Rest Pause Training: Accelerate Strength Gains

Rest Pause Training

Rest pause training has been around for a long time, but it seems to be getting a lot of attention recently. It sounds like a good time to talk about it a little.

There are a multitude of training programs that work tremendously well for increasing size and strength. Rest pause training is just another one, but it has plenty of merit to it. Sometimes, you hit that plateau and you have to step outside of the box to break through that stagnant period. Sometimes, unlearning what you previously learned can let you reap the rewards that others have seen.

The purpose of rest pause training is to allow you to use maximum loads on every rep of every set. Sounds too good to be true? It is not. Rest pause training is not for the faint of heart and it takes a mental toughness and hard work. Of course, if we are not putting in the hard work, we are not getting the great benefits either. Nothing in life worth having comes easy. Weight training is a great example. Rest pause training is an even better example. With rest pause training, you take very short (10-15 seconds) breaks in between each rep of your exercise – not each set. This is something that you really need to wrap your head around a little.

Let’s Talk About the Bench Press

Let’s think about the classic bench press. If you do a set of five reps with 300 lbs., how much better would it be to get five rest pause reps with 350 lbs.? Using the heavier weights alone will shock your body into getting stronger and in turn adding on some muscle, but you have just done the same number of reps, but with 50 lbs. more with each rep. The trick is to take that 10-15 seconds in between reps. This is different than a powerlifting program where lifters do sets with low reps and long breaks in between sets.

Here is what legendary bodybuilder Mike Mentzer says about rest pause training, “Doing four reps, with the 10-second rest-pause, I increased every single exercise at least 20 lbs. per workout until I finally had improved 66% on each one. My size of course increased also.”

Let’s look at another classic weight training exercise, and one of my favorites, the squat (read about our killer quad workout). If you normally do five single reps with 315 lbs. with one minute breaks, build up to doing 6 rest pause reps, then 7, then all the way up to 10. After you have accomplished 10 rest pause reps, decrease the rest period to 45 seconds, then 30 seconds. Keep knocking down the rest periods until you get to a 10 second rest. Once you do that, increase the weight by 10 lbs. and start the program again. Just think of the gains that you will get in both size and strength.

If I can offer up one more tip, use the same weight for each rest pause set. Having to decrease weight is horrible for the psyche. If you are defeated mentally, you just lost half the battle.

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