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Unrested Development Training Program

Less rest = more muscle!

Unrested Development Training Program

Most of you realize that to keep making constant gains and not stagnate, it's important to frequently change up your training variables, such as the amount of weight used, the number of reps completed per set, and the exercises used.

Yet many people forget about changing up the rest period they take between sets and stick with the typical 2-3 minutes of rest between sets week after week, month after month, year after year.

I will be the first to admit that taking longer rest periods allows your muscles to recover better, which allows you to complete more reps on successive sets.

And the more reps you can do with a given weight the stronger you become and the more muscle growth you can stimulate. In fact, one study comparing a 2.5-minute rest period versus a 1-minute rest period between sets reported that novice lifters using the 2.5 minute rest period between sets for 10 weeks increased their biceps size by 12% while the group resting just 1 minute had only a 5% increase. However, novice lifters' muscles respond much differently to training than those with consistent training experience. So this study may hold water for those of you who are newbies in the gym, but maybe not the rest of you with more training under your belt.

While being more fully recovered between sets may be important for muscle strength gains, when it comes to muscle growth other factors come into play such as the biochemical changes in muscle that occur from being fatigued.

This can lead to higher growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) levels, which can encourage better gains in muscle growth. A recent study in trained male lifters from Brazilian researchers had one group train for eight weeks using the 8-10 rep range with a 2-minute rest period between sets. The other group started week 1 using a two-minute rest period but reduced rest by 15 seconds each successive week until they were down to 30 seconds of rest between sets in the eight week. They found that the guys dropping their rest time each week increased their arm size by 21% and their leg size by 28% while the group keeping rest consistent at 2 minutes between sets only increased arm size by 14% and leg size by 19%. In fact, I covered this in one of my Training Research Updates, Best Rest Periods for Growth .

Progressively decreasing rest periods in a linear fashion over time can help to further improve the gains you can make in muscle growth.

This is mainly due to the fact that as rest periods decrease chemical stress increases. That chemical stress signals biochemical pathways that signal muscle growth, such as higher IGF-I production , especially within muscle cells. 

The gradual reduction in rest periods between sets also trains the muscle to recover quicker between sets.

This trains the metabolic pathways to recover faster and you end up getting stronger and increasing muscle endurance. That ability to do more work in less time also instigates changes in the muscle that encourage muscle growth. And it will also encourage greater fat burning. So as a fringe benefit, you get leaner as you get bigger.

And that is precisely what my Unrested Development program does.

You start the program resting 2 minutes between sets. And each week after that you shave off 15 seconds of rest time, until you are down to just 30 seconds of rest between sets in weeks seven and eight. This leads to more muscle, more muscle endurance and strength, as well as less fat. And the workouts take less time as you go.

In addition to the variety you get from changing the rest periods up each week, this program also delivers variety in every workout.

Each exercise you do for a muscle group uses a different rep range. You will start with lower rep ranges and move towards higher rep ranges for the later exercises

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