I’ve got a workout for you that’s very simple and very challenging—and it’s going to push the limits of what you think your body is capable of when it comes to high-volume, high-intensity training. Use this technique regularly, and you’ll develop some incredible strength endurance.
First, choose a heavy compound exercise (I like to use Trap Bar deadlifts, but you can use regular deadlifts, squats, bench presses, overhead presses or whatever compound move you like.). Load up with a weight you can hit at least eight to 10 reps with in a normal straight-through set.
Instead, you do single reps with that weight, taking 20-second rests between reps, until you can no longer do any more reps with good form.
That’s it. Simple, straightforward and single-minded. Just perform continuous singles with 20 seconds of rest after each until you can’t do any more.
Your body will get accustomed to the weight, your nervous system will develop and reinforce the movement pattern pathways to become very efficient with it, and you’ll get lots of training volume with a relatively heavy weight.
This technique is a workout in itself. The first time I did it, I got through 43 reps with 455 pounds in about 20 minutes—and I was done. That was my entire workout, and I didn’t feel the need to do anything else.
If you want to use this technique with so-called smaller exercises—like close-grip bench presses, for example—you can use a couple of movements in one workout without having your nervous system completely shut down. Just know that the second exercise you do is going to net you many fewer reps, especially if there is any overlap in muscles being worked, as there would be with, say, bench presses and overhead presses.
For a big exercise like deadlifts or squats, most likely doing the one extended rest/pause set all the way through will be plenty. Trust me, you will feel it, even though it seems like a short workout.
The extended rest/pause framework will enable you to push your body to the limits. It’s a great technique for when you want to lift relatively heavy but still want to get some good training volume for mass building and strength endurance.
You can use it as an occasional challenge workout or as a regular part of your training, though I wouldn’t recommend doing it more than once a week, as it’s very demanding on the nervous system, which takes longer to recover than muscle tissue.
This technique will show you what you’re made of when it comes to strength, endurance and mental determination. The next time you’re looking for a challenge, pick an exercise and give it a try! —Nick Nilsson
Editor’s note: To get a copy of Nick’s Muscle Explosion—28 Days to Maximum Mass, visit his Web site, www