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What's The Best Way To Rest Between Sets?

April 28, 2015 2 min read

Ever wonder exactly what it is you are supposed to be doing between sets? Looking around the gym will show you there are any number of ways to kill time, mid set cardio, jumping jacks, wandering and texting your significant other. But what is the "right" thing? Science has the answer: Sit between sets and you’ll recover more fully and perform better, according to scientists at the University of Utah. The researchers had a group do an intense crossfit workout on 3 different occasions. The workouts were the same: The exercisers performed 8 to 10 reps of a strength exercise immediately followed by a 2-minute all-out sprint on an exercise bike or rowing machine. That was one “set.” The participants did six sets total, resting about two minutes between each set. 3-lXtEYO7FoBEMJ16XLGFIO0W6RLrIK95AQ5sxUbJrM The only thing that changed was how the participants spent their rest periods. They did one of three things: lie on the ground, sit on a bench or walk slowly. When the exercisers laid or sat between sets, they worked 7% harder in subsequent sets. These methods also lowered the participants' heart and breathing rates to a greater degree. “Walking requires more energy than sitting or lying down,” says Timothy A. Brusseau Jr., Ph.D., and study co-author. “Sitting or lying down lessens the burden of one’s own body weight, which may allow your body to focus all its energy on recovery, better preparing you for your next round of exercise.” Should you sit between sets? All of that depends on your goals, says Brusseau. If you are looking to increase your fitness levels or perform at your best, sitting is your best option. If you are looking to burn as many calories as possible, you should pace or stand during rest. This keeps your heart rate up, burning more calories.  

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