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The Truth About Rest-Pause Training

The Truth About Rest-Pause Training

Wait, What’s Rest-Pause Training?

Rest-pause is an depth extending way that is lengthy been praised for its power and hypertrophy advantages.

It’s the place you carry out an workout to technical failure. After your preliminary set, you pause in short. This “rest period” is usually 15-30 seconds. Then you can do every other set till failure sooner than taking every other temporary ruin. You do that till you will have finished a centered selection of general reps.

The general reps you select is dependent upon quite a few elements, however in most cases talking, it must be double the volume of reps you have been in a position to accomplish right through the primary preliminary set. So for instance, if I have been in a position to bench a weight for Eight reps within the first set, I would intention to amass Eight extra reps within the following units to hit the centered general of 16.

Here’s what that may appear to be:

  • Set 1: Eight reps to failure (Eight general reps finished)

  • 15 seconds relaxation

  • Set 2: four reps to failure (12 general reps finished)

  • 15 seconds relaxation

  • Set three: 2 reps to failure (14 general reps finished)

  • 15 seconds relaxation

  • Set four: 1 rep to failure (15 general reps finished)

  • 15 seconds relaxation

  • Set five: 1 rep to failure (16 general reps finished)

Does It Work?

Yes, it could actually paintings for each muscle and power positive factors as a result of you are able to take care of prime motor unit recruitment. It additionally permits you to use the similar prime quite a bit for all units, not like one thing like drop units the place you cut back the burden with each and every next set.

Anyone who is attempted rest-pause is aware of it really works… to some extent. The analysis confirms its efficacy, too, however numerous coaches have most probably exaggerated how neatly it really works, particularly because it pertains to power and dimension. Are the advantages of rest-pause extra from the rep scheme itself, or is it only a subject of fundamental lifting rules like depth, quantity, and energy?

I would argue it is extra of the latter, particularly whilst you examine it to bland outdated conventional lifting the place you do a suite, take a complete relaxation duration, after which do every other set.


Rest-Pause and Hypertrophy

A 6-week learn about evaluating power, hypertrophy, and muscular staying power between rest-pause coaching and standard coaching discovered all measures have been equivalent after the learn about, with the exception of decrease physique staying power and decrease physique hypertrophy, either one of that have been upper within the rest-pause staff (1).

If taken at face worth, this learn about displays you’ll get equivalent power however induce extra muscle enlargement and extra staying power advantages via switching from conventional units to rest-pause units. However, for those who glance a bit of nearer, you can understand you most likely cannot have your cake and consume it too.

Both teams (which incorporated each women and men) skilled four occasions per week with 2 days designated as upper-body push days and a couple of days dedicated to coaching again, biceps, and legs.

  • The rest-pause staff lifted with 80% of 1-rep max to failure with a rest-pause protocol that incorporated 20-second relaxation classes between units till lifters reached 18 general reps.

  • The conventional staff did each and every workout for three units of 6 the usage of 80% of 1-rep max. They rested 2 to a few mins between units.

This learn about must get numerous credit score as its design was once higher than maximum research. It used skilled people, managed for a similar 1-rep max, and made positive each teams did 18 general reps, however sadly there have been some problems that will clearly desire the rest-pause staff:

1 – Intensity was once matched, however effort wasn’t.

Both teams used their respective 80% of 1-rep max, however the rest-pause staff skilled to failure whilst the normal staff now not most effective did not teach to failure however could not have, given their protocol.

The conventional staff did three units of 6 on the identical load of 80% of 1-rep max. In normal, anyone the usage of 80% of 1-rep max load must have the ability to crank out a minimum of 7-Eight reps when taken to failure (6), however they have been most effective prompt to do 6 reps in line with set.

Furthermore, for those who believe the next private variations, the members may have simply performed an excellent larger quantity or reps:

  • Individual variations: Research constantly displays that other other people can crank out a distinct selection of reps even with the similar 1-rep max (2).

  • Adaptation variations: The extra staying power you could have, the extra reps you’ll entire sooner than failure at a given 1-rep max share, even if the usage of as prime as an 80% load (three).

  • Gender variations: Women can carry out extra reps given the similar 1-rep max (four). Any man who is skilled with a lady can simply testify to this. Some ladies are simply insane quantity queens.

Considering all this, there are many causes to suppose the normal lifting staff stopped wanting, or lovely some distance from, failure. The learn about had every other drawback, too.

2 – Progressive overload wasn’t matched.

The rest-pause staff used revolutionary overload, however now not the normal staff. Since the rest-pause staff was once prompt to coach to failure till attaining 18 general reps, revolutionary overload was once naturally constructed into their program.

Hypothetically talking, as they were given more potent, their weekly development for a given workout may just’ve appeared one thing like this:

Week 1

  • Set 1: 6 reps

  • Set 2: four reps

  • Set three: four reps

  • Set four: three reps

  • Set five: 1 rep

Week 2

  • Set 1: 6 reps

  • Set 2: five reps

  • Set three: four reps

  • Set four: 2 reps

  • Set five: 1 rep

Week three

  • Set 1: 7 reps

  • Set 2: five reps

  • Set three: three reps

  • Set four: three reps

As the rest-pause staff grew more potent, their protocol allowed them to use revolutionary overload. They have been in a position to do the similar selection of reps with the similar weight in fewer units. They have been additionally in a position to set rep PR’s for his or her first few units.

