Alternating Rest-Pause Training

Alternating Rest-Pause Training
A new twist on a classic intensity-boosting technique.

Of all the Weider Principles made famous by the late, great Joe Weider, Rest-Pause is one of my favorites – a training technique with true staying power. Rest-pause is a method that involves stopping during the completion of a set, resting for a short period and then continuing on with the set. Its major advantage is that it allows for more total reps to be done with a given weight because it takes advantage of the muscles' ability to recovery rapidly.

In simple terms, it allows the muscles time to replenish phosphocreatine (PCr) – the same molecule that creatine supplements boost. (And yes, if you're currently not taking creatine, starting it with this program will help you lift more weight and realize better results.) With this shot of extra energy, the muscle can contract stronger, producing greater force and getting more reps. The greater the force your muscle can produce and the more reps you can perform, the greater the stimulus the muscles receive and the greater the gains in muscle size and strength that can be expected. It's that simple.

There are two common ways that rest-pause training is used. Bodybuilders typically use it by taking a set to failure, resting 10-15 seconds and continuing the set until reaching failure again. They may do this two to three times per set -- doing two or three rest-pauses, as you might say -- which allows for not only more reps to be completed with a given weight, but also to take the muscle far beyond muscle failure. This instigates chemical changes within muscle cells that result in muscle growth.

Rest-pause training can also be used to increase muscle strength. The concept here is not necessarily to get more total reps or reach a higher state of fatigue, but to optimize the force produced on each rep. To prioritize strength gains...

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