Tip: A Top Training Method for Size and Strength

So you want to be big AND strong? Well, it's hard to beat this training method. Take a look.

Concurrent Gains

Rest-pause training works well when trying to build size and strength concurrently:

  • On the final set of an exercise, leave one or two reps in the tank.
  • Rest only 15-30 seconds to replenish ATP-CPR stores.
  • Continue doing small sets with 15-30 second breaks until you double the number of reps or reach technical failure.

The result? You lift a heavier weight for more reps, created a greater overall training response. With rest-pause training you'll lift heavy enough to train high-threshold muscle fibers and create progressive overload to build size and strength.

Here's What To Do

  1. Pick your training focus for the day. Let's say you have an upper-body workout and the bench press is your go-to lift.
  2. Warm up by doing 3 sets, ramping up in weight with 3-5 reps per set to fire up your central nervous system. Then move to the rest-pause set.
  3. Your rest-pause set will use about 85% of your one-rep max, or a weight you can do for 5-7 reps, depending on your strength levels and muscle fiber composition. Go a little heavier if you're purely focused on strength rather than size gains. About 85% is the sweet spot for a mix of both.

Example if your 1RM is 315 pounds:


  • 65% x 5 = 205 pounds
  • 70% x 5 = 220 pounds
  • 80% x 3 = 250-255 pounds
  • 85% = 270 pounds

Rest-Pause Set

270 pounds x 5 reps, rest 15-30 seconds, then...

  • Do 1-3 reps, rest 15-30 seconds.
  • Do 1-2 reps, rest 15-30 seconds.
  • Do 1-2 reps or as many reps as needed until you double the rep goal.

Use a spotter and stop sets earlier if your rep range is compromised or you reach technical failure. Once your rest-pause exercise is complete, you can rest easy knowing you've creating a stimulus for progressive overload. Maximize whatever time you have left in the gym to hit the other components of your workout.

Eric Bach is a highly sought-after strength and conditioning coach, located in Colorado. Eric specializes in helping athletes and online clients achieve optimal performance in the gym and on the playing field. Follow Eric Bach on Facebook