Contrast that with the normal lifting staff. They needed to entire the similar selection of reps the usage of the similar weight for a similar selection of units for six weeks, without reference to whether or not they were given more potent. The strict design of the learn about did not permit for any development.

Yes, the learn about concluded larger muscle enlargement and staying power within the decrease physique for rest-pause coaching, however I feel it could have performed out another way in actual lifestyles.

If the normal units might be taken to failure and a few type of revolutionary overload carried out, the power and dimension benefit would most probably desire conventional units, particularly bearing in mind how longer relaxation classes are higher for power and muscle enlargement (five).

On a facet word, I do not disagree with the muscular staying power benefit discovered within the rest-pause staff. Taking brief breaks whilst doing prime depth paintings is an effective way to urge staying power/paintings capability diversifications. This is an underappreciated good thing about rest-pause coaching. But so far as maximizing on power and dimension diversifications, rest-pause is most probably suboptimal.


Looking at Rest-Pause From Another Angle

The unhappy truth is, lots of the literature on rest-pause is poorly designed as a result of effort is nearly by no means matched. For instance, one particular learn about confirmed rest-pause squat coaching had upper muscle activation, however the rest-pause staff skilled with the next depth (7).

Fortunately, now we have every other learn about that tells us so much (Eight). This one does not resemble the precise rest-pause protocol maximum coaches prescribe, however it did fit for effort via making each teams teach to failure. Korak and collogues when put next the neural activation, power, and quantity between a rest-pause staff and a conventional lifting staff.

Both teams finished Eight classes of bench press coaching the place four units of 80% 1-rep max have been taken to failure. The conventional lifting staff lifted conventionally whilst the rest-pause staff racked the bar for four seconds after each rep. A metronome was once used to stay pace constant between teams.

Because each teams went to failure, neural activation was once identical between teams, appearing that effort issues so much in truthful learn about design.

Strength will increase between teams was once the similar in spite of the rest-pause staff appearing about 32% extra reps. This displays us that whilst rest-pause can result in extra quantity, the extra quantity does not in point of fact make stronger power.

Anecdotally, this explains why maximum powerlifters construct their systems round conventional units as a substitute of rest-pause. Adding intensity-extending tricks may now not make stronger power for the reason that considerable quantity/depth/effort is already in position.

What Rest-Pause Is and Isn’t

All issues being equivalent – the selection of units and proximity to failure – rest-pause may be suboptimal to standard coaching in maximizing power and hypertrophy for the reason that latter lets in extra general quantity with good enough (lengthy) relaxation.

Rest-pause most effective does neatly in analysis when design favors it, however it does have some deserves in actual international software. Christian Thibaudeau issues out that it will lend a hand anyone teach tougher as a result of it is extra interesting to positive people, particularly those that revel in heavy weights however want to do extra quantity paintings (nine).

Here’s how I like to recommend programming rest-pause:

  1. As a time saver. If you might be brief on time or need to get extra paintings performed in a shorter duration, rest-pause is a smart way.

  2. As a contemporary and novel stimulus. It’s a thrilling option to do extra quantity as a result of as nice as conventional units are, they are able to get dull.

Ultimately, rest-pause units are nice and also you must sprinkle them in, however they are now not higher than conventional units, particularly whilst you fit for effort and practice revolutionary overload.

Does Rest-pause Training Actually Work?

Rest-Pause Training, Prison Style


  1. Prestes, Jonato, et al. “Strength And Muscular Adaptations Following 6 Weeks Ofrest-pause Versus Traditional Multiple-Sets Resistance Training In Trained Subjects.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, four Apr. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28617715.

  2. Mitchell, Cameron J, et al. “Resistance Exercise Load Does Not Determine Training-Mediated Hypertrophic Gains in Young Men.” Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), American Physiological Society, 1 July 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/percent/articles/PMC3404827/.

  3. Richens, B, and D J Cleather. “The Relationship between the Number of Repetitions Performed at given Intensities Is Different in Endurance and Strength Trained Athletes.” Biology of Sport, Institute of Sport in Warsaw, June 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/percent/articles/PMC4042664/.

  4. “The Influence of Gender on Skeletal Muscle Endurance Capacity.” Taylor & Francis, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/108331905X68529?journalCode=yptr20.

  5. Schoenfeld, Brad J, et al. “Longer Interset Rest Periods Enhance Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26605807.

  6. Helms, Eric R, et al. “Application of the Repetitions in Reserve-Based Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale for Resistance Training.” Strength and Conditioning Journal, Strength and Conditioning Journal, Aug. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/percent/articles/PMC4961270/.

  7. Marshall, P W, et al. “Acute Neuromuscular and Fatigue Responses to therest-pause Method.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?time period=21940213.

  8. Marshall, P W, et al. “Acute Neuromuscular and Fatigue Responses to therest-pause Method.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?time period=21940213.

  9. Thibaudeau, Christian. “Accumulation Methods – Rest/Pause.” Thibarmy, 20 Mar. 2018, thibarmy.com/accumulation-methods-restpause/.

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