Tag Archive: rest-pause

Cut Day 22

Christmas present for myself – bro day

I borrowed a John Meadows workout (not stealing this and selling it John, please no cease and desist orders. Don’t shut down mah internet!). But I added on a little extra at the front end, because I know my trainer would want me to do 8 movements and not 6 Anyhoo, Meadows workouts rock, so may as well make my free day as awesome as possible.

Another thing my trainer wants me to do is rebuild my House of Cardio’s, so I signed up for a spin class. Spin first, Arms after.

Cardio: Spin class, 45 min of work, HIIT, intervals, hills, standing climbs, seated climbs, straight on races, lots of fun times. I haven’t done one in a while, so I am sure my legs will be tired, plus glutes, plus a sore buttbone. Nary a hot chick to be seen, what a pity. OK, to be fair, I sat in FRONT of the hot chicks and stuck my butt in THEIR face. Merry Christmas.

Preacher Curl Machine (keep full ROM, 60 sec of rest b/w sets)

50 x 8
70 x 8
90 x 8
90 x 8
90 x 8

Standing DB Curls (use Fat Gripz, keep hands supinated, 3 sec negative on each rep, 60 sec rest)

10s x 15
15s x 15
30s x 6
30s x 6
30s x 6

notes: could have maybe gone heavier, but with slow negs, it can be hard to guesstimate your weight off the start. Haven’t used the Fat Gripz in a while, welcome back!

EZ Bar Curls (Fat Gripz, 60s rest)

75 x 8
75 x 7
75 x 5
75 x 6, REST 20, 4 reps, REST 10, 2.5 reps

notes: I started to fade fast on this one, damn you Fat Gripz. I could have done some sloppy ones, but I wanted every rep to be correct and controlled, no lean back. On the last set, I would set it down, rest a little but, try to pump out a few more. Bar Curls are always tough on me, really makes the tendinitis flare, but I don’t think it will get me this time.

Standing DB Hammer Curls (60s rest)

40s x 8 reps, 8 partials
40s x 8 reps, 3 partials
40s x 8 reps, 7 partials

notes: by partials, it means just bring it up as close to halfway as you can, chit, even a handful of inches feels like hell at that point. I was just focusing on getting those full reps out, and had so little left for the partials. Forearms were fried, biceps were done.

Tricep Pushdown Machine (preacher style setup, 60 s rest)

50 x 8
70 x 8
90 x 8
100 x 8
110 x 8

Superset Rope Pushdowns and Pronated DB Kickbacks (spread the rope at the bottom and flex for 1 second each rep; kickbacks your palm stays pronated the whole time)

90 x 10 / 20s x 6
100 x 10 / 20s x 6
100 x 10 / 25s x 6
100 x 10 / 25s x 6

notes: 100 was the sweet spot for pushdowns, flexing for 1 second at peak contraction felt like murder! To the Mountain Dog’s credit, I like pronated kickbacks way more than neutral grip, I feel the squeeze much more in the triceps.

Decline Skullcrushers w/ Cambered Bar (put on the elbow sleeves, 60s rest)

60 x 15
60 x 15
60 x 15

notes: kept these tight and controlled, doing that on a bar is much easier than dumbbells, but it gets harder on the elbow so I used the sleeves.

I was thinking of doing Ab work after this, but I had passed the 2 hour mark and felt wrecked! Packed up my crap and went home.

Hope everyone has had a good weekend!

11/27 Chest

Bench Press

warm-up – Superset Bench and Rotator Cuff Work (no rest between supersets)

75 x 5 / over & backs w/ resistance band x 8

95 x 5 / o&b

110 x 5 / o&b

main – Superset Bench and Widegrip Free Cable Pulldowns (1-2 min rest b/w sets)

120 x 5 / 115 x 5

140 x 5 / 115 x 5

155 x 10 / 115 x 5

notes:  cable station was busy  had to share a lot.



