Rest Pause Training or Rest Pause Set_ Benefits, Variations and Techniques

Do you feel you have hit a workout plateau? Break free from workout plateaus and ignite explosive gains with Rest Pause Training. This technique maximizes your training intensity to build muscle like never before.

So, if you wish to achieve that dream sculpted physique, the rest pause method is ideal to promote muscle and strength gains.

But what is rest pause set and how it is different from other techniques?

Let’s find out more about the extraordinary Rest Pause Training method.

What is Rest Pause Training or Rest Pause Set?

Rest Pause Training, also known as Rest Pause Sets, is an advanced weightlifting technique designed to optimize muscle growth and strength gains.

Benefits of Rest Pause Training

Strength and Muscle Stimulation: 

Rest Pause Training allows for the recruitment of a greater number of muscle fibers during a set, leading to increased muscle stimulation and hypertrophy. [1]

Build Muscle Faster: 

Rest Pause Training induces bigger and stronger muscle growth. The rest pause sets create metabolic stress, mechanical tension, and muscle damage. The brief rest intervals prevent complete recovery, increasing metabolic stress on the muscles. [2]

Suggested Read: 15 Best Compound Lifts and Exercises to Gain Muscle Mass

Progressive Overload: 

This technique pushes you beyond muscular failure using brief rest intervals. Rest Pause Sets promote progressive overload, stimulating strength gains and muscular endurance.

Increased Mechanical Tension: 

Heavier weights used during Rest Pause Sets create greater mechanical tension, promoting muscle hypertrophy.

Traditional Rest Period Vs Rest Pause Method

Traditional Rest PeriodRest Pause Set
DefinitionFixed duration of rest between sets or exercisesShort rest intervals within a set to extend the set
FocusAllows full recovery before starting next setMaximizes the number of reps with brief rest intervals
DurationTypically 1-5 minutes or longerUsually 10-20 seconds
GoalPromote full recovery and energy replenishmentPush beyond initial failure, extend set, increase intensity
Muscle ActivationRests between sets, allowing muscles to recoverContinuously challenging the muscles
Training IntensityAllows for higher intensity in each individual setIncreases overall intensity of the set
EmphasisRecovery between setsOvercoming failure, promoting muscle growth
ExamplesTaking 3 minutes between heavy squat setsPerforming 8 reps, taking a 15-second rest, then continuing for more reps

What is the Rest Pause Method?

The Rest Pause Method is an innovative weightlifting technique that involves training to failure and incorporating brief rest intervals within a set. Rest pause training pushes your muscles to the point of failure and then you take short breaks. After some time, you extend the set and continue performing additional repetitions with heavy weights. This method is highly effective in muscle growth stimulation, strength gains, and muscular endurance.

How to Do a Rest Pause Set?

  1. Select an Appropriate Weight: Choose a weight that challenges you within a target rep range. This weight should allow you to perform a few reps shy of failure initially.
  2. Perform the Initial Set: Start the set by performing as many reps as possible with proper form. Push yourself to the point where you cannot complete another full repetition.
  3. Take a Brief Rest Pause: Once you reach failure, rack the weight or set it down and take a short rest of around 10-20 seconds. This rest period allows for partial recovery without fully restoring your energy levels.
  4. Perform Additional Repetitions: After the rest pause, pick up the weight and continue the set, aiming to complete a few more repetitions. Push yourself until you reach failure again.
  5. Repeat Rest Pause and Repetitions: Take another brief rest pause and perform more repetitions until you are unable to complete any additional reps with proper form.

Example of Rest Pause Sets:

Let’s say you are performing a rest pause set of bench presses:

  1. Start with a weight you can handle for 8-10 reps.
  2. Perform the initial set until failure, let’s say you manage 8 reps.
  3. Take a 15-second rest pause, then continue the set and aim for 2-3 more reps.
  4. Take another rest pause for 15 seconds, and if possible, perform 1-2 final reps.

How many Rest Pause Sets or Extra Reps are suitable?

