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There is a simple way to build more muscle in less time while performing fewer total sets. Here’s the good news: There is such a method to expedite muscle hypertrophy by executing just a few sets in a minimal amount of time. The downside is that the intensity and effort required to make this tried-and-true method so effective is extraordinary.
Rest Pause Method To Build More Muscle In Less Time
The rest-pause method became widely known and used by bodybuilders in the 1990s thanks to the explosion of print and online muscle magazines. Professional, amateur and recreational bodybuilders alike used what was originally known as Weider’s rest-pause training principle.
Originally the rest-pause training principle was used to take a muscle group beyond the point of exhaustion for greater stimulus and growth of muscle tissue.
The principle has evolved a bit and today it is simply known as the rest-pause method. While the general purpose of performing sets of exercise using the rest-pause method is the same, some simple modifications to the original principle can result in building greater amounts of muscle mass in less time with few sets.
Build More Muscle In Less Time
One of the primary reasons the rest-pause method is so effective at building muscle mass and expediting the rate of hypertrophy is that it allows you to create more time under tension for a specific muscle group. Increasing time under tension, or TUT, is known to be one of the best ways to stimulate greater gains in muscle mass and build more muscle in less time.
It simply involves maintaining continuous tension, whether it is through muscle contraction or stretching under a load, for an extended period of time, preferable 45 seconds or longer.
A typical set of 12 repetitions may only take 30 seconds or less to execute, depending upon your pace and the range of motion. To get the most of the set and stimulate more muscle growth, it is suggested that you slow down the repetitions, especially on the negative phase, so that the muscle fibers are exposed to greater stress and stimulus.
The downfall of slowing down the pace of the repetitions is that fatigue often sets in before a full set can be completed, especially toward the end of a workout. This results in less total time under tension and less stimulus for maximal muscle growth.
This is where the rest-pause method does its magic. It allows you increase time under tension before fully fatiguing the muscle group you are stressing. You are able to maintain sufficient tension on a muscle group for a minute or longer so that adequate stress is placed on the muscle fibers for greater, faster muscle growth and build more muscle in less time.
This is able to happen by taking very small rests during the execution of your set, allowing you to perform more total repetitions and increasing your muscles’ time under tension.
The rest-pause method is executed by choosing a weight for a given exercise that you would typically perform for 12 challenging reps. Instead of performing the full 12 repetitions in a single set, you perform 8-10 repetitions maintaining continuous tension, rest for 10 seconds, perform another 4-6 reps, rest another 10 seconds then perform a final 3-5 reps.
The 10 second rest is not long enough to allow for the muscle to fully recover but it is just long enough to allow you to perform more repetitions than you would be able to otherwise. Ideally, you should perform two to three sets using the rest-pause method.
In the example above, you would perform 15-21 repetitions or more with a weight that you would normally do for 12. The total time under tension would be closer to one minute rather than 30 seconds, which makes a big difference when it comes to creating time under tension for muscle building.
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Less Time To Build More Muscle
Despite the fact that you are performing more repetitions than you normally would, it takes significantly less time to create greater stimulus. Instead of performing three, four or even five sets of a given exercise with lots of rest between each set, the res-pause method is best employed using three or fewer total sets with short rest periods between each working set.
By performing fewer total sets, it requires far less time to complete a total workout for muscle building than if you were going to perform 12 to 15 sets for a muscle group. Because you are providing such profound stimulus to the muscle fibers using the rest-pause method, you have to devote far less time to performing set after set of grueling exercises.
It would not be uncommon for you to fully exhaust a muscle group in half the amount of time it would normally take. An hour long workout may only take a half hour to stimulate rapid muscle growth. Employing the rest-pause method frees you up to focus on recovery, nutrition or greater workout frequency if appropriate.
The rest-pause method is so exquisitely effective at providing appropriate amounts of stress, stimulus and time under tension to a muscle group that less volume is needed for hypertrophy than by using other traditional muscle building methods.
When performed properly, the rest-pause method is incredibly intense and fatigue will set in earlier than you’re used to. This will inhibit the amount of extra, otherwise useless work you could normally do in the gym.
In order to stimulate rapid muscle growth, the muscle fibers must be exposed to sufficient time under tension and appropriate loads during both the positive and negative phases of a lift. The rest-pause method is perhaps one of the most effective, if not the most effective, techniques for providing the stimulus required for rapid muscle growth to build more muscle in less time.