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Fazc 06-12-2011 03:29 PM

Rest Periods, Longevity & Joint Health
Ok here may be a popular topic for the older lifters. Just read the first part if you don't like a long read!

My main interest is bodybuilding and being able to work hard without having to lift as heavy as I used to as my joints can no longer tolerate it. Personally i'm not hugely interested in the weight on the bar anymore as a goal in itself. I have a few squat/bench/dead videos and various trophies from my competitive days and that's just fine. However I will still keep adding weight to the bar as I know it will get me bigger/stronger. So i'm thinking about cutting rest periods down to as little as 30 seconds between sets even on heavy days. The reason for this is to be able to train hard but having less absolute weight on the bar. I've had some success doing this before. I know I can still gain strength like this. For example an excerpt from my log from last year:


Friday 12th March
Bench Press - 120kg x 7, 7, 7 PR!

Saturday 6th March
Bench Press - 90kg x 10, 10, 10 ... 80kg x 6 ... 70kg x 10 - 45 sec rest

Saturday 27th February
Bench Press - 90kg x 10, 10 ... 80kg x 10, 8 ... 70kg x 10 - 45 sec rest

Saturday 20th February
Bench Press - 120kg x 6, 6, 4 PR!
I noted at the time my joints never felt better and I could condense my workouts even moreso using this method. So something to ponder for the older guys interested primarily in bodybuilding, for longevity and joint health perhaps cutting rest periods to the bare minimum can be a valuable goal.

I know Steve Reeves trained like this, if anyone has any more material/opinions on the subject of very short rest periods i'd like to hear it.


Four years ago I was a recovering powerlifter with a severely torn hamstring. I still had the competitive urge but training in the manner I was used to only ever reinjured me and those competitive urges had to be laid to rest. My motivation to pursue casual bodybuilding was only ever for injury prevention and general fitness.

The last three years has involved me doing mainly full body routines. I've stuck quite rigidly to a H/L/M scheme and done this three times a week. The heavy day is defined by 3 min rest periods, light by 1 and medium by 2. The only progression has been towards more weight on the bar or increasing workload.

So fast forward to today, volume has progressed well; I can tolerate 18 sets per week, per bodypart pretty well. Weight on the bar is doing fine, I hit my best ever bench press and highest rep-squat with this method. Showing my hamstring is fully recovered, i'm stronger and bigger than before. However i'm still very cautious about injuries and anything I can do to lessen the impact on the joints/connective tissues the better.

BendtheBar 06-12-2011 04:29 PM

In 2008 I used Bulldozer training exclusively, which was all rest pause work. My joints felt great using this method.

I did 7 sets per exercise, with increasing rest periods over time:

30, 30, 60, 60, 90 and 120 seconds.

I also tried a 5 set variant:

30, 30, 60 and 60 seconds.

Rest periods aside, 2008 was my healthiest training year.

BendtheBar 06-12-2011 04:30 PM

I am on vacation, but am looking forward to contributing more to this discussion as I have time.

Wlfdg 06-12-2011 09:48 PM

I'm definately not a bodybuilder but I am a big fan of submaximal training and incomplete rest periods.
I really feel that it has contributed to me being able to continue using HFT and high volume into my 40's.

Density training enables submaximal training very efficiently.

Something else that has been great is sandbag training. Sand forces high motor unit recruitment, intense stabilization and flexibility with lighter weight than you would use with more rigid tools.

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