Masters Method: Rest-Pause Workouts
The rest-pause method has been employed over the years by many people but none so successfully as Mike Mentzer. Amazingly he was once quoted as saying he used the rest-pause technique to increase his weight totals by 66% on each exercise.
Can you imagine increasing your weight total on one exercise by that much let alone all of them?
Mike’s physique spoke for itself. While many people questioned his methods of training, there is certain amount of logic behind it that now matches better with science. At that time his training went against the grain of standard high volume training. But what a lot of people didn’t realize was that he was doing high volume work, but just at very intense low reps.
The rest-pause workout allows you to work multiple types of muscle fibers at once which is what generates such quick and powerful growth in the muscles.
How to Rest-Pause
This is a very tough technique to use. Mentally you have to understand how much you can give and then give that much over and over in a session.
We will use the standard bench press as an example exercise. Mike used a lot of machine and smith machine options as well. After warming up with a few light and medium weight sets you pick a weight that is close to your single rep maximum. For example if you could bench 250 then you might pick 225. Start with a single rep. Then rack the weight and do a slow count to 10. Press a second rep and rack the weight again. Continue until you have done 5 reps total.
Then next time you have chest day do the same workout but increase your weight to 230 for the 5 reps (if not 235).
Similarities to Other Programs
Ideally this is a much more intense style of heavy/light or doing drop sets after heavy sets. You are adding an endurance factor by taking a short rest and then challenging your muscles again. Comparatively this is just the most efficient and fastest way to achieve that goal. However it is very tough physically and mentally on your body.
Use with Care
This style of training should be eased into. For example if you are doing chest, shoulders, and triceps on a day maybe just try rest-pause training for only you bench press. Do a few lighter sets of flyes and then move on to shoulders and triceps for your normal workout. Gauge how sore or tired you are from the workout and decide how many more rest-pause exercises you can swamp out in a single session. But, don’t do more than 1 rest-pause exercise per body part. Also try and only do compound exercises to start. Doing very heavy singles on certain joints over a wide range of motion can be dangerous.