Overhead Press  (no rest for warm ups)


60 x 5

75 x 5

85 x 5

main assist (90 sec rest)

115 x 5

115 x 5

115 x 5

115 x 5

115 x 5


Optional Assistance:  Arms

Used a rest-pause system:  you have 5 sets to hit the desired total number of reps, with 30 second breaks.

Closegrip Bench Press (30 rep goal)

185 x 3…

This was too heavy!  I realized my push was fried, so I dropped the weight a lot.

135 x 14


x 8


x 8

notes:  Too light.

Rope Pushdowns (35 rep goal)

52.5 x 14


x 12


x 9


Dumbbell Curls (35 rep goal)

25 x 22


x 13


Cable Curls (with v-bar attach, 35 rep goal)

47.5 x 10


x 12


x 10


x 3


notes:  I was being too conservative with the weights for this arm workout, I might have been wondering how the rest-pause would hit me, but I did fine.  Will go do it again in a few days and up the weights.  Had a good pump though.

Cycle 1 Week 2 Legs

Friday night Leg session!

Squats plus Assistance

Barbell Squats (60-120s rest)

100 x 5
125 x 5
150 x 5
175 x 3
200 x 3
225 x 8

notes: Good sets, got my hands in closer and kept my lats tight.

Prone Leg Curls (45 sec rest)

85 x 8
85 x 8
85 x 8
85 x 8 THEN 25 partials out of bottom ROM

notes: This weight felt better than last week, still ready to move up further.

45 degree Leg Press (one set, pause and stack on another plate then keep going)

12 plates x4 PAUSE 13 plates x 4 PAUSE 14p x 4 PAUSE 15p x 4

notes: This weight felt way better, some good grinds going on!

Leg Extensions (one long set with stretches in between micro sets, hold 2 seconds at top of rep for first 2 micro sets)

170 x 10 (hold each rep 2 seconds) THEN stretch quads 10 seconds each leg THEN 160 x 15 (hold 2 sec each rep) THEN stretch quads 15 seconds each leg THEN 150 x 20 (normal reps) THEN 15 partials out of bottom ROM

notes: just as awesome as last week!

DB SLDL (45 sec rest)

65s x 15
65s x 15

Superset Calf Raise and Dorsiflexion (45 sec rest after dorsiflexion)

65s x 10 HOLD 10 seconds 65s x 10 HOLD 10 secs 65s x 10 HOLD 10 sec THEN 50 Tibialis flexes (done standing)

REPEAT for a second set

notes: Make sense? 10 calf raises, then hold squeeze for 10 seconds, do that 3 times, then flex your tibialis 50 times – all 1 set

Great Friday night leg workout!

Finish What You Started

Hey! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, let me catch you up on my workouts.

Aug 14 and 15 were rest days from the weights.  I did my cardio, I did some twists.  On the Wednesday I went out at lunch with 2 coworkers and showed them a core workout they could do:  I led them through a few rounds of bicycle crunches, stability ball crunches, leg lifts, planks, side planks, windshield wipers, supermans.  They were quite happy!  One of my coworkers told me he had never done resistance training with his legs in his life – he had only ever done upper-body workouts and cardio.  Unsurprisingly, even lifting his straight legs off the ground gave him muscle soreness the next day, haha!  Can’t skip leg day bro.

Aug 16 the Friday I wanted to do calves and abs and shoulders.  So I split it up into the morning and the lunchtime workouts.

Friday am calves and abs

Spin class 60 min

Seated Calf Raises supersetted with roman chair knee raises (no rest, back and forth, starting and ending with calves… calfs??)

seated calf raise 90 x 10 (warmup) 115 x 20, 20, 20, 20, 20

knee raises x 20, 20, 20, 20

twist x 150

notes:  it was a really quick am workout, the spin class took the most time.  I actually wanted to do standing calf raises, but this guy was SORT OF doing sets of 4 or 5, then taking a break ON the machine while surfing the net on his phone, or texting his prom date or flashing his swag or whatever the kids do now-a-days.  I was so glad for the seated machine so I wouldn’t be forced to interact with this cretin.

