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Annnnnd Breathe: Why Rest Times Matter
July 14, 2022

Annnnnd Breathe: Why Rest Times Matter

P.O.V.: You just finished your last set and you’re like…”That’s all?” Hold that thought right there.

Rest times may seem counterintuitive, unnecessary at points or like it’s a complete waste of time. We’re here to tell you that your rest times matter and are actually critical to help you reach your goals.


Imagine this: You’re moving into an upstairs apartment. After carrying a couch up the stairs, you need to set it down and take a breather and regain some strength before you move the rest of your things.

That’s how your muscles feel after a good set, even if you don’t feel like you need to rest. In the Sesh app, you’ll notice all of the workouts come with a prescribed amount of rest time. Typically this ranges from 30-120 seconds. It really just depends on the training style and group of exercises that you’re doing.

The point of resting is to give your muscles a chance to catch up and recover. If you move a couch up the stairs and then go right back down and move up the coffee table, you might have to make stops during your pilgrimage up the stairs to catch your breath. The same goes for strength training. You don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t give your best effort.


First things first, you definitely won’t reach your goals on the timeline you’re aiming for if you’re injured due to not giving your muscles time to catch up in between sets. Taking a breather in between sets allows your muscles to gain strength and push the limits for each rep. This ultimately leads to maximized muscle growth.

When you don’t take time to rest, you don’t give your muscles the chance to restore their supply of ATP, glycogen, and other nutrients that fuel muscle contractions. When you’re doing strength training exercises, you always want to be able to do the workouts with maximum force. Just like everything else, your rest times will vary depending on what your fitness goals are.


When you’re looking to build muscle, often you’re going to do a lower rep count with a rest time of 30-90 seconds to reach muscular hypertrophy. As we said, you’ll most likely be doing less reps. However, reps should be heavy and your focus should be putting in your maximum effort while maintaining proper form. Often, you’ll see “one rep maxes” in this category. That’s when you do one rep, but it’s the maximum amount of weight you can safely lift.


When your goal is to build endurance, you’ll want to do high intensity reps with shorter rest periods. Usually, around 30 seconds is the spot you’ll want to be in.


Oftentimes, you may be doing HIIT training, or something that is high intensity. For some HIIT exercises, you may do 60 seconds on and 30 seconds off to rest. In general, your rest time should be no less than 30 seconds unless specified otherwise.

Remember, when doing an organized strength training program like the ones at Sesh, your rest times will often be pre-prescribed within the program. If you’re doing a Sesh challenge and have a coach, you can always ask her to adjust your rest times if you feel like the ones given in the exercises aren’t aligned with your goals.

The most important thing to remember is that your priority should be an effective rest that gets you ready for your next set.