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Give it a rest: a systematic review with Bayesian meta-analysis on the effect of inter-set rest interval duration on muscle hypertrophy.

Singer, Alec; Wolf, Milo; Generoso, Leonardo; Arias, Elizabeth; Delcastillo, Kenneth; Echevarria, Edwin; Martinez, Amaris; Korakakis, Patroklos Androulakis; Refalo, Martin C.; Swinton, Paul A.; Schoenfeld, Brad J.


Alec Singer

Milo Wolf

Leonardo Generoso

Elizabeth Arias

Kenneth Delcastillo

Edwin Echevarria

Amaris Martinez

Patroklos Androulakis Korakakis

Martin C. Refalo

Brad J. Schoenfeld


We systematically searched the literature for studies with a randomized design that compared different inter-set rest interval durations for estimates of pre-/post-study changes in lean/muscle mass in healthy adults while controlling all other training variables. Meta-analyses on non-controlled effect sizes using hierarchical models of all 19 measurements (thigh: 10; arm: 6; whole body: 3) from 9 studies meeting inclusion criteria analyses showed substantial overlap of standardized mean differences across the different inter-set rest periods (binary: short: 0.48 [95%CrI: 0.19 to 0.81], longer: 0.56 [95%CrI: 0.24 to 0.86]; Four categories: short: 0.47 [95%CrI: 0.19 to 0.80], intermediate: 0.65 [95%CrI: 0.18 to 1.1], long: 0.55 [95%CrI: 0.15 to 0.90], very long: 0.50 [95%CrI: 0.14 to 0.89]), with substantial heterogeneity in results. Univariate and multivariate pairwise meta-analyses of controlled binary (short vs longer) effect sizes showed similar results for the arm and thigh with central estimates tending to favor longer rest periods (arm: 0.13 [95%CrI: -0.27 to 0.51]; thigh: 0.17 [95%CrI: -0.13 to 0.43]). In contrast, central estimates closer to zero but marginally favoring shorter rest periods were estimated for the whole body (whole body: -0.08 [95%CrI: -0.45 to 0.29]). Subanalysis of set end-point data indicated that training to failure or stopping short of failure did not meaningfully influence the interaction between rest interval duration and muscle hypertrophy. In conclusion, results suggest a small hypertrophic benefit to employing inter-set rest interval durations >60 seconds, perhaps mediated by reductions in volume load. However, our analysis did not detect appreciable differences in hypertrophy when resting >90 seconds between sets, consistent with evidence that detrimental effects on volume load tend to plateau beyond this time-frame.


SINGER, A., WOLF, M., GENEROSO, L., ARIAS, E., DELCASTILLO, K., ECHEVARRIA, E., MARTINEZ, A., KORAKAKIS, P.A., REFALO, M.C., SWINTON, P.A. and SCHOENFELD, B.J. [2024], Give it a rest: a systematic review with Bayesian meta-analysis on the effect of inter-set rest interval duration on muscle hypertrophy. Frontiers in sports and active living [online], (accepted). To be made available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 22, 2024
Deposit Date May 24, 2024
Publicly Available Date May 24, 2024
Journal Frontiers in sports and active living
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Rest period; Recovery interval; Muscle growth; Muscle development; Muscle thickness; Muscle cross-sectional area
Public URL


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