How Does Rest-Pause Failure Training Affect Gains?

We’ve all been in the place where we have to get get 10 reps in, get over confident and throw an extra 10 lbs on the bar, but then only get 5 reps. What do you do now? Do you take short breaks at a time, getting 2 more reps each try until you get to 10? Or do you just call it there and move on to the rest of your workout? It might actually depend on what your goals are.


Greg Nuckols from MASS reviewed an article on how rest-pause training affects muscle strength, hypertrophy, and endurance. The investigators found that rest-pause training didn’t produce any greater strength improvements than traditional training. However, if periodized properly, rest-pause training did produce an increase in muscle hypertrophy and endurance.


The takeaway is that if you are trying to hypertrophy as much as possible, grinding out those extra reps even one at a time might help you get big. However, be aware that this type of training produces a lot of muscle damage and could affect successive sets or training days. If you are trying to get strong and get your weights as heavy as possible, stop after you fail! Injuring the muscle further and wasting energy on those last reps will negatively affect your next set and next training day, reducing the quality of training that you can get in.


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