Tip: Rest-Pause for Size & Strength

This training method not only works fast, it's also extremely satisfying if you like heavy weights. Check it out.

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.

  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:


  • 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.

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.

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