Rest/Pause to Grow

We all know that frustrating feeling of getting stuck with making strength and size gains. However, I have some good news for you. There is a plateau-busting principle that has been practised for years by some of the most elite athletes, which will help you achieve incredible gains. The technique is called the “REST/PAUSE” training system. It consists of one large set that is made up of smaller sets with a short amount of rest in between. It allows you to use your muscles’ ability to recover quickly in order to complete more repetitions with a given resistance. The great advantage of this system is the endless varieties you can perform in order to keep your muscles progressing. It can be used to increase strength using different resistances and a variety of rep schemes, which will allow you to trigger a variety of muscle fibre types.

Let’s say you want to increase your 8RM (this stands for ‘rep maximum’ and is the specific resistance that you are able complete a set number of repetitions with). You would use your current 8RM weight to complete four reps, rest 15 seconds, complete another four reps, rest 15 seconds and complete a final set of four reps or until failure. Now you have just completed a total of 12 repetitions with your 8RM weight.  The short rest periods allow your muscles to replenish their creatine, and enables you to complete more repetitions than if you had done a straight set with the given resistance.

Another variety of this system would be to complete seven to eight reps with your 8RM, then rest 15-20 seconds, complete another rep, rest 15-20 seconds and then complete another single repetition. By now, you should be starting to understand the pattern and how this system can have so many varieties. Since the human body is an amazing machine that is so quick to adapt, make sure to use varieties of this system to keep your muscles guessing. You can modify rep schemes, resistances and even rest periods within the rest-pause sets. Nothing is written in stone.

Keep in mind that the rest/pause training system can be used not only for compound exercises such as the bench press and the squat but also isolation exercises such as bicep curls and triceps extensions. Performing isolation exercises creates sensational muscular pumps due to those extra reps you are able to squeeze in.

TRADITIONAL LIFTING v REST/PAUSE PRINCIPLE:  

1. Practising only the traditional lifting systems such as four sets of eight reps will limit your gains.

2. The rest/pause training system is designed to use your muscles’ ability to recover rapidly, and helps you break plateaus – allowing for both strength and size gains.

3. Alternating traditional lifting methods with the rest/pause training system is a great way to track your progress in terms of strength gains.

THE REST/PAUSE TRAINING SYSTEM:

DAY 1 – CHEST & TRAPS

  • Barbell Reverse Grip Incline Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Flat Bench Flye
  • Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
  • Barbell Front Shrugs
  • Dumbbell Side Shrugs

DAY 2 – QUADS, HAMS & CALF MUSCLES

  • Barbell Front Squats
  • Hack Squats
  • Leg Extensions
  • Barbell Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
  • Seated Leg Curls
  • Lying Leg curls
  • Standing Calf Raise Machine
  • Seated Calf Raise Machine

DAY 3 – REST

DAY 4 – BACK & SHOULDERS

  • Dumbbell Flat Bench Pullovers
  • Wide Grip Lat Pull Downs
  • T-bar Rows
  • Barbell Front Raises
  • Dumbbell Bent-Over Side Raises
  • Smith Machine Shoulder Press

DAY 5 – BICEPS & TRICEPS

  • Straight Bar Curls (Close Grip)
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curls
  • High Pulley Curls
  • Close Grip Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
  • Single-arm Dumbbell Overhead Extensions
  • Flat Bench Dips

DAY 6 – ABS & OBLIQUES 

  • Flat Bench Half Sit-ups (resistance band for added resistance, optional)
  • Crunch Machine
  • Kneeling Rope Crunch
  • Side Planks (dynamic)
  • Dumbbell Side Bends

DAY 7 – REST

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