The rest pause number of reps vary based on your goals and capabilities. The initial rest pause set is trained to failure and you should aim for a rep range that challenges your muscles. During the subsequent mini-sets after the rest pauses, aim to complete 1-3 additional reps each time. The key is to push your limits while maintaining proper form.

What are Mini Sets?

Mini sets, also known as rest pause sets, are the additional sets performed after each rest pause during a rest pause set. These mini sets allow you to accumulate more volume and continue working the muscles despite fatigue. You can extend the intensity of the straight set and promote further muscle stimulation for more muscle and strength gains.]

Rest Pause Set Variations: Double Rest Pause Set

The Double Rest Pause Set is a variation of the traditional Rest Pause Set that takes the intensity to a whole new level. This technique involves incorporating two rest pauses within a set instead of just one. By doing so, you can push your muscles even further and elicit an exceptional training stimulus for muscle growth and strength gains.

Here’s how to perform a Double Rest Pause Set:

  • Choose an Appropriate Weight: Select a weight that challenges you within a target rep range.
  • Perform the Initial Set: Begin the set and perform as many reps as possible with proper form, stopping just short of failure.
  • First Rest Pause: Take a short rest of about 10-20 seconds, allowing for partial recovery without fully regaining your energy levels.
  • Perform Additional Repetitions: After the rest pause, pick up the weight again and aim to perform a few more repetitions. Push yourself until you reach failure once more.
  • Second Rest Pause: Take another brief rest pause of 10-20 seconds.
  • Final Repetitions: Resume the set one last time, pushing yourself to complete a few more reps until you reach failure for the final time.

The Double Rest Pause Set is an advanced technique that can significantly increase the intensity and challenge your muscles to adapt and grow.

Drop Sets vs. Rest Pause

Drop Sets and Rest Pause Sets are both effective techniques for muscle stimulation and growth, but they differ in execution and purpose.

Drop Sets: 

In a drop set, also known as strip sets, you perform a set of exercises to failure and immediately reduce the weight to continue the set without rest. The goal is to extend the set by decreasing the load, allowing you to perform additional repetitions until you reach failure again. Drop sets are effective for increasing muscle fatigue, metabolic stress, and muscle pump, promoting muscle growth and endurance.

Rest Pause Sets: 

Rest Pause Sets, as discussed earlier, involve performing a set until failure and then taking brief rest pauses to partially recover before continuing the set. The emphasis is on pushing beyond failure and performing additional repetitions with the same weight. Rest Pause Sets target strength gains, muscle growth, and maximizing muscle fiber recruitment.

Key Differences of Drop Sets Vs Rest Pause Sets

Execution: Drop sets involve reducing the weight immediately after reaching failure, while Rest Pause Sets focus on short rest intervals without changing the weight.

Fatigue Management: Drop sets induce a greater level of muscle fatigue due to continuous sets with decreasing weight. Rest Pause Sets allow for partial recovery during rest pauses, enabling you to push heavier weights for additional reps.

Training Focus: Drop sets primarily emphasize muscle fatigue, metabolic stress, and muscle pump, whereas Rest Pause Sets target strength gains, muscle growth, and muscle fiber recruitment.

Both techniques can be incorporated into your training routine based on your specific goals and preferences.

Exercises for Rest Pause Sets: Upper Body Focus

When incorporating rest pause sets into your workout routine, there are several upper body exercises that can be effectively performed. Here are some examples that target different muscle groups:

Bench Press:

The bench press is a classic compound exercise that primarily targets the chest muscles (pectoralis major) while also engaging the triceps and front deltoids. It is a staple exercise for building upper body strength and size.

Shoulder Press:

The shoulder press, also known as the overhead press, targets the deltoid muscles of the shoulders. It is an excellent exercise for developing shoulder strength and building well-rounded upper body aesthetics.

Barbell Rows:

Barbell rows primarily work the muscles of the upper back, including the rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi. This exercise helps improve posture, build back strength, and enhance overall upper body development.


Pull-ups and chin-ups are bodyweight exercises that target the muscles of the back, biceps, and forearms. These compound movements help build upper body strength and develop a well-defined back and arms.

