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Rest pause training for strength and hypertrophy

Rest pause training for strength and hypertrophy

Over the years I have tried many different programs. Quite often just implementing my own programs from intuition and education. One of my favorites for hypertrophy has been a method I designed, based on the rest-pause training method.


Henneman’s size principle

Rest pause training works by attempting to recruit 100% of the muscle fibres within a given set.

The Henmenns size principle states that the smallest fibres and motor units will be recruited before larger ones. So slow twitch fibres and low threshold motor units are recruited before fast twitch and high threshold motor units.


Rest pause training method

The idea here is to fatigue the muscle yet not allow it time to recover fully. Instead you continue to push past fatigue and further recruit more muscle fibres and motor units.

To do this you chose a goal rep range of say 10.

In this case you would chose a weight you could complete about 6 reps with, a 6RM.

You should fatigue at 6 reps, pause and rest for a set determined time, and then continue on trying to get an extra rep or two, pause and rest, extra reps….until all reps are complete.

So it may look something like this…


  • Bench press with 60kg (6RM)
  • Rep goal 12reps
  • 6 reps
  • Rest 15sec
  • 2 reps
  • Rest 15sec
  • 2 reps
  • Rest
  • 2 reps


Sets, reps and rest….how much?

Above is a very basic idea of the rest pause training method.

In order to make this specific to your needs you need to decide what your goals are.  Once you have your goals then simply work within the defined rep and load range according you your goal.

For strength you will have a bigger load and smaller goal set and sub sets.


For example…

Strength: goal of 8reps with a 3RM and sub sets of singles.

Hypertrophy: goal of 12 reps with a 8RM and subsets of 2-3reps.

Endurance: goal of 30 reps with a 12-15RM and subsets of 8-10.


Who is this for?

Obviously this is very demanding. You’re working to failure so form does start to become compromised. After the session you will experience DOMS.

All of these are obviously not for the beginner client.

Some things that I ensure my clients have or are capable of…

  • Good eccentric control
  • Ability to work to failure whilst maintaining control
  • Ability to remain applying force whilst at the point of fatigue.
    • Think of the beginner client that simply fails right away and the more advanced client that can continue to try pushing through the sticking point.
  • Strict form of given exercise
  • Experienced DOMS plenty of times and does not mind it
  • Ability to complete push ups, pull ups, and body weight squats and lunges.


Words by Adrian Betts.

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