At lunchtime my 2 coworkers headed out with me.  One of them went off to do his own workout (upper-body naturally, haha), and he occasionally needed me to spot him on bench press, which is coming along nicely for him, I must admit.  The other coworker, I had already showed her all the exercises she needed to do so I patted her on the back and wished her well, but she kept following me around, asking if she could just do whatever I was doing.  FINE!  I guess I don’t mind having a workout buddy at lunchtime, if it keeps her motivated and it gives me a few extra sparks of energy as I spot her, then all the better.

Friday noontime shoulders

superset DB side raises and front raises (60 sec rest b/w supersets starting and ending with side raises)

side raises 20s x 15, 15, 15

alternating front raises 20s x 15, 15

smith machine seated presses (trading sets w coworker) 70 + bar x 10; 110 + bar x 11, 12, 11

reverse pec deck (30 sec rest) 40 x 15, 15; 60 x 15, 15, 15, 15, 15

elliptical 15 min

notes:  I was hoping to do more on the smith machine but they just weren’t up for the challenge that day.  My coworker couldn’t keep up with 7 sets on the pec deck, after 2 sets she said screw this and went off to do cardio, haha!  I joined her after I did all 7.  It’s ok, the rear delts tire out pretty fast.

Saturday I had an EPICCCCCC leg day planned.  As luck would have it, I had a friend join me for this one too!  My friend Jamie, who has her very own blog at


she came to join me.  This was especially welcome, as I find leg days pretty scary still, and nothing like having a female join me because they LOVE leg day!  Even when they hate it they love it, they don’t skip leg day, they embrace it.

The theme of this leg day was ENDURANCE – finish what you started.  Go heavy, go until failure, then KEEP GOING.

Saturday AM leg day

first thing in the morning we headed to the gym for spin followed by weights

10-15 min warmup on the stairmaster

spin 60 min

weights (we rested when we traded sets)

Leg Extensions, 2 warmup sets, single 100 rep drop set, started at 180 and each time I failed I dropped a plate or two and kept going, until I completed all 100 reps.  All told I dropped about 7 times and went from 180 pounds to 90 pounds!

Leg Press, 2 warmup sets, 10 plates for 3 sets of 30 reps – go until failure, rest for 5-10 sec, do as many more as you can, until you hit 30

Standing Leg Curls – straight sets 80 x 20/20, 20/20, 20/20

Hack Squats – 2 warmup sets, 6 plates for 3 sets of 30 reps – go until failure, rest for 5-10 sec, do as many more as you can, until you hit 30

twists x 150

notes:  this workout is simple but brutal.  Not a lot of exercises, but designed to push your endurance and your limits, pushing past failure to hopefully some solid gains.  Done correctly, this exercise GUARANTEES leg DOMS in your future!  And the stairmaster and spin class was a great warmup to get the blood flowing.

I was crab-walking after the leg extensions 100 rep drop set, and by the time I was leaving the gym, my steps were very wobbly.  It’s sunday as I type this, and the early DOMS are upon me (leg DOMS usually hit me worse on Day 2, so I have more to look forward to)

Sunday is a rest day!  Hooray!

How about you?  Did you make it out to the gym this weekend?

the beauty of inches

One of the things I like about weightlifting is that you can measure your progress in single digits.

I pressed 185 lbs 6 times last week, and I did it 7 times this week.  I have gotten better.

I pressed 185 lbs and waited 60 seconds before doing it again.  This week I only waited 45 seconds.  I have gotten better.

My arms are 1 inch bigger around.  I lost 2 pounds.  I swung the kettlebell 3 inches higher.  GETTING BETTER.


See what I mean?  inches, seconds, pounds, reps, sets  – it all becomes a game of single digits.  You can watch yourself incrementally, mathematically improve.  All very appealing to the meticulous, calculating mind.  Also a treat for the OCD crowd.


Monday was chest & tri day.


dumbbell press (2 min rests):  50 x 21, 60 x 15, 70 x 10, 80 x 6, 90 x 5, 80 x 6, 70 x 8, 60 x 15, 50 x 17

pec dec (30s rests):  120 x 13, 9, 8, 7, 3

2 hand dumbbell extension (30s rests):  70 x 15, 7, 2**, 5, 2

rope pressdowns:  120 x 6, 5, 5


notes:  I was running late, so brief cardio before and after, maybe 10 min before, 10 min after.

