I can’t speak for everyone else, but as someone who’s general style of training is preferred with a traditional bodybuilding structure around splitting muscle groups to one major, with one or two smaller muscle groups per session it can sometimes be difficult to find ways to add further intensity to training and increasing my strength through certain plateaus I sometimes find myself in. This is usually because from an enjoyment stand point, I prefer high volume weight training. Which I know, if I want to maximise my gains, I can’t do week in week out, and the rest-pause technique is a good tool to help!
Every four to six weeks (as per the LDN Muscle guides) I switch up the intensity and throw in a few lower rep range sessions, so, looking at 4-8 reps per set, increasing the overall weight I lift, with longer rest between, up my calories in hope to add some further mass through the period and increase my strength in one go.
Recently though, I have been introducing the “Rest-Pause” training method on my lower rep hypertrophy sessions, which has given me a great opportunity to add extra intensity to my lower rep sets, as well as a different way to stimulate growth and push through any mental or physical barriers I have around increasing the weight I lift each session periodically.
So, what is “Rest-Pause”? for those of you that are not familiar with this method, what we are basically doing, is setting ourselves a rep target (say 8-10), increasing the weight slightly so that you will hit failure earlier (say at 5-7 within the range), taking a short break of around 5-30 seconds, then pushing through and completing the rest of the set after the small break.
Let’s use my standard go to example of bench press here, and say, my 10 rep max weight would be 90kg, using a 2-3 second eccentric movement. To set this up, I would probably look to load the bench with 100kg, knowing I am likely to hit failure earlier than the 10 rep target. From here, I would set myself up on the bench and mentally still look to target 10 reps. I then start my set (ensuring I have a spotter) and hit as many reps until my form takes a hit or I literally can’t press any longer, sit up, take a good few heavy breaths over a period of 5-30 second and finish the set or work to failure again, if your still not done with you set, you can repeat. But, I usually will do no more than two “Rest-Pauses” per set. I then take whatever rest I’m working to (if it is a heavier week, 60-90 seconds) and would complete 4-5 set of the exercise, usually only completing a “Rest-Pause” on the last two sets.
I can only usually hit another 2-3 reps after a pause, so please bear that in mind when completing your set, if you need another crack at the whip and require a second rest pause, you will more likely be failing at 2 reps thereafter. Each rep after a rest, will feel horrific and it will take some mental fortitude to push through, but, remember what you’re there for, and push through that mental barrier. With it, you’ll have improved pump, a better workout over all and contributes to some serious “DOMS for days”.
The main reason I like this for hypertrophy is I feel this really hits the muscle fibres deeper and stops you just going through the motions of finishing a set. It forces you to increase the weight you’re lifting and helps with the ever important mind muscle connection.
Things to consider:
– I only perform this on bigger exercises, such as bench press, squat, shoulder press etc
– I only incorporate this with the first few exercises of a body part, ensuring I warm up on this exercise correctly first
– Choose a weight carefully and make sure you have a spot with the big lifts!
– Maybe look to work in every 3-4 weeks
– Keep your form!!
For further brutal and varied workout protocols check out the LDNM Individual Muscle Group Workouts here.