Rest-pause training breaks one heavy set into several short sets. You do a set, rest 15-30 seconds, then continue doing smaller sets until you effectively double the number of reps in the set or reach technical failure. You can use this method with a variety of exercises.

Here's what to do

  1. 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.
  2. 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; I find 85% to be the sweet spot for a mix of both.

Example if your 1 RM is 315 pounds:

Warm-Up

  • 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 6 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.

Here's Why It Works

If you lift a heavier weight for more reps you provide the stimulus for building strength and size. This is precisely what rest-pause training allows. You'll lift heavy enough to train high-threshold muscle fibers and create progressive overload to build size and strength.

Plus you'll have enough rest to partially recover adenosine triphosphate and phosphocreatine (ATP-PC ) energy systems used for immediate power. And you'll have enough rest to increase growth-inducing metabolic stress on the later sets.

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