Making the Most of the Caloric Surplus and Hormonal Whirlwind
I spent the better part of my evening with two of my very best friends in the world: Ben & Jerry. You may have heard of them, as they are gentlemen of great esteem, and their names are whispered far and wide with reverence and awe. You see, I was strategically manipulating leptin.
Okay, that’s fat kid talk for “today was my cheat day,” a fabulous fat loss concept that’s liberally employed in the program I’m currently following, Cheat Your Way Thin. I mentioned in my last post that I’m using the program in my attempt to go from lean to super-duper lean in the next month.
One way that I’ve changed the program is that I’m working out on my cheat day—really freaking intensely.
During the majority of the week, I’m using workouts from my own fat loss program. However 0n my cheat days, I’m using a training method known as “rest-pause” to really get the most out of each set.
I’m glad I asked!
Rest-pause is a method of extending your sets to lift a weight for a higher total number of reps than you normally could for a single set. Unlike drop sets or strip sets, which require you to use progressively lower weight (and thereby perform less taxing work, or create less growth-inducing microtrauma), rest-pause allows you to use the same weight and get the some of the most brutal but effective workouts you’ve ever had the masochistic notion to expose yourself to.
To extend the set, you simply rest (or pause) when you hit failure.
This gives your muscles a brief reprieve so they can “recharge” and do more work. Yes, I know “Rest Pause” isn’t a terribly creative moniker, but we fitness types aren’t always lauded for our cleverness. Myself notwithstanding, of course; I’m quite clever. And humble. And good looking. But mostly humble.
Rest Pause results in an increased workout density and an incredible amount of muscle stress in a short time, which you know I love.
The best part is that you can utilize this technique with nearly any exercise and just about any rep range.
There are a number of different ways to do incorporate the pauses, but rather than go into all of them, I’ll just tell you the specific ways that I’m using rest-pause training for each exercise.
To begin with, I’m focusing on increasing the size of my upper chest (clavicular head) and my quads (mainly my VMO, the teardrop-shaped muscle located on the inside of the knee.).
On the cheat days, I’m training twice: once in the morning (9am) and once in mid-afternoon (3pm). During both sessions, I’m training chest and quads. Here’s how I incorporate rest-pause training to make my workouts more effective and allow me to take advantage of the caloric surplus and hormonal whirlwind of the cheat day (the following is is my afternoon workout).
I’m training with my 10 rep max (255lb). I perform 10 reps with good form, making sure to come all the way down to my clavicle.
When I lock out, I hold the locked out position for 5-10 seconds. From there, I bang out as many reps as I can (today 8 reps).
I lock out again and hold for 15-20 seconds. I then perform a few more reps (today 4).
This time, I re-rack the weight completely, take 15 deep breaths and un-rack, working to failure once more (today it was 9 reps). All told, this is one set. I do two of these sets.
In all honestly, for hypertrophy purposes, I often like training with machines.
I know, some people are going to hate on me, but they work great in conjunction with the big movements. In the case of the leg extension, I like to pair it a closed kinetic chain exercises with open kinetic chain exercises, so this works great with the squat.
I used my 12 rep max on the leg extension here, aiming for a full 1 second contraction at the top of the movement. At 12 reps, I unhook my legs, rest 5 seconds and repeat.
Overall, I got 30 reps on my first set, 22 on my second, and a quad pump that’s screaming for attention.
Now, I know it sounds brutal—and it is—but it’s also very effective.
Compare my first set of Incline Press today as an example to a traditional model where I would perform 3 sets of 10 reps for 30 total reps.
Even if I take a “short” rest period, which—when working with maximal weight—would still be about 120 seconds, the proposition looks bleak. Let’s say each rep, performed with a 2-0-2 cadence, takes me 4 seconds. Each set takes 40 seconds, for 120 seconds of work time, separated with 240 seconds of rest.
It’s not hard to see how rest-pause is a great way to increase density.
Between workouts like the above, and the already kick ass workouts in Final Phase Fat Loss, in combination with a slightly modified Cheat Your Way Thin eating program, I have every confidence I’ll meet my goal of getting to a lean 191lb in the next month.
I’d love to write more, but I’m going to finish off this pint of Chubby Hubby and hit the sack, so I’ll leave it to you.