Taking at least 2-3 minutes rest between weight-lifting sets at the gym can help boost muscle growth, British researchers have found.
The results suggest that guys who took longer rest periods showed two-fold increase in myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS) -- associated with strength and muscle growth.
The study highlights that short rest intervals may actually impair the processes that control muscle growth.
However, with short rests of one minute, the actual muscle response is blunted.
“If you're looking for maximised muscle growth with your training programme, a slightly longer interval between sets may provide a better chance of having the muscle response you're looking for," said Leigh Breen from University of Birmingham in Britain.
The study, published in the journal Experimental Physiology, analysed 16 men who completed resistance exercises interspersed by either one minute or five minutes of rest.
Muscle biopsies were obtained at 0, four, 24 and 28 hours post-exercise.
Beginners starting out on weight training programmes should take sufficient rest, of at least 2-3 minutes, between weight lifting sets that can help with muscle growth, the authors recommended.
For experienced lifters, it's possible that they may not experience the same blunted muscle building response to short rest intervals particularly if they have trained this way for a prolonged period and adapted to this unique metabolic stress.
"Nonetheless, similar recommendations of 2-3 minutes between sets should help ensure maximal muscle growth in well-trained individuals,” Breen added.
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