Rest/Pause Technique

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Rest/Pause Technique

This awkwardly named technique is simple: you stop and rest midset, which allows your body’s short-term energy systems — specifically the phosphagen system, which produces energy without the need for oxygen — to naturally recharge itself. Even just 15 seconds gives your body enough time to regain a significant amount of strength, allowing you to extend the set by at least a few repetitions.

“This technique is great for those wanting to build strength and muscle quickly,” says Felicia Romero, IFBB Figure pro, personal trainer and motivational speaker based in Gilbert, Arizona. The technique compresses more work into a shorter period, thus increasing your overall intensity, and higher levels of training intensity have been shown to increase muscle adaptation.

To save time and keep a modicum of tension on the muscle, don’t put the weights down but simply rest in the start position — for instance, the down position on a seated shoulder press or biceps curl. (You may discover it’s better to rest at the fully flexed position for exercises such as the leg press, in which it’s easier to hold the weight with legs extended.)

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