Get Stronger, Build Muscle and Benefit from More Rest Time

Get Stronger, Build Muscle and Benefit from More Rest Time

As we age, we are fighting against natural degradation of connective tissue, joint health, and muscle mass. Living a sedentary life will dramatically increase the rate of breakdown while increasing your risk for injury. The best way to halt age-related breakdown is to focus on building functional strength and lean muscle tissue through a resistance training program.

While a weight-bearing training program may seem overwhelming at first, a new study has demonstrated that longer rest breaks can result in greater improvements in overall strength and lean muscle tissue.

Benefits of Functional Strength

Experts agree that the earlier you begin a functional training program, the better; however, starting a strength training program at any age has been shown to be beneficial.

For older adults, performing functional strength workouts can significantly improve day-to-day life while allowing you to remain independent for many years.

Supports Everyday Activities

  • From picking up groceries to gardening, functional strength can allow you to continue leading an independent lifestyle.

Protects from Injury

  • Strengthening muscle tissue and connective tissue is one of the best ways to avoid age-related injuries that come about due to weakened joints and muscles.

Strengthens Connection Between Muscles

  • One of the best things that you can do to support longevity and avoid age-related complications is to strengthen the working relationship between all muscle groups. Functional training is the way to do this.

Longer Rest Breaks Make Exercise Easier

Although it may seem otherwise due to many popular fast-paced workouts, a new study has demonstrated that longer rest breaks correlate with greater strength results.

A recent study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed that subjects who took a 3-minute rest break in between sets as opposed to a 1-minute rest break saw greater increases in muscle strength and lean tissue growth.

You can apply this to your own strength training workouts, focusing on effective exercises with long rest breaks in between. This will allow you to move from exercise to exercise in a safe way without worrying about over-exerting yourself.

How Long Should You Rest Between Sets?

Based on the results of the study, it would be ideal to rest no more than 3 minutes in between exercises. It’s important to note that rest doesn’t mean sitting down and staying there for 3 minutes. Rather, you want to keep moving in a low intensity way. For example, you can march in place. Be sure to rest but do not become idle.

Sample Functional Strength Workout Program

  • Dumbbell Squat: 12 repetitions
  • Rest Break: Up to 3 minutes
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 12 to 15 repetitions
  • Rest Break: Up to 3 minutes
  • Lat Pulldown: 10 to 12 repetitions
  • Rest Break: Up to 3 minutes
  • Dumbbell Side to Side Twists: 16 to 20 repetitions
  • Rest Break: Up to 3 minutes

Once you’ve completed each exercise once, begin again. Perform this workout three times. Complement this exercise program with cardiovascular training in between training days.


With previous medical issues and age as a concern, older people tend to stay away from weight-bearing exercises. While cardiovascular training is great, building strong working relationships between muscle groups through functional training is going to help you maintain a high quality of life and independence.


1. Schoenfeld BJ, Pope ZK, Benik FM, Hester GM, Sellers J, Nooner JL, Schnaiter JA, Bond-Williams KE, Carter AS, Ross CL, Just BL, Henselmans M, Krieger JW. Longer Interset Rest Periods Enhance Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Jul;30(7):1805-12. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001272.

David Sautter is a NASM certified personal trainer and a NASM certified fitness nutrition specialist who has worked in the fitness industry for over 12 years.

During his time in the fitness industry, David Sautter has conducted many fitness workshops, trained hundreds of clients, and has written extensively for a variety of companies. He has been a featured fitness writer on many high-profile health and fitness websites. Aside from producing weekly articles, David has been the writer of several e-books and training guides.

Read more blogs from David Sautter

1 comment

  • William Traw on

    How to assemble back brace?

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published