Power loves rest - but how much is too much?

SvendSved

Level 1 Valued Member
Hi

Long time reader, first time poster - I hope you guys can lend a hand here...

I've practiced a weekly deadlifting routine that about a year ago went from going to the gym to lift a barbell 5X5 to now doing it at home. I don't have a barbell, but I do have a few fairly heavy KB's - after some noodling on the program, my Sunday strength routine now looks like this:

One legged deadlift with two KB's - one 36KG and one 32KG - five reps reach side
Clean with the 36kg - five per side
Kneeling military press (strict) with a 20kg - five per side

I then take 5 - 15 mnutes of rest in between sets, for five sets. Here's my question: How much rest between sets is too much? I have three small children and a wife. Sometimes life gets in the way of the routine - I've tried to just let it be as good as it can be, and I know that a fairly structured session is best - but if things don't work out for whatever reason, and I have 30 minutes between each set - what then?

Hope you guys can help, or at least share your thoughts on the above.

//Christian, Elsinore, Denmark

PS. The reason I use two different weights for the DL is that I don't have two identical bells. I used the bells I've purchased for S&S for this workout as well. The kneeling military press is due to the fact that I can't stand up in my basement so during the winter, I can't do overhead excercises without going outside - I do that on other days, but lugging three KB's outside is too high a "barrier to entry".
 

James Sullivan

Level 5 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I have three small children and a wife. Sometimes life gets in the way of the routine -
With respect, I think you may have this backwards... the question for me over the years is how to find a routine that doesn't get in the way of my life. If you've got a routine that keeps bumping up against your family and other priorities or responsibilities and causing friction in those areas then you are less likely to be consistent and that is a much higher risk to your progress over the long term than how much rest your getting between sets.

I'm not an expert in exercise physiology so maybe others can chime in on how much is too much, but I personally would not be worried about longer rest between sets especially if it results in a more balanced approach to training and sticking to a plan over a longer period.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
but if things don't work out for whatever reason, and I have 30 minutes between each set - what then?
If I'm doing something heavy, i.e. the work set is hard to do "cold" (with no warm-up sets or activity) then it feels to me like anything longer than 6-8 minutes puts me back in need of a warm-up again. In your example, if I needed a little warm-up before "One legged deadlift with two KB's - one 36KG and one 32KG", I might just do a two-legged deadlift with the 36kg for 3 reps, rest 1 minute, then go into the work set.

However if the work is easy enough (relative to 1RM strength... maybe 65% or less) then no warm-up is needed, therefore long rests are not a problem.

That's just me... everyone is different. It depends how long your muscles stay warm with good blood flow, how long your central nervous system stays stimulated, maybe how mentally focused you can remain, etc.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member

Bauer

Level 6 Valued Member
I know that a fairly structured session is best - but if things don't work out for whatever reason, and I have 30 minutes between each set - what then
Velkommen til!
Personally, I think this is perfectly fine and might even give some benefits. @pet' has posted to relevant articles. And then Pavel has brought about Grease the Groove (GTG) which strives on rests of longer than 15 minutes.

Anyway, I think consistent training is better than no training, and irregular rest is another variability factor (same but different), why is supposed to increase adaptations. Also, as long as you don't need a fancy warmup, longer rests usually increase recovery, which is a big plus with small children in the house...

Btw, @Steve Freides has written elsewhere that he often does his strength work as some kind of movement break during desk work: Just get up every 5 to 20 (30? 60?) minutes and do a set of deadlifts, for example.

Of course, this is different for a plan like Q&D, where the rest periods are an integral part of the plan and where they are designed for specific hormonal/biochemical effects.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Btw, @Steve Freides has written elsewhere that he often does his strength work as some kind of movement break during desk work: Just get up every 5 to 20 (30? 60?) minutes and do a set of deadlifts, for example.
This is true.

The longer the rest periods, the better for strength. And even when I'm looking at a clock, I might do something like wait at least 10 minutes between sets if I'm working near my limits.

-S-
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
The longer the rest periods, the better for strength. And even when I'm looking at a clock, I might do something like wait at least 10 minutes between sets if I'm working near my limits.

We are all different... When working near my limits I've found that if I wait > 8 minutes, my ability to express that top end strength starts decreasing.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
If I wait too long, then I have to do my warm up all over again.

If I don't wait long enough, I'll miss a lift.

In between those two extremes is a big honking gray zone.

In the gray zone, I use velocity tools to measure power output and adjust accordingly, which can vary from day to day.
 

SvendSved

Level 1 Valued Member
With respect, I think you may have this backwards... the question for me over the years is how to find a routine that doesn't get in the way of my life. If you've got a routine that keeps bumping up against your family and other priorities or responsibilities and causing friction in those areas then you are less likely to be consistent and that is a much higher risk to your progress over the long term than how much rest your getting between sets.

I'm not an expert in exercise physiology so maybe others can chime in on how much is too much, but I personally would not be worried about longer rest between sets especially if it results in a more balanced approach to training and sticking to a plan over a longer period.
I couldn't agree more - and I should point out that this program is a continous work in progress...

I started doing the single leg deadlifts because of a bad knee, that I wanted to make as bulletproof as possible. The other excercies grew around that, based on how easy the DL's became over time.

The reason for this post is basically to make sure I have the freedom to take long rests, in case "life gets in the way".
 

SvendSved

Level 1 Valued Member
If I'm doing something heavy, i.e. the work set is hard to do "cold" (with no warm-up sets or activity) then it feels to me like anything longer than 6-8 minutes puts me back in need of a warm-up again. In your example, if I needed a little warm-up before "One legged deadlift with two KB's - one 36KG and one 32KG", I might just do a two-legged deadlift with the 36kg for 3 reps, rest 1 minute, then go into the work set.

However if the work is easy enough (relative to 1RM strength... maybe 65% or less) then no warm-up is needed, therefore long rests are not a problem.

That's just me... everyone is different. It depends how long your muscles stay warm with good blood flow, how long your central nervous system stays stimulated, maybe how mentally focused you can remain, etc.
Good point!

When I go up in weight, I usually adhere to a pretty strict 5-15 minute rest, to not waste the warm up. Since I buy new kettlebells with 6-9 months interval, I get pretty confortable with the weights, making warm ups less necessary. I start the session with halos, cossack squats and a deep goblet squat, working out the kinks in deep corners - after that, I feel pretty limber and "warmed up" for the remainder of the day.
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
A lot of "mixed" advice being provided here—from more of GTG approach to powerlifting style.

Basically for strength work 3-5 minutes rest can and should be sufficient—the only time I needed more than 5 min rest was when performing very heavy (for me) PL work. (going upwards of 7-10 min but I was 85%+ 1RM)
For something like KB Cleans the rest needed is highly variable.

You posted your routine as:
One legged deadlift with two KB's - one 36KG and one 32KG - five reps reach side
Clean with the 36kg - five per side
Kneeling military press (strict) with a 20kg - five per side

How many sets are your performing of each exercise?

You can likely condense your training quite a bit by performing:
OLDL
rest 2-3 min
Kneeling MP
rest 2-3 min
Repeat for desired sets

Finish with your Cleans using the talk test.
 
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