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Image by Jesper Aggergaard

Lift… Rest… Lift… Rest… GROW?? (Rest Pause Training)

Rest Pause training is quickly becoming one of my favorite methods for muscle hypertrophy.  The beauty of rest pausing is that it will allow you to lift a weight for more reps in a given set then you could typically lift before you hit failure. Why is this important? Well reaching muscle failure ensures that you are breaking down a large number of muscle fibers which will lead to muscle growth and repair.


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Ok so now that I’ve peaked your interest ill explain how to perform these brutal workouts. First off there are many ways to program rest pause intervals only limited by your imagination however ill start with explaining my favourite 2.  The first rest pause interval that I enjoy programming has a set rep range with 1 – 2 added failure sets on top:

A1  – Flat DB Bench Press   Sets – 4   Reps – 10-12RP2   Tempo – 4010    Rest – 90s

How this set works the trainee is to pick a weight where they will fail between 10-12 reps. Upon failure they are to rest for 15seconds and perform a subsequent set to failure, rest for another 15 seconds and perform 1 last set to failure. The resulting reps may look similar to this 11+4+2. Meaning that on their first pass they achieved 11 reps (between 10-12), after resting were able to get another 4 reps, and then after resting again were able to squeeze out another 2. This method can also be programmed as RP1 meaning only one 15 second rest set to failure is performed after the given rep range.

The second way to program a rest pause interval is by using a person’s rep max and lifting it for more reps then they are able to perform. For example:

A1  – Flat DB Bench Press  Sets – 4  Reps – 5RM RP10  Tempo – 4010    Rest – 90s

In this example we have used the same exercise as before however our reps have changed significantly. This trainee is to choose a weight at which is their 5 rep max (they should not be able to lift this weight for any more than 5 reps) upon completing 5 hard reps they are to break for 15-20seconds and continue to lift the weight until they reach 10 reps. This persons reps may look like 5 + 2 + 1 + 1 +1, as they fatigue the amount of reps they will be able to lift to failure will decrease drastically.

Those are 2 examples of how to use the rest pause method in your training. I encourage you to experiment with this method and develop different ways of using this type of training to further your training. Rest Pause will allow you to use heavier loads for more reps then you are able to use them for with straight sets allowing for increased strength and size gains.


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