Dumbbell Flyes:

Dumbbell flyes specifically target the chest muscles, providing a good isolation exercise to complement compound movements like the bench press. They help develop the pectoral muscles and enhance chest definition.

Gym Weights and Equipment for Rest Pause:

Heavy Weights:

Rest pause sets require the use of heavy weights to effectively challenge your muscles. The weight selection should allow you to perform the initial set within the target rep range, stopping just short of failure. It’s important to choose a weight that is challenging enough to stimulate muscle growth and strength gains but still allows for proper form and technique.

Related Link: How To Lift Heavier Weights: Mistakes To Avoid & Tips

Bench Press & Other Gym Equipment:

The bench press is a popular exercise for rest pause sets due to its effectiveness in targeting the upper body muscles, particularly the chest. However, rest pause sets can be performed with other gym equipment as well, depending on your preferences and availability. You can adapt the rest pause technique to exercises like shoulder press machines, cable rows, lat pulldowns, or dumbbell variations, as long as they target the desired muscle groups.

Rest Pause Set – FAQs

When should I set rest pause?

Rest pause sets are typically incorporated when you want to push your muscles to their limits and maximize intensity. They can be implemented in various training scenarios, such as hypertrophy-focused workouts, strength training, or breaking through plateaus. Consider adding rest pause sets when you’re seeking an extra challenge or looking to overcome sticking points in your routine.

Are rest pause sets effective?

Yes, rest pause sets can be highly effective for promoting muscle growth, strength gains, and increasing workout intensity. By pushing beyond initial failure and allowing brief rest intervals, rest pause sets challenge your muscles to perform additional reps, leading to increased muscle fiber recruitment and metabolic stress. This can stimulate muscle growth and enhance muscular endurance.

How many rest pause sets should I do?

The number of rest pause sets you should do depends on factors such as your fitness level, training goals, and workout routine. Start with incorporating one or two rest pause sets per exercise and assess how your body responds. Gradually increase the number of sets if you find it manageable and beneficial for your progress. Remember to listen to your body and adjust the volume of rest pause sets according to your individual needs.

Does rest pause build muscle?

Yes, rest pause sets can be an effective strategy for building muscle. By pushing your muscles to perform additional reps beyond initial failure, rest pause sets create a greater stimulus for muscle growth. The brief rest intervals help maintain a high level of intensity, promoting metabolic stress and muscle damage, which are key factors in triggering muscle hypertrophy.

Why do you have to rest 3 minutes between sets?

Resting 3 minutes between sets is often recommended for exercises that require significant recovery, such as heavy compound lifts or high-intensity movements. This duration allows for adequate replenishment of ATP energy stores, reducing fatigue, and restoring strength for the subsequent set. Longer rest periods are beneficial for maximizing performance, particularly in strength and power-focused workouts.

How heavy should pause reps be?

When performing pause reps during a rest pause set, the weight you use should be challenging enough to stimulate muscle growth and strength gains. Start with a weight that allows you to perform the initial reps with proper form and technique. It should be challenging, but not to the point where you can’t complete any reps beyond the first set. Adjust the weight based on your individual capabilities and progressively increase it as you become stronger and more experienced.

Is 30 seconds enough rest between sets?

While 30 seconds may not provide full recovery, it can be effective for certain training goals. Shorter rest periods like 30 seconds are often utilized for enhancing muscular endurance, metabolic conditioning, or when performing circuit-style workouts. However, it may not be optimal for heavy strength training or maximal strength gains. The rest period should align with your specific objectives, exercise intensity, and the level of fatigue you want to maintain throughout your training session.


Ready to unlock your true workout potential? Embrace Rest Pause Training and witness extraordinary results. Break plateaus, build muscle, and redefine your limits. Start your transformation today. Unleash the power of Rest Pause Training and achieve greatness.


[1] Strength and Muscular Adaptations After 6 Weeks of Rest-Pause – PubMed

[2] Twelve Weeks Rest–Pause and Traditional Resistance Training – MDPI