Stretching between sets: is it a good idea?

Stretching between sets: is it a good idea?

In the world of fitness, optimizing training methods to achieve higher levels of performance and increase the gains is something we all look for. While traditional approaches prioritize rest or light activity between sets, a growing amount of evidence suggests that incorporating stretching into this inter-set period can have real benefits. In this article, we look into the practice of stretching between sets, exploring how it can enhance muscle growth, improve flexibility, and deliver higher workout performance.

Stretching between sets involves performing stretching exercises during the rest intervals between resistance training sets. This practice contrasts with traditional approaches that prioritize passive rest or low-intensity activities such as walking around the gym or lightly stretching the limbs.

The alleged benefits of stretching between sets

Better recovery and fatigue

Stretching between sets helps alleviate muscular fatigue and accelerate the recovery process by promoting blood flow to the muscles. This enhanced circulation facilitates the removal of metabolic byproducts of training, such as lactic acid, while delivering oxygen and nutrients to support muscle repair and growth.

Flexibility and range of motion (ROM)

Regular stretching between sets can enhance flexibility and increase ROM around the joints during resistance exercises, optimizing muscle tissue recruitment and promoting more efficient movement patterns. Enhanced flexibility also reduces the risk of injury by mitigating muscle tightness and possible imbalances.

Muscle activation

Stretching between sets can activate dormant muscle fibers and improve neuromuscular connectivity. By engaging in dynamic stretching exercises that use the same movement pattern performed during resistance training, individuals can prime their muscles for subsequent sets, maximizing muscle activation and recruitment.

Mental focus and relaxation

Incorporating stretching between sets provides an opportunity for mental focus and relaxation. Engaging in controlled breathing and mindfulness techniques during stretching intervals can help alleviate stress and enhance concentration, allowing individuals to maintain optimal performance for longer periods of time throughout their workouts.

Time efficiency

Stretching between sets offers a time-efficient approach to improving flexibility and enhancing recovery without significantly extending the duration of the workout. By integrating stretching into the rest intervals, individuals can experience the benefits of both resistance training and flexibility work within the same training session.


To effectively integrate stretching between sets into your training regimen, however, consider the following strategies:

Stretching between sets strategies

Appropriate stretches

Choose first dynamic stretching exercises that target the muscle groups being trained during your workout. Focus on stretches that elongate and activate the muscles while avoiding static stretches that may impede muscle readiness or cause too much damage for subsequent sets.


Practice controlled breathing and mindfulness techniques during stretching intervals to promote relaxation and mental focus. Emphasize deep diaphragmatic breathing to oxygenate the muscles and enhance relaxation responses.

Intensity and duration

Adjust the intensity and duration of stretching intervals based on individual fitness levels and training goals. Aim for brief stretching periods lasting 30 to 60 seconds between sets, focusing on quality over quantity to avoid overstretching or fatigue.

Gradual progression

Gradually increase the intensity and complexity of stretching exercises over time to promote ongoing improvements in flexibility and mobility. Incorporate a variety of stretching modalities, including static, dynamic, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching, to target different aspects of flexibility and muscle activation.

All in all, stretching between sets can be a valuable strategy for optimizing performance and maximizing gains during resistance training workouts. By incorporating first dynamic stretching exercises into rest intervals, individuals can enhance muscle recovery, improve flexibility, and elevate workout performance, all while investing little to no extra time. Consider that the practice of stretching between sets as an approach to fitness that promotes not only physical but also mental well-being, which just may be a very good idea for most people these days.


Glenn Koslowski

Glenn Koslowski is a well known coach that has worked with many world class athletes and celebrities when they need to peak for a sports event, movie or photo shoot. With over 15 years of experience in nutrition and training, he always brings his clients to their best shapes and highest athletic abilities in the shortest possible time.

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