Rest-Pause Training—Why It Works
A snap shot of all of the various strong, muscular men that have trained with the rest-pause method would serve as mute bible testifying to the effectiveness of this method for building size and strength.
Furthermore, in the last few years, a number of laboratory studies have confirmed the effectiveness of rest-pause training.
Principle of Individual Differences
Remember the Principle of Individual Differences? Each of us has differences that eventually dictate how many reps and sets we can perform, how often we can train, and how much weight we should be using while training.
Rest-pause training is custom tailored to individual differences.
Dr. Squat Speaks
In an excellent article titled “Finding the Ideal Training Split,” my mentor Fred Hatfield, Ph.D., came up with numerous variables pertaining to recovery for training splits.
Some of these variables included tolerance to pain, level of “psych,” and amount of rest between workouts. Hatfield also determined that the “slow gainer” and the “fast gainer” have different recovery periods.
A “slow gainer” typically can complete 15–20 reps at 80% of his one-rep max. A “fast gainer” can complete only 4–6 reps at 80% of his one-rep max. The athlete should perform this “test” on several muscle groups, as each muscle group has a different tolerance to exercise.
This table extrapolated from Hatfield’s article, will help you determine which type of gainer you are.
What Type of Gainer Are You?
|Reps Performed with 80% Max||Standard Deviation from Mean||Tolerance Level||Ability to Make Gains|
|4 or less||–3||Very, very low||Fast Gainer (20%–25% of total population)|
|10–13||Mean||Average||Average Gainer (50–60% of total population)|
|13–17||+1||High||Slow Gainer (20–25% of total population)|
|21 or more||+3||Very, very high|
Once you have determined whether you are primarily fast twitch, slow twitch or somewhere in between, you then can determine your optimal reps, sets, weight and training frequency.
Fast Gainer/Slow Gainer Rep Ranges
To completely develop the physique you’re looking for, a holistic approach to training must be taken. In other words, volume, tempo, reps, and sets must be varied. For the most part, fast gainers will experience their best gains with lower reps and slow gainers with higher reps.
The five sets of five repetition strength program with 85 percent of a lifters one-rep max would be extremely difficult for a fast gainer, yet impossible for some. For a slow gainer this would be moderate intensity and provide very little adaptive overload.
A rest-pause set on the bench press for a true fast gainer with 85% of his one-repetition max could look something like this: 85% x 3 reps rest 30 seconds 85% x 1 rep rest 30 seconds 85% x 1 rep. Bottom line is the fast gainer performed 5 repetitions over 3 mini sets, that’s the most he can. Since fast gainers make their greatest gains with low reps he will get bigger and stronger.
The true slow gainer, with same weight over three mini sets with identical rest intervals, may have performed a sequence that went 13 reps, 7 reps and 5 reps. That’s for a total of 25 reps, since that is maximum intensity and the slow gainer thrives on high reps, he will get bigger and stronger.
Unlike traditional single-repetition rest-pauses that old-time strength athletes swear by, open ended rest-pause (i.e. doing as many reps as possible each mini set) training allows the athlete to adapt the weight to his individual capabilities. A primarily slow-twitch lifter will get more reps, a fast-twitch lifter will get fewer reps. Both experience an adaptive overload since maximal intensity is tailored to their individual differences.
Bottom line is both the slow gainer and fast gainer are performing their sets with an all-out effort; maximum intensity tailored to individual genetic make-up is synergy for great results.
Here is an example of a rest-paused bench press workout.
Rest-Pause Bench Press workout:
*Set 1-85% AMAP, rest 20-30 seconds 85% AMAP, rest 20-30 seconds 85% AMAP
*Rest 2-5 Minutes
*Set 2-75% AMAP, rest 20-30 seconds 75% AMAP, rest 20-30 seconds 80% AMAP
Bottom line is because of the rest-pause method, preppy polos, priest collars and cashmere suits fit tighter. Not to mention the fact that variations of this type of training have aided in the acquisition of Sandows and raw powerlifting world records.
The final icing on the cake is rest-pause training has given hope to those that feel hopeless. Hard gainers thrive on this method; easy gainers maximize strength and muscle mass. That’s why the Jailhouse Strong Pig Iron Program is based off the rest-pause method.
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