconds of this video was valuable for me

  11. How many days should i pause between trainings? I heard two days pause after a training is needed to recover. I have a bad muscle ache after my last training so i definitely will need two days of recovery. Is that for normal trainings without muscle ache the right pause?

  12. @RajSinghania congrats on the first 20 kgs my friend. Go check out my 30 day “Live Lean Meltdown” home workout video on my website. Also go check out my tabata playlist where i have over 20 vids

  13. My goal is fat loss and I WAS resting 60 seconds between sets; will do 30 seconds tomorrow at the gym. Thanks for the info.

  14. I’m interested in what your fitness goal is Live Leaner: Strength Building, Muscle Building, or Fat Loss?

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