Rest-pause is an intensity stretching program that’s been referenced for its strength and hypertrophy advantages.

It’s where you work on an exercise to technical failure. After your original set, you rest shortly. This should last for 15-30 seconds. After this period you’ll do another set till failure before having another short pause. You do this until you’ve finished a targeted amount of total reps.

The total reps you take depends on a variety of circumstances, but usually, it should be twice the number of reps you were capable to do through the first set.

Does It Work?

Yes, it does. The reason for this is that you can work for both tissue and power gains due to the fact that you’re capable to keep high motor unit recruitment. It also supports you to apply the identical high loads for all sets.

However, it works to a point. The study validates its effectiveness. However, there a lot of trainers that have overstated how great it operates, primarily as it relates to strength and size. Are the advantages of rest-pause are just a matter of fundamental lifting principles like intensity, volume, and effort.

Rest-Pause and Hypertrophy

An experiment made during 6 weeks compared strength, hypertrophy, and muscular endurance between rest-pause exercise and traditional workout. The results found said that all measures were even after the experiment. All, except the lower body endurance and lower body hypertrophy. Both of them were higher in the rest-pause group.

Both groups included both men and women that exercised 4 times a week with 2 days allocated to upper-body push exercises and 2 days dedicated to training back, biceps, and legs.

The rest-pause group lifted with 80% of 1-rep max to failure with rest-pause rules that involved 20-second rest intervals within sets until lifters reached 18 total reps.

The traditional group did each practice for 3 sets of 6 using 80% of 1-rep max. They paused 2 to 3 minutes within sets.

However, there were some problems that would certainly prefer the rest-pause group:

a. Intensity was balanced, but the effort was not.

Both groups used their 80% of 1-rep max. However, but the rest-pause group workout to failure while the traditional group didn’t due to the protocol.

The traditional group did 3 sets of 6 at the same load of 80% of 1-rep max.

Individual variations: Research consistently reveals that various people can crank out a diverse amount of reps even with the same 1-rep max.

Furthermore, if you acknowledge the next individual peculiarities, the members might have done an even greater number of reps:

Gender inequalities: Women can do more reps given the same 1-rep max. Any guy who’d exercised with a woman can surely attest to this.

Adaptation differentiation: The more resistance you have, the more reps you can perform before failure at a given 1-rep max percentage, even when using as high as an 80% load.

Acknowledging all this, there are lots of causes to think the traditional lifting group stopped short of, or pretty far from, failure. The experiment had another issue, too.

b. Progressive overload wasn’t met.

Only the rest-pause group used progressive overload. Since the rest-pause group was directed to exercise to failure till reaching 18 total reps, progressive overload was easily established into their program.

As the rest-pause group got stronger, their rules permitted them to implement progressive overload. They were capable to do the identical amount of reps with the same weight in fewer sets. They were also capable to set rep PR’s for their first several sets.

This was the opposite of the traditional lifting group. They had to perform the corresponding amount of reps practicing with the same weight for the same amount of sets for 6 weeks, regardless of whether they got stronger. The severe design of the experiment didn’t permit any progression.

If the traditional sets could be brought to failure and some form of progressive overload was applicable, the strength and size advantage would probably support traditional sets.

Studying at Rest-Pause From Different Perspective

Unfortunately, most of the research on rest-pause is defectively designed because the effort is almost never met. For example, one particular study showed rest-pause squat training had higher muscle activation, but the rest-pause group trained with a higher intensity.

Fortunately, there is a different study. This one doesn’t follow the exact rest-pause rules most trainers appoint, but it did match for the effort by giving both groups the instruction to train to failure.

Both groups performed 8 sessions of bench press exercise where 4 sets of 80% 1-rep max were practiced to failure. The traditional lifting group lifted conventionally while the rest-pause group racked the bar for 4 seconds after every rep.

Due to the fact that both groups went to failure, neural activation was comparable among groups, recording that effort matters a lot.

Strength improvements within groups were the same despite the rest-pause group performing about 32% more reps. This tells us that while rest-pause can guide to more volume, the extra volume doesn’t really improve strength.

This demonstrates why most powerlifters develop their plans around traditional sets instead of rest-pause.

What Rest-Pause Is and Isn’t

All things being even rest-pause is expected to be suboptimal to conventional training in maximizing strength and hypertrophy because the latter admits a higher volume with adequate rest.

Rest-pause only does great in studies when the scheme supports it and it does have some advantages in real-world utilization.