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Rest Between Sets with Repetition Method?

I see how some west side and certain other programs have the repetition method of three sets of Max reps with three minutes rest between sets. I’ve also seen guys like Joe Defranco who trains a lot of NFL players recommend 3 to 4 minute recovery between Max rep sets…

If they are trying for maximum muscle growth why do they rest so long between sets as opposed to doing a rest pause set where you only rest 20 to 30 seconds between the sets?

Thank you

You are talking about two different animals and both have merit.

A rest/pause set is ONE set with the goal to fatigue as much muscle fibers as possible in a short time.

Whereas with max rep sets the goal is to get as many total reps, hence the longer rest intervals.

Here’s the thing.

What really matters are the number of maximally effective growth reps. When a rep is done with 80% of what you can lift at that moment you will recruiting as many fibers as you can. Which means the high threshold motor units (fast twitch fibers) that have the most growth potential.

It doesn’t mean that the barbell weight needs to be 80%. With any decent weight, you will cause a 2-4% fatigue with each rep.

So if you are using 70% on the bar, by rep number 4-5 you have “lost” around 10% of your strength due to fatigue which means that the load is now 80% of what you can lift at that moment.

Every rep from that point on represents a maximally effective growth rep.

The reps you do before that point don’t matter much from a growth perspective They are essentially a pre-fatigue to get you to the maximally effective reps.

The total number of reps is not that important, it’s the number of maximally effective growth reps that count.

Here’s a table from one of my seminars

In both approaches you mentionned, if you get the same number of maximally effective reps, you will get roughly the same growth stimulation.

You could argue that with the longer rest intervals you get more total reps, and even though they are not maximally effective reps they can have a small contribution to hypertrophy. True. But it also leads to a higher cortisol production due to a higher energy expenditure. So it pretty much evens out.

Understand that the “repetition method” doesn’t mean “high reps”. If you read Zatsiorsky the repetition method is simply what we would call regular hypertrophy sets… sets done for 6-20 reps. You can even go higher, but you get the point. 3 x 8 or 4 x 6 would also qualify as the repetition method.

Paul Carter and I were talking about this earlier this week. And we both moved away from veyr high rep sets because for muscle growth there is no benefit over sets in the 6-10 range. If you do 6 or 30 reps, you will get the same number of maximally effective reps per set, but with high reps you cause more fatigue and energy depletion to get there.

One benefit of high rep sets (20+) is that it could be effective to improve the tendons. So that might be why Louie and Joe found that these work for their athletes who tend to be banged up or want to avoid to be banged up.


Thank you for the response and going into detail on that for me.
What would u recommend for rest periods or does that not matter as much?

With straight sets, shooting in the 6-10 range I’d go a bit longer on the rest intervals (3 min). That’s something I changed recently. If doing lighter work for high reps I’d actually take shorter rest (1-2 min) so that you don’t need to do quite as many reps to get the same effect.

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So have you done away with rest pause training?

Hi, I need some clarificaton, maybe I’m overcomplicating this but, what about tempo of repetition? If I do e.g. repetition that lasts 8 seconds (total), with 70% on the bar, in opose to 4 seconds, do I reach “feels like 80%” zone sooner?

My main concenr with this is TUT, because i recognized myself as a person who need’s more of it. You’ve recommended 40-70 seconds sets in the past for some people so I wonder what it means in terms of increased fatigue of high reps that You’ve mentioned in this thread. Maybe I’m being silly but are sets of 10 less fatigueing than sets of 20 if they both lasts e.g. 60 seconds?

No, why would I?

No. Because the 80% is 80% of the max you can do at the tempo you are using.

Possibly, but not significantly. IMHO this is majoring on the minors.

Sorry but It’s in the very core of my nature :expressionless: Thank You for clarification, makes perfect sense.

No I was just wondering because you jist wrote with straight-sets of 6 to 10 you rest 3 minutes now and with higher rep sets you rest 1 to 2 minutes…

I’m guessing you still use rest pause for isolation movements then?

@Zach11 you’re asking a lot about rest-pause lately; why not just give it a go and see if you like it? Nothing is really going to be better or worse for everyone - it’s a “different strokes” kind of game

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Just because i use 3 minutes between sets of 6-10 doesn’t mean that I don’t use rest pause… or clusters… they are different animals. To me 6-10 is a regular loading scheme, rest/pause are an intensificaton method

How many of these “effective reps” would u recommend per muscle per workout if training 4 days a week, hitting each muscle once a week directly.
Ex bench day, squat day, press day, and deadlift day plus assistance for those muscles involved?


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How would you do those reps on a back day with deadlift, rows, and chins?

would that be 15 effective reps per exercise or 15 to 30 total between the 3?

15 for the deadlift
15-30 between rows and chins

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