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THE NEW PROTOCOL
When you lift, you probably focus on three things: start the set, hit the rep target, finish the set. Then you rest until it’s time for the next one. But by adding a break in the middle of the set – a technique known as rest-pause training – you can prompt a much bigger post-workout metabolic boost, says trainer Christian Finn (muscleevo.net). “It’s going to have a significant impact on your size and strength: you’re taking a weight you could normally lift six times and lifting it 10 to 12 times instead.”
HOW IT WORKS
After a warm-up, select a weight that’s 80 to 85% of your one-rep max. Do as many reps as you can – probably six or seven. Rest 20 seconds. Pick it up and do as many reps as you can. Let’s say you get three or four. Rest another 20 seconds. Now pick it up and do a couple more. In a recent study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine, experienced lifters were burning 18% more kilojoules 22 hours after the rest-pause workout – including a higher percentage of fat – than they were after doing a traditional workout.
Finn recommends using three rest-pause sets of one upper-body exercise per workout; bench presses, rows and chin-ups or lat pull-downs work well. Only advanced lifters should try it with exercises like squats or dead lifts, which require strict attention to form – something that deteriorates with this level of fatigue. The payoff: more muscle activation and more fat burned in the hours following your workout. And if that’s not enough, you get those benefits in less time than you’d spend doing your sets the usual way.