Check out this great video from Sean Nalewanyj discussing how long you should rest between sets to build muscle.
What is the ideal rest time between sets for optimal mass and strength gains? Should you rest 45 seconds, 1 minute, 3 minutes or more?
People are always asking me how long to rest between sets for size and strength-based workouts, and the simple answer is that there is no one absolute answer.
The goal of any workout designed for maximum muscle stimulation is to move as much weight as possible for as many reps as possible, and you always want to make sure that you’re entering every workout at peak strength.
However, every set is different based on the particular exercise you’re performing and the level of intensity that your program calls for.
Having a set rest time between sets doesn’t take into account, for example, that sets of deadlifts are going to require longer rest intervals than, say, a set of tricep pressdowns, or that high intensity/low volume programs will require longer rest between sets than moderate intensity/high volume programs.
So what is the answer on the question of how long to rest between sets and exercises?
Simply rest as long as you need to in order to feel fully recovered from the previous set, and to where you’ll be able to execute the next set with maximum performance.
If that takes 90 seconds, fine, and if it take 3 minutes, that’s fine too. There’s no way to predict for sure when that point will come on any given set. You just have to listen to your body and base your rest period between sets on how you feel from set to set.
Just make sure that you aren’t taking any more time than you truly need and that you’re moving through your workout as efficiently as you can. Aside from that, the specific rest time between sets that you take just depends on how each individual set impacts you at that time.
As a rough general guideline though, 1.5-3 minutes will probably be suitable for most lifts.
via Sean Nalewanyj