Well this really depends on what type of workout you’re doing and which body part, etc. If you are lifting weights, it is best (most efficient) to rest moderately between sets, about 60 seconds or less, but not too long or short. This is because you will develop more muscle mass and recruit additional tissue if you keep your rest periods moderate. If you wait too long, muscle development will not be as great. But resting some amount of time is always important. Men’s Fitness recommends shortening your rest periods by a few seconds each time you work out in order to build more muscle mass in less time. Efficiency is always important!
In between each set 60 seconds is best – but you also want to work your upper body or lower body or even your whole body on alternate days to allow the muscles time to recover. In other words you would work your whole body on Monday and rest Tuesday, then work it again on Wednesday. Or you could work your upper body on Monday, lower body on Tuesday, upper on Wednesday and so on.
When you exercise you are actually tearing your muscle fibers so they need 24-48hours to repair and rebuild. That being said, you should alternate your workouts to give muscles proper time to rebuild. With strength training you accomplish this simply by alternating areas of the body your work. Workout your upper body one day and your lower body the next. Cardiovascularly you can workout the same body parts everyday, but try to vary the type of cardio your engage in. For example, if you usually hop on the stationary bike try the eliptical, treadmill, or rowing machine a few times a week. Switching up your cardiovascular routine will help keep you from getting bored and it allows you to work new muscle groups while giving your other muscles time to repair.
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