Build Muscle Faster With This Simple Weight Room Trick

If you're not seeing the gains you want from your workouts, it may be time to challenge yourself with an intensity booster. The two most popular types of intensity boosters are the Rest Pause and the Drop Set. If you're doing a Rest Pause set, you take a 5- to 10-second break when you reach failure, then resume lifting to get more reps. With Drop Sets, you reduce weight upon failure before continuing.

Both the Rest Pause and Drop Set work great on their own, but you can get even better results by combining the two techniques into a "super booster," called the Rest Pause Drop Set.

Rest Pause Drop Set: How It Works

To perform the Rest Pause Drop Set:

  1. Perform an exercise that results in failure after six to eight reps.
  2. Take a five-second rest, then try to get two to four more reps.
  3. Drop the weight by 25 percent and continue lifting.
  4. Take another five-second rest and try for more reps.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 one more time, dropping the weight by the same amount as in step 3. This will give you six total mini-sets.

Sample Rest Pause Drop Set

Here's a Rest Pause Drop from one of my recent workouts. Each set ended when I reached failure.

  1. Perform six reps of Barbell Curls with 100 pounds.
  2. Set the bar down for five seconds, then perform three more reps.
  3. Remove 25 pounds and perform seven more reps at 75 pounds.
  4. Set the bar down for five seconds, then perform two more reps.
  5. Remove 25 pounds and perform eight more reps at 50 pounds.
  6. Set the bar down for five seconds, then perform two more reps.

Benefits of the Rest Pause Drop Set

As you progress through your set, you hit several different types of muscle. The heaviest weight at the beginning targets your Type IIB muscle fibers. As you drop the weight, your body recruits more Type IIA fibers. Finally, when you lift the lightest weight past the 20-rep mark, your Type I fibers join the party. You get the benefits of power training, muscle growth and muscular endurance, all in one set. You also end up saving time in the weight room, since it should only take one Rest Pause Drop Set to target your muscle from the angle of intent, versus three to five regular sets.

Implementing the Rest Pause Drop Set

I recommend trying this technique with a partner, since he or she can push you during your set and help you remove weight quicker throughout the process. I also tell beginners to try only one Rest Pause Drop Set per workout until they understand how it works. Advanced athletes can actually do one of these sets per exercise, but I do not recommend more than five per training session.

Learn more about how to set your sets and reps.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BUILD MUSCLE | WORKOUTS | EXERCISE | INTENSITY