Rest Pause Training

Conventionally, when relative heavy weights are used in strength training ,the repetitions are low and the rest is long. Using the rest-pause method is a highly efficient way to add volume to a workout while keeping the relative weight high. It can allow a trainee to achieve nearly twice as many repetitions in a training session with weights above 75% of their maximum. Choose a weight close to your 5-10 repetition maximum and do 25-33% of the repetitions you think you could do. Next, rest for 10-30 seconds and do another set for the same amount of repetitions. Repeat this until your repetitions drop to 1 then stop. You should never reach technical failure with this method as heavy weights are being used. This is not like pump training where you reps are done past failure with form dropping off, such as cheat reps.

Here is an example rest-pause method workout:

Clean grip deadlift 1 rep maximum: 400 lb clean grip deadlift 6 rep maximum: 315 lb (78.8% of max)

A: Clean Grip Deadlift

Set 1: 315 x 3 10 seconds rest

Set 2: 315 x 2 15 seconds rest

Set 3: 315 x 2 20 seconds rest

Set 4: 315 x 2 20 seconds rest

Set 5: 315 x 2 20 seconds rest

Set 6: 315 x 2 20 seconds rest

Set 7: 315 x 2 30 seconds rest

Set 8: 315 x 1

Done. Move to B and C exercises.


This totals 16 reps with 315 pounds. Typically, if this trainee had done 4-6 reps in their first set, then they would not have been able to achieve 16 reps with proficient deadlift form.

This type of training can be exhausting as heavy weight is being lifted many times in a very short period uses a lot of energy. You also have to be careful with multi-jointed exercises such as the deadlift and squat to not overwork the lower back as this may affect later sets and workouts as well. With high repetition training, trainees will feel a pump as the lactic acid builds up in the muscle. A similar but different effect happens during rest-pause training. You will feel a large pump in the major muscles you use during the exercise, but even better a large amount of tension is felt along the muscle last for hours after the workout. This is due to the number of fast-twitch muscles fibers activated and fatigued during training. Use rest-pause training for no more than 3 weeks at a time for the lower or upper body. Let us know how it works for you.

400 lb Clean grip deadlift 6 rep maximum: 315 lb (78.8% of max)

A: Clean Grip Deadlift

Set 1: 315 x 3 10 seconds rest

Set 2: 315 x 2 15 seconds rest

Set 3: 315 x 2 20 seconds rest

Set 4: 315 x 2 20 seconds rest

Set 5: 315 x 2 20 seconds rest

Set 6: 315 x 2 20 seconds rest

Set 7: 315 x 2 30 seconds rest

Set 8: 315 x 1

Done. Move to B and C exercises.


This totals 16 reps with 315 pounds. Typically, if this trainee had done 4-6 reps in their first set, then they would not have been able to achieve 16 reps with proficient deadlift form.


This type of training can be exhausting as heavy weight is being lifted many times in a very short period uses a lot of energy. You also have to be careful with multi-jointed exercises such as the deadlift and squat to not overwork the lower back as this may affect later sets and workouts as well. With high repetition training, trainees will feel a pump as the lactic acid builds up in the muscle. A similar but different effect happens during rest-pause training. You will feel a large pump in the major muscles you use during the exercise, but even better a large amount of tension is felt along the muscle last for hours after the workout. This is due to the number of fast-twitch muscles fibers activated and fatigued during training. Use rest-pause training for no more than 3 weeks at a time for the lower or upper body. Let us know how it works for you.

-Athletist