By Jim Stoppani, Ph.D Flex
Rest-pause is a training method that involves taking a short rest within a set. It has been shown to increase muscle strength, as well as muscle growth. When training for power with explosive exercises, rest-pause can also help to increase power.
Appalachian State (Boone, North Carolina) researchers had 10 male weightlifters perform three sets of power cleans for six reps per set using 80% of their one-rep max, and resting three minutes between sets. In one trial, they completed all six reps in succession without any rest-pause between reps. In the second trial, they did a 20-second rest-pause between each rep. And in the third trial, they did a 40-second rest-pause between every rep.
The scientists reported that power decreased by 15% from rep number one to rep number six when the subjects did not use rest-pause between reps. With the 20-second rest-pause between sets, power decreased by only 6% from rep number one to rep number six. And with the 40-second rest-pause between reps, power decreased by just 4% from rep number one to rep number six.
The results of the study show that when the subjects used rest-pause between reps they were better able to maintain power from rep number one to rep number six. This is important for maximizing gains in power. Although this study only tested the effects of rest-pause on power during power cleans, it should hold for other exercises.
When training for power, regardless of the exercise you are doing, use the rest-pause technique. To do this, simply rack the weight between every rep and rest 20–40 seconds before performing the next rep.