Rest-Pause: what it is, benefits and how to do it

 Rest-Pause: what it is, benefits and how to do it

Lena Fisher
Reviewed by Bianca Pichirilli Physical Educator - CREF 144786-G/SP

There are several methods to generate hypertrophy (muscle gain), including rest-pause, an ultra-advanced bodybuilding technique, as well as bi-set, drop-set, and others.

According to Matheus Sarria, personal trainer and specialist in online personalized training, it is recommended to have at least 1 year in bodybuilding to be able to use it.

The rest-pause consists of doing repetitions of an exercise to failure, and then taking short rests. In this way, the main goal is to increase the number of repetitions in a series.

What is the rest-pause for?

The rest pause method is a great method for those who want to achieve a higher training volume, which is very important for strength and hypertrophy adaptations, because by the intervals between sets, there is a partial replenishment of the creatine-phosphate stores, thus allowing a higher number of repetitions per set and generating greater metabolic stress.

The inclusion of methods such as rest pause for advanced people can be productive in increasing the time under tension and the metabolic stress, especially for people who are already adapted to traditional methods. The metabolic stress of this method can increase adaptations in strength and hypertrophy.

Read also: Super-set workout: Understand what it is and how it works


The technique can bring several benefits because of the short rests between repetitions in each set. Thus, one of the benefits is to increase the training volume without losing effectiveness in intensity.

In addition, there are other benefits, check them out:

  • Increased training volume;
  • Increased training intensity;
  • Increased metabolic stress;
  • Increased load;
  • Increased adaptations in strength;
  • Increased adaptations in hypertrophy.

How to rest-pause?

If you have any injuries but want to do the method, it is important to have the accompaniment of a physical educator so as not to compromise your health.

To perform it, Matheus reminds us that besides being at an advanced level it is necessary to perform a test: "Called RM (maximum repetition), this test allows you to find the maximum load in the exercise for only one repetition. After finding your RM, you perform the method with 70 to 90% of the maximum load.

Generally, the method consists of performing 3 to 4 sets of movements until failure. Soon after reaching failure, the ideal is to take a quick rest of five to 20 seconds and try to perform the movement until fatigue sets in again.

In a workout of 4 sets of 10 repetitions, do the first set until failure, and when you finish, rest for 10 seconds: "The first set will only be finished when you can't do any set because of fatigue", explains the professional.

According to Matheus, after performing the first series in the "rest-pause" method, the student rests for 1 to 3 minutes and then performs the next 3 or 2 series.

"However, when the load is not properly correct, the method may lose its effectiveness and the exercise may have been in vain," points out the personal trainer.

Are there any contraindications?

Matheus reminds us that this technique is very advanced, and not everyone can perform it without accompaniment: "One of the main parameters is to have structure and skills such as improved strength and endurance. To know if the individual is able to perform this method, one of the important points is to be evaluated by a physical education professional and to perform some tests", he says.

Bianca Pichirilli, a physical educator at Vitat, reminds us that beginners can use this technique, but with the accompaniment of a qualified physical education professional: "For example, I use this technique with a beginner student who has a hip and knee injury, and I can't increase the load too much with her, in which case I use rest-pause to reach failure without increasing the load.the loads a lot", says the specialist.

Examples of exercises with rest-pause

The rest pause method can be applied to any exercise that can use overloads of 70% to 90% of 1 RM. For example:

  • Straight Supine;
  • Squat on the bar;
  • Open Pulley Pull;
  • Rowing on the machine;
  • Biceps with dumbbells;
  • Triceps on high pulley.

Source: Personal trainer Matheus Sarria, expert in online personalized training.

Lena Fisher

Lena Fisher is a wellness enthusiast, certified nutritionist, and author of the popular health and well-being blog. With over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition and health coaching, Lena has dedicated her career to helping people achieve their optimal health and live their best life possible. Her passion for wellness has led her to explore various approaches to achieving overall health, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices. Lena's blog is a culmination of her years of research, experience, and personal journey towards finding balance and well-being. Her mission is to inspire and empower others to make positive changes in their lives and embrace a healthy lifestyle. When she's not writing or coaching clients, you can find Lena practicing yoga, hiking the trails, or experimenting with new healthy recipes in the kitchen.