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Training Talk: The Rest Pause -- Achieve Real Muscle Mass Gains with this Repetition Variation

Whether it is a professional bodybuilder, aspiring physique competition participant or a mom simply looking tone up, building lean muscle mass quickly and effectively through resistance training has long remained a difficult task. While there is no such thing as a “Holy Grail” approach that will work for everybody, there does exist a wide array of training approaches that studies have proven to be effective in building up muscle mass. One such training approach that can help is the Rest Pause.

Hip thrust

While the name might give the impression of being fairly easy to do, I can assure you that it will test your mental toughness. In a nutshell, rest pause training means that an individual will lift until the point of failure, rest for 10-20 seconds, and pick it up again until reaching failure, repeating this until no more repetitions can be done without having to resort to compensating for the loss of strength resulting from fatigue.

For example, one can do one, two or three sets of hip thrusts using the regular 6-12 repetitions for each set. On the last set of hip thrusts, this person will employ the Rest Pause, in which he/she will be using the approximate weight that can be lifted up to 10 repetitions, aka 10 repetition max or 10 RM. In this Rest Pause set, the lifter will perform the mini sets with 10-20 second rest periods until they cannot satisfactorily complete more than one repetition. The numbers of repetitions may look something like this: 10-7-5-3-2-1. If it takes substantially more mini sets, it would be advised that you increase the amount of weight used the next time Rest Pause is used.

The great thing about the Rest Pause is that it can be manipulated to the goals you are trying to achieve. While this approach is primarily meant to achieve muscle mass growth (aka hypertrophy), it can also be effective in improving strength and muscle endurance. For instance, instead of using weight for 10 RM, one that is looking to achieve hypertrophy and strength can use weight for a 5 RM, and the individual looking to increase hypertrophy and improve upon muscle endurance can use 15 RM weight.


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