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Rest Pause vs Breakdowns

Dr Darden,
To add intensity to the end of a set, if you had to choose between breakdowns or rest-pause which would you employ? After reading almost all of your books I don’t see many mentions of rest pause. Do you feel this technique has little value. To be clear I am referring to finishing a set of 8-12 reps, then Resting 10seconds going to failure again, repeating 1-3 times.

I’ve applied breakdowns much more than rest pause, so my vote is for breakdowns.

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can u say what u mean by breakdowns? I havent seen any mention of it in “killing fat” or “bodyfat breakthrough”. THanks

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Breakdowns are like strip sets where you reduce the weight and carry on the set.

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sounds like drop sets?


Do you think rest pause has value? Have you used it in any of your studies/experiments?

I was never enthused by rest-pause, so I did not apply it.


e. To be clear I am referring to finishing a set of 8-12 reps, then Resting 10 seconds and going to failure again, repeating 1-3 times.

It seems to me a 10 second rest is just like adding more sets. I would think if you are going to call it a pause the rest pause should be much shorter, like one or two seconds?

thank you, yes, its sounds like drop sets

If you hit failure and rest less than 5-10 seconds, at least For me, I wouldn t even be able to crank one rep out. Typically on a set of 8-10 reps, a 10 sec break allows me 3 reps the first time, 2 on the second and only one or zero on the third.

Do you guys rest between sets when you do Breakdowns?

Or do you lower the weight and jump right back to work?

A breakdown should be done immediately.

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As a practical matter, I can’t avoid taking some time between drop sets, because I’m using free weights, and it takes time to change the plates. I don’t have enough equipment to pre-stage weights at the lighter weights.

If you are using a machine with a weight stack, it is much faster to drop weight as you just move the pin.

I’m not sure that in the grand scheme of things, the rest intervals make all that much difference. If you can keep the rest very short, you will start the next set in a more fatigued state, so you will have to drop the weight more to be able to do any reps. If you rest longer, you won’t have to reduce the weights quite as much.

It probably also depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want to rapidly inroad deeply, then quick weight changes will get you there faster. (And voluntary contraction against motorized resistance would probably be the fastest of all). If you are just looking to get in more volume in a time efficient manner, longer rest periods will have the advantage that the extra volume will be at a higher load, so perhaps easier to recruit fast twitch muscle.

I believe the theory is that anytime you unload the muscle, the slow twitch fibers can get some blood flow and recover. So on the next set, you first have to fatigue the slow twitch fibers and get them to drop out, before tapping into the fast twitch. If the rest times are long enough (more than a minute), you may also get some partial recovery of the fast twitch due to replenishment of local stores of ATP. But that is a slower process (which is why power lifters often rest 5 to 10 minutes between sets, when doing sets across with close to maximal weights).


“Voluntary Contraction against motorized resistance,”
Like you push really hard, and the bar still moves slow, no matter how hard you push?

A few months I ago I used a scheme that another coach called “Breakdowns,” and this guy recommended 2 minute rests between the drop-sets. I think the longer rests made the whole thing more strenuous because I could do way more reps, rested.

I’m thinking of the ARX machine. It has a beefy motor, strong enough that it can’t be stopped or overpowered. You resist against the moving machine, perform basically isokinetic exercise. The force level depends on how hard you can force yourself to contract. So it is sort of like performing an isometric, except against a moving instead of stationary object. I’ve never tried it. But the videos I’ve seen show that force output decays very significantly as you fatigue. If you can maintain continuous tension, no respite for the muscles. So it would seem ideal for creating very deep inroad.

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I’ve been dragging a tire backwards up a hill for my quads. If I try to go too fast my feet slip out from under me, and if my strides get too long I can’t keep the tire moving.

The tension never stops and the inroads are deep.

I think inroads vs unloading or out-roading is a cool concept, and I can’t believe the term/idea isn’t more widely used.

We had an ARX thread here a while back, it was quite the fiasco.

I love backwards sled/prowler drags. Super joint friendly for quads too, IMO.

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Hitting quads by leaning back to get the knees out in front of your body seems better than jamming your knees out in front in a squat or something.

I’m not surprised.