European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 100, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

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

  • Nicholas A. RatamessEmail author
  • Michael J. Falvo
  • Gerald T. Mangine
  • Jay R. Hoffman
  • Avery D. Faigenbaum
  • Jie Kang
Original Article


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 (VO2) 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 (∼21%). For 5-min RI: only a reduction in set 5 was observed. Mean VO2 and ventilation (V E) were progressively higher as RI length was shortened. VO2 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, VO2, V E, and RER were elevated through 30 min. No differences between RI were observed following 10REP; however, VO2 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.


Bench press Strength training Oxygen consumption Respiratory exchange ratio EPOC 



We would like to thank a dedicated group of subjects for their participation. In addition, we would like to thank the National Strength and Conditioning Association for funding this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas A. Ratamess
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael J. Falvo
    • 1
  • Gerald T. Mangine
    • 1
  • Jay R. Hoffman
    • 1
  • Avery D. Faigenbaum
    • 1
  • Jie Kang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health and Exercise ScienceThe College of New JerseyEwingUSA

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