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The Effect of Rest Interval Length on Repetition Consistency and Perceived Exertion During Near Maximal Loaded Bench Press Sets

Scudese, Estevão1; Willardson, Jeffrey M.2; Simão, Roberto1; Senna, Gilmar1,3; de Salles, Belmiro F.1; Miranda, Humberto1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2015 - Volume 29 - Issue 11 - p 3079–3083
doi: 10.1097/JSC.0000000000000214
Original Research

Abstract: Scudese E, Willardson JM, Simão R, Senna G, de Salles BF, and Miranda H. The effect of rest interval length on repetition consistency and perceived exertion during near maximal loaded bench press sets. J Strength Cond Res 29(11): 3079–3083, 2015—The purpose of this study was to compare different rest intervals between sets on repetition consistency and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) during consecutive bench press sets with an absolute 3RM (3 repetition maximum) load. Sixteen trained men (23.75 ± 4.21 years; 74.63 ± 5.36 kg; 175 ± 4.64 cm; bench press relative strength: 1.44 ± 0.19 kg/kg of body mass) attended 4 randomly ordered sessions during which 5 consecutive sets of the bench press were performed with an absolute 3RM load and 1, 2, 3, or 5 minutes of rest interval between sets. The results indicated that significantly greater bench press repetitions were completed with 2, 3, and 5 minutes vs. 1-minute rest between sets (p ≤ 0.05); no significant differences were noted between the 2, 3, and 5 minutes rest conditions. For the 1-minute rest condition, performance reductions (relative to the first set) were observed commencing with the second set; whereas for the other conditions (2, 3, and 5 minutes rest), performance reductions were not evident until the third and fourth sets. The RPE values before each of the successive sets were significantly greater, commencing with the second set for the 1-minute vs. the 3 and 5 minutes rest conditions. Significant increases were also evident in RPE immediately after each set between the 1 and 5 minutes rest conditions from the second through fifth sets. These findings indicate that when utilizing an absolute 3RM load for the bench press, practitioners may prescribe a time-efficient minimum of 2 minutes rest between sets without significant impairments in repetition performance. However, lower perceived exertion levels may necessitate prescription of a minimum of 3 minutes rest between sets.

1Physical Education Post Graduation Program, Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;

2Kinesiology and Sports Studies Department, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois; and

3Biosciences Laboratory of Human Movement (LABIMH), Federal University of State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Address for correspondence to Estevão Scudese, estevao.scudese@aerobica.com.br.

Copyright © 2015 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.