5 Essential Questions to Determine Rest Periods Between Total Gym Sets


How Long Should You Rest Between Sets On Your Total Gym?


How long should you rest between sets of exercises on your Total Gym is a great question. There might be as many answers to this question as there are personal trainers! In my 20 plus years of working with clients in fitness I have heard and studied dozens of these ever changing theories. A very successful body builder told me he would rest for exactly one minute for every repetition he just performed. He was lifting very heavy weight with low repetitions so if he did five chest presses, he would rest for five minutes. Compare that with a fellow fitness professional that swore by only resting 30 seconds between sets. He was so meticulous about this that he would set the timer on his watch. If you were in full conversation with him when that timer beeped, forget it! He would dismiss you and be off to his next set. Great discipline!


This is my first point. Part of the answer to this question is personal according to your fitness goals and personal preferences. Read on and I will give you current opinions from the experts in the fitness industry that are scientifically tied to your fitness goals. I will also add some theories that I have concluded from years of working with thousands of clients and my personal workouts. The latter weaves those expert theories with personal preferences that may work better for you.


  1. What are Your Fitness Goals?

Do you want to build bigger muscles? Do you want to focus on building strength? Are you training for a specific sport or purpose? Is your main focus weight loss and torching calories? One of the best benefits of working out on the Total Gym is this one machine will accomplish any or all of these goals! The answer to this question leads you right to the next question.


  1.  How Many Repetitions To Fatigue?

Most experts agree, the less repetitions the more rest your muscles need. The greater the effort, the more rest is needed. Want to build bigger muscles? You’re going to choose a higher level on the Total Gym and fatigue in a lower repetition range – about 5 to 8. For this level of intensity experts recommend about 2 to 3 minutes of recovery, rest time. If your goal is toning, weight loss and burning calories, then your repetition until fatigue range will be higher – about 12 to 15. For this level of intensity experts recommend 30 seconds to 90 seconds of recovery time. Read on to personalize these recommendations.


  1. What Are My Time Constraints?

When you need to get in and out of your workout, I recommend my colleagues method of setting a timer to keep you from lingering. But on days when there’s more time, feel free to jam out to your music between sets or read fitness magazines. On busy days, I will set my timer and hunker down. I’m big into choosing a method that works well for you and your personality, which leads directly into my next question.


  1. How Focused Am I During The Exercise?

I meditate daily and truly believe living in the moment will make you better at any thing in life. Even doing a chest press on your Total Gym! So here is my advice: Do your next set when you are mentally ready to be focused on what you’re doing. I would much rather have my clients be totally focused during their exercises than just go through the motions and non-mindfully complete a certain number of sets. Like anything in life, if you’re focused on what you’re doing you will get so much more out of it.


  1. What Should I Do While Resting?

Stretch, stretch, stretch. Stretch the muscle you just took to fatigue. Learn how to stretch on your Total Gym.  We all need to rest and recover between exercises to get the most out of our workouts, but feel free to personalize your workout. Do what works best for you, physically and mentally.


I’d love to hear what works best for you so keep in touch and keep me on my toes!

JayDee Cutting III, MBA

JayDee Cutting III, MBA is an Educator for the American Council On Exercise and holds 12 fitness certifications including Pilates, yoga, personal training, lifestyle and weight management. JayDee is a Total Gym master trainer and spokesmodel since 2004. He lectured and taught wellness at Rancho La Puerta Fitness Spa and is featured in over 10 fitness DVDs and over 40 fitness television programs. He developed his own Coregolf Fitness Program and founded the NiceDogYoga Company. His mission statement is: “My passion is inspiring people to enhance their lives through wellness, creating healthier, happier, higher qualities of life.”

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