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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.