Rest is one of the most important factors when it comes to making progress with calisthenics. If you are asking yourself “how long do I need to rest when training calisthenics?” you are certainly asking the right questions. Without proper rest, you will struggle to gain muscle or strength.
However, the answer to this question varies depending on your type of training and what you are trying to achieve.
Because of this, this article will be split up into three sections:
- How much rest you need for building muscle
- How much rest you need for gaining strength
- How much rest you need when training for static holds
When you are training to build as much muscle as possible, what you are doing is aiming to damage and tear your muscles. This is so they can repair and grow back bigger and stronger.
The most effective way to cause as much damage to your muscles when working out is to do from 8-12 reps, for 5 sets while having around 2-3 minutes rest in-between sets. The reason why 3 minutes is the suggested rest time is because it gives muscles enough time to recover in between sets, allowing you to lift more weight and overall more volume. Overall weight volume lifted in a workout is the most important factor when building muscle” or something similar to that.
However, because of the massive amount of damage and strain caused to your muscle during workouts, this also means they require a lot of time to repair and recover. You need at least 24-48 hours of rest before working the same muscles worked again. During this time, getting high-quality sleep and having a diet high in protein is vital to successfully build muscle. This is because this is the time in which protein synthesis and muscle growth take places. Muscle is not built while working out it is the opposite. Muscle is damaged while working out, it is only when resting that your body will actually build muscle. Because of this, when training to maximise muscle growth rest is the most important factor.
So, you want to know the best way to build muscle? Work out 3-4 times per week, eat a lot of protein, and sleep. Like a lot. That’s all you need to do.
Training for strength instead of muscle requires a different set of rules to how you would train to build muscle. When you are training specifically for strength you are training for power and explosiveness, which does come from having muscle, but it also comes from a specific type of training.
The most effective way to build strength is to do 5-8 sets of 3-6 reps of heavy weight. In between these sets you have a much longer rest time, up to 5 minutes or even longer. This is because the goal isn’t to have as much time under tension as possible like it is when aiming to build muscle, but instead, it is to allow your muscles to recover more during the workout so you can overall lift a higher amount of weight.
Because of the lower time under tension, your muscles will not get as damaged which means you can get away with having fewer rest days when strength training. It is important to note rest days and proper nutrition are still very important, just less so when specifically trying to build muscle. Because of this you can train every other day or even every day if you do a lower number of sets and have a high amount of rest time in-between.
Calisthenic Static Holds
If your goal is performing crazy feats of calisthenic feats of strength then you have got your work cut out for you. Calisthenic holds require a mix of muscle, strength and endurance. The goal here is to build enough strength and power to get into one of the holds, muscle so you can stay there and stabilise yourself, and then endurance to be able to maintain the position as they are very tiring.
The most effective way to get better at static holds is to a combination of the two previously mentioned routines. This means doing 8 reps of 5 sets with 2-3 minutes breaks in between. This will build both muscle and power. Alongside this, you should also have a rigorous cardio routine to improve your stamina and endurance.
Because of the extremely demanding nature of this, you will need at least 24-48 hours rest between working the same muscle groups. However, you can do the cardio routine within those rest days as cardio will not provide enough strain to any of the muscles to damage them.
Thank you for reading. Rest is often overlooked and the popular consensus is that the harder and more often you train, the better. This however is not true. Rest is essential for making progress in any physically demanding activity no matter what your goal is. So, if you are trying to get stronger why not focus on doing less on rest days, and improving the quality of your sleep? This will have the biggest return on investment. More so than training more if you already workout a few times a week.
We hope you have found our article about how much rest you need for calisthenics insightful. Now go put it to good use and get more rest. Good luck!
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.