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Rest Pause Leg Extension

As trainees we’re often looking at ways to increase intensity in our training sessions for a target muscle group, whether that’s through increasing the weight, performing more reps or slowing down the movement. 

Other ways of doing this are through drop sets, cluster sets, supersets, mini sets and the like. But one of our favourite ways of increasing intensity and progressing a movement with heavier weight and more reps is a rest pause set. 

What Is A Rest Pause Set?

A rest-pause is an intensifier that’s often praised for both strength training and hypertrophy benefits. 

Essentially, you perform a set of an exercise to mechanical failure, then re-rack the weight, take 5 deep breaths and go again, and keep going like that until you can no longer complete a rep safely and effectively. 

What we look to do is then increase the reps for the first set and subsequent mini sets each session until we hit a target total volume of reps, then in the next session, we increase the weight and progress through the rep range again.


A common set would look like this;

Set 1: 10 reps to failure

5 deep breaths

Set 2: 3 reps to failure

5 deep breaths

Set 3: 2 reps to failure

5 deep breaths

Set 4: 1 rep to failure

5 deep breaths

Set 5: 1 failed rep


So your total reps for that given weight will be 15 at your point of failure as opposed to 10 if you were to just stick to your normal set.

You may then set this as a target to get to 20 total reps, before you increase the load. 

This is great for hypertrophy as we’re able to extend a set, do more reps under heavy weight which will then lead to more muscle fibre damage and ultimately muscle growth if recovery conditions are adequate.

How To Use Rest Pause Sets?

There are some training systems that use these intensity methods extensively, for example DC Training. Something they all discuss is the need to perform these intensifiers safely, as such we utilise them on locked in movements where the risk at point of failure is lower.

You wouldn’t want to fail 5 times on a back squat for example.

So rest pause sets are great to incorporate with machine based and isolation exercise types like curls, extensions, flys etc. 

They’re also great to use a low volume split, as you’re increasing intensity and utilising progressive overload, but if you used them in a lower frequency higher volume split, due to the level of intensity it’d be extremely difficult to recover from. 

What we recommend is that you either sprinkle them into your training if you’re looking to push past a load plateau at a given rep range, or you give something like Dante Trudel’s DC Training System a go!

Or if you’d like to see an example of it in practice, take a look at one of my rest pause sets here on my YouTube Channel;

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