For the average person, aesthetics will always be the most popular reason for embarking on a bodybuilding journey. And unless the individual is a genetic freak, they will probably have to start training in pretty unfavorable conditions, be it poor physical strength caused by a sedentary lifestyle, inability to gain mass or carrying too much excess body fat, which means they need an adequate training methodology to propel them toward the goal of becoming a ripped beast.
Although there are many great training protocols out there, the one more and more people keep coming back to is rest-pause training such as the RP-21 protocol, a specific high-intensity combination of heavy weights and short rest periods that has the potential to transform ordinary physiques into symbols of superior masculinity. This style of training isn’t something new, in fact it’s been used for a long time in the fitness game, with legendary Iron Guru Vince Gironda advocating it back in the 1950.
We don’t pretend to know which training program would be perfect for your personal strengths and weaknesses and ultimate goals, but we’re pretty sure that RP-21 will provide you with substantial gains and help you exploit your full muscle building potential further than you may expect, regardless of your current level of strength and size.
Here’s how to make the most out of it.
Can You Successfully Train for Multiple Goals?
One common mistake people make is not committing truly to one single goal when training – lifters usually want to progress in more, if not all, physical aspects simultaneously. However, most training programs are designed for a specific purpose and primarily focus on one aspect of fitness, so it’s impossible for them to optimally cover all specific goals.
Therefore, no one should expect to get everything from one protocol, as this kind of thinking will only result in disappointment and perhaps an unjust classification of one’s training regimen as “worthless”.
That being said, different programs can overlap in certain points. An individual might get incredibly strong with a bodybuilding-oriented program, while someone else can grow surprisingly huge muscles with a strength-oriented plan. Still, such variations in training response are heavily influenced by genetics, age, diet, previous experience, etc.
By the way, did you notice that we used “most training programs” instead of “all training programs” in the first paragraph of this section? That’s because, believe it or not, we know of one training system, called RP-21 (Rest-Pause 21) that when properly used, will allow you to train for strength, performance and aesthetics at the same time, and make astonishing gains in all three aspects. This article will give you a detailed map of the road to the best physique you can possibly build, so read very carefully and apply the following recommendations as strictly as you can.
Increasing Training Density With Rp-21
Rest-pause training incorporates very short rest periods, usually around 10-15 seconds, unlike traditional programs that allow you to rest up to 5 minutes between sets. Long pauses have been repeatedly found to significantly decrease the efficiency of a workout by causing the muscles to cool down too much and reducing anabolic hormone production and blood flow.
The RP-21 variant of rest-pause training, however, uses rest pauses of 30-60 seconds between sets – that’s obviously more than 15 seconds, but it’s still a lot less time than what you’d usually take when doing traditional heavy sets. According to exercise scientists, this particular duration of rest pauses is ideal for getting an optimal amount of work done in a short period of time, or in other words, achieving maximum training density.
Let’s try to define training density and explain why this is a crucial component of bodybuilding progress. Training density is the result of two specific factors of training – volume and duration; volume being defined as the total workload (sets and reps) you perform in a given workout and duration as the length of time that workout lasts. By combining these two, we get training density, or “the amount of sets multiplied by the number of reps completed within a certain timeframe.”
Now, it’s kind of a no-brainer that by increasing the amount of work you do in a given amount of time (density), you are able to improve your work capacity. And the end result of that process is greater hypertrophy and boosted strength, endurance and power.
So for example, you could be deadlifting 275×5 for 4 sets while resting 3 minutes in between rounds, which totals to 12 minutes of rest. Together with an estimated 30 seconds per set, it will take you around 15 minutes to complete the entire routine. But what if you performed 285×3 for 7 sets, resting only one minute between rounds?
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