Volume or Rest Pause?

TAGS: Volume Training, Rest Pause, dc training, Zane Geeting, frequency, team elitefts, Jennifer Petrosino, shelby starnes, matt rhodes

In your honest opinion, for assistance lifts, which do you think has a better carry over for strength: Volume training (5x10) or Rest Pause training (as per DC training)? How about for hypertrophy and size gains? Also, do you think that training frequency has anything to do with faster gains?


I believe that volume training is better for strength production and Rest Pause or HIT is better for hypertrophy. I'm talking HIT the way Dorian Yates prescribed, but this also comes down to what you need. A muscle may need to get larger to get stronger. You may also need a healthier muscle, not necessarily a stronger one. An example of this would be my shoulder work. You see, I use a lot of reps and Rest Pause-type movements to keep my shoulders healthy, as this doesn't put as much strain on them as heavier training would.

Frequency directly relates to gains, but you have to keep in mind that recovery is the main factor. You can train every day, but if your muscles don't have time to recover, you won't get bigger or stronger. This is something you'll find with trial and error. I've trained as frequently as six days a week and as little as two times a week. I've found that three days a week works best for me right now. Now, that's not to say that it might not change as I require more volume over time. For now, however, this is what I've found to be the best for me personally. This gives me enough time to rest and eat between sessions so that I go into the next session rested, recovered, and ready to work hard.

Make sense?

Pick and choose to suit your needs,

- Zane Geeting


Both have merit, and I don't think one is amazingly superior to the other—I'd alternate periods of both (for both strength gains as well as hypertrophy).

Of course, training frequency will affect gains. The more often you stimulate (and recover and grow), the faster the process will be.

- Shelby Starnes


Strength gains would probably be best with something like 5x10, although I'd work in the 5x5-10 range. The heavier the weights that you lift, even if it's for 10 reps, the more strength gains you will see.

Rest Pause would be fine for little movements that aren't necessarily considered strength movements. For instance, shoulder raises, face pulls, biceps, etc.—the little stuff that matters but is more for stabilizer-type muscles.

To get stronger, you need to rest. Training frequency is important. The 5x10 stuff will give you some strength and some size, and the Rest Pause stuff is probably best for adding some muscle mass only.

As for frequency, I wouldn't train more than four days per week, and I recommend three if you're really looking to build strength.

- Matt Rhodes


I think INTENSITY (%1RM) has the most carry over to strength, meaning that you will make the most benefits in terms of gaining strength with reps under five, a large number of sets, and working with weights at 80% and above. Also, remember that volume is sets x reps x load. So, volume training can mean a ton of different things, not just a 5x10.

As for Rest Pause, as you can see in my previous answer, I think there are many more optimal ways of training to gain strength. If you are really hooked on this, look into clusters for the main lift. They are great for strength and look something like this:

(90-second rest) 80%x2, 82%x1, 75%x5, 80%x2, 82%x1, 75%x5, 82%x2, 85%x1

As for hypertrophy and size, you have to remember a few things. For instance, size gains are based off the following:

  1. Recovery and caloric surplus
  2. Mechanical damage done to the muscle
  3. Hormonal responses from training, namely test and GH

Keeping these principles in mind, that means to elicit muscle gains, one must lift heavy (to maximize test) and keep the intervals of rest short (to maximize GH secretion and create an acid environment to allow for muscle damage to occur). Continuing on with these principles, I think that if size is your goal, you would benefit most from looking into mountain dog training. In addition, I think DC training works very well, too. I'll even go as far as to say that one year I did an experiment where I hit heavy front squat doubles and singles on the minute for twenty to thirty minutes and walked away three months later with three extra inches per quad. So really, there are a lot of ways to increase size. If you need help putting a program together, let me know and I'm happy to help in more detail.

As far as frequency goes, I think it can be beneficial if 1) You have the means and/or ability to recover from it, and 2) Lifting sessions are kept under an hour. Hell, the guys overseas were champs at this—hitting multiple sessions per day at under an hour with heavy weights to optimize hormonal responses to training (GH and test). However, people have jobs, stress, lack of certain supplements, etc., and this isn't something that normally works for the Average Joe. Remember that gains are all about your ability to recover from training and your ability to put your body in an anabolic environment. So faster is relative.

- Jennifer Petrosino

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