Once again climbing the ladder of dumbbells.  The weight keeps steadily going up every week not because I am gaining muscle every week, but because I am establishing the mind-muscle connection, getting used to the demands of this exercise in this way.

Whenever someone is new to lifting, or has been on a break, their weight goes up steadily.  5 pounds a week with no stopping is pretty normal.  That doesn’t mean it lasts forever, don’t think for a second you will be benching 400 pounds in your first year.  You aren’t Superman.

this isn’t you


No, your weight is going up steadily because your mind is “learning” how to use the muscle you have to its fullest extent possible.  You are finding your potential, so to speak.  Once the progress slows down to a crawl, and you are lucky to put 5 pounds on your bench every other month, THEN you are growing muscle and your potential has increased.  Then you start to measure your progress in terms of “one more rep”.


So during this “neural adaptation” phase at the start, be grateful for the steady progress, and focus on keeping good form.

so, I am adapting, and the weight is rising.  I couldn’t do more than 4 reps with the 80s two weeks ago, and this week 6 reps, then 5 more with the 90s.  Very exciting!  The 100 pound dumbbells are almost within my grasp!  It’s an awesome moment when a guy gets to use the 100 pound dumbbells, whether he is a featherweight or a lardbutt, he gets excited.  I can’t wait…

oh yes… you will be mine…



When it was time for triceps, I experimented with the rest-pause.  Normally it is 30 seconds but I was eager to go on my third mini-set, and I jumped back in after 20 seconds.  My triceps failed fast!!  At first I thought I was just running out of gas, but on my next miniset I waited the full 30 seconds, and felt MUCH stronger, finished out the macroset.  See what I mean about a game of single digits?  10 seconds meant sooo much to my muscle recovery, every inch counts, it is a constant struggle to overload yourself in a constructive way every time.


two handed extensions


So the extensions hit the long head of my triceps, then I did some pressdowns to hit the lateral head, but by that point my arms were pretty dead.  so I kept it slow and tried to squeeze them out.


See you later!

the one-legged squat

Friday I showed up faithfully to the gym around 6-6:30 am.  Getting back into the swing of things.


After some warm-up, I wanted to try out one-legged squats.  I KNEW this would be challenging,  I had been playing around with bodyweight squats for a while, taking my butt all the way down to the ground, with my feet wide, with my heels touching, all over the place.  But cutting your muscle power in half without reducing the weight is a big step.  I was not expecting picture perfect pistols off the start.

Al Kavadlo


I started out trying to place my off foot heel on a medicine ball.  I would lower down, use my heel on the ball to assist with the push as I get back up.  Easy right?

seemed possible


I got VERY uncomfortable trying to lower myself down on one leg.  It felt so unnatural!  I tried with a few different-sized exercise balls, but it was the drop on my supporting leg that was giving me a mental block.


After a few false starts, I decided ok, new plan.  I headed over to a bench.  I would go down halfway on one leg, my butt would hit the bench, go back up.  Since it was only halfway, I tried to suspend my off foot in the air.

Again, mental block, my off foot would not stay up.  So I rested my heel on the floor and lowered down and pushed back up.  It was tedious, awkward work.  Definitely out of my comfort zone.  I also didn’t look very cool.  It also tired out my legs, which was a great consolation.  I ended up doing maybe a set of 10 of the uneven bench squats on each leg.


I then did a limited rest-pause set of 50 leg presses on each leg, a limited rest-pause set of leg curls (50 each leg), some frog raises for my abs (about 50), and some standing calf raises (about 300).  20 more minutes of cardio, then off to work!


Has anyone out there had to put in a lot of work to get into the one-leg pistol squat?  I would love to hear more.


For a progression tutorial, you can’t go wrong with reading Al Kavadlo.  He has an awesome website on bodyweight work.