Exclusive Chest Shockers: We Expose The Best-Kept Secrets From The Experts

How Rest-Pause Finally Got Its Due

Why do it:

The whole point of performing rest-pauses is to do more reps than you’d normally be able to with a given weight in a given set. For example, say your six-rep max (6RM) on the bench press is 250 pounds. You can do more than six reps in a set by doing 2-3 reps, resting for a short period, doing 2-3 more and repeating this until you’ve reached a desired number of reps (10, 20 or even more). That’s one rest-pause set. The benefit of this technique is obvious: to perform more work (albeit over a slightly longer period) and thus overload the muscles in an attempt to stimulate more growth than can be achieved by straight sets alone.

What to do:

On either flat-bench or incline dumbbell presses, choose a weight that’s approximately your 5-6RM. Do two reps at a time, resting 15-20 seconds between each pair, and go as high as 40 total reps.

Due to the immense intensity and volume of work this entails, don’t perform more than one rest-pause set per exercise.

Reps Gone Crazy! Why Sets Of 10 Are SO ’90s

Why do it:

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut by working in the same rep range week after week, month after month and dare we say year after year. Most common are individuals who are married to sets of 6-10 reps. If that’s your situation, take a brief hiatus by dropping the weight and using higher reps, which will help bust through any plateau you find yourself in. “While I’m a proponent of low-volume training, I do think it’s important to take a couple of weeks every few months and do high reps around 20 reps per set,” says IFBB pro body-builder Mark Dugdale.

“Often, we fail [in a given set] due to a lack of muscle endurance rather than actual muscle failure. Building up this endurance with a couple of weeks of high reps helps overcome this problem.”

What to do: 

For the next two weeks, don’t worry about changing the exercises you do, or even the total number of sets per chest workout. Perform 3-4 sets of each exercise with no fewer than 20 reps. If you underestimate the amount of weight you should use, no problem do 25-30 reps (or more) for that set and add some resistance in the next.

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