Are you short on time? Trying to get the most out of your workouts without running late? Then taking time to rest between sets will be the more efficient use of your time.
You surely have heard that rest after a workout is important for your muscles to heal from the micro-tears which ultimately make your muscles stronger. While hydration, nutrition, and rest after a lifting session are important, rest during one is key as well.
Rest During a Workout is Key
Rest between sets helps you to both catch your breath and reset mentally and physically. This results in you being able to lift for more sets and lift heavier for longer. Ultimately this is what will help you make your gains.
Don’t Skip Rest Between Sets, Even When You Are Short on Time
There might be times when you only have 20 minutes to squeeze in a lifting session. In those instances, a great way to give your muscles rest is by engaging in active rest or alternating muscle groups.
Active rest can be something like walking or biking slowly. You will still be burning calories but your legs will have a chance to recharge. If you are particularly ambitious, alternating muscle groups is another option. For example, if you complete a set of squats, alternate with pull-ups/push-ups/ sit-ups, etc. You want to give your hamstrings, glutes, and quads a rest while working other muscle groups (that you anyway need to work on).
There, of course, will be times when rest during a training is not directly indicated. You might go on a long steady run. Besides stopping for water, you might not need to walk or stop. However, if you are trying to break through to the next level, such as increasing pace, lifting heavier, etc., rest in-between becomes indicated. For example, running sprints or hills, alternating your pace tends to help break through to the next pace group. Lifting heavy also will require you to take a 2-5 minute rest between sets to fully get your body prepared.