The effect of rest interval length on metabolic responses to the bench press exercise

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2007 May;100(1):1-17. doi: 10.1007/s00421-007-0394-y. Epub 2007 Jan 20.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different rest interval (RI) lengths on metabolic responses to the bench press. Eight resistance-trained men performed 10 randomized protocols [five sets of bench press with 75 or 85% of 1RM for ten (10REP) and five repetitions (5REP), respectively, using different RI (30 s, 1, 2, 3, 5 min)]. Oxygen consumption (VO(2)) was measured during exercise and for 30 min post exercise. For 30-s and 1-min RI: reductions (15-55%) in resistance and volume were observed (set 5 < 4 < 3 < 2 < 1). For 2-min RI: performance was maintained during the first two sets but was reduced by 8-29% during sets 3-5. For 3-min RI: a reduction was observed in volume where sets 4 and 5 were lower than sets 1-3 ( approximately 21%). For 5-min RI: only a reduction in set 5 was observed. Mean VO(2) and ventilation (V (E)) were progressively higher as RI length was shortened. VO(2) area under the curve indicated 10REP > 5REP for all RI except 1-min. Respiratory exchange ratio (RER) was elevated similarly for each protocol. Post exercise, VO(2), V (E), and RER were elevated through 30 min. No differences between RI were observed following 10REP; however, VO(2) after 30-s was higher than 2-, 3-, and 5-min and 1-min was higher than 5-min during 5REP. Fatigue rate was correlated (r = 0.30-0.49) to all metabolic variables. A continuum of performance reductions and metabolic responses were observed. The largest reductions in performance occurred with very short RI (<1 min), and performance was maintained during the first 3-4 sets when 3- and 5-min RI were used.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*


  • Lactic Acid