As a personal trainer, I'm frequently asked about ways to pack more quality training volume into a single session.
While super sets are a popular training method for many gym-goers, another approach gaining momentum in recent years is Myo-Reps, also known as rest-pause reps.
Developed by Borge Fagerli in the mid-2000s, this training protocol has been widely used by bodybuilders to grow a specific muscle group.
Through extensive research, I've put together a Myo-Reps workout designed to help you achieve your fitness goals faster.
- Myo-Reps workout involves an activation set and three to six mini sets (about 25% of the activation set), depending on the particular exercise and your fitness level.
- The Myo-Rep workout allows you to perform quality volume in a limited time, build muscle mass, and reduce joint stress.
- Myo-Reps' drawbacks include increased risk of injury, limited muscle stimulation, and increased recovery time.
To perform the Myo-Reps method, Fagerli recommends adjusting the loading based on your fitness level:
- 40% 1-RM (repetition maximum) for beginners;
- 50% 1-RM for intermediates;
- 60% 1-RM for advanced athletes .
Remember that it's essential to maintain the same weight for the activation and mini sets.
For the first Myo-Rep set called the activation set, perform one set within the fifteen to twenty rep range of the rear delt machine fly exercise (or any other single-joint exercise of your choice) with five to fifteen seconds of rest.
Following the activation set, perform three to six mini sets of the same exercise, aiming for three to five reps that should be around 25% of the activation set. For instance, if your activation set was twenty reps, aim for five reps of mini sets after.
Perform each mini-set with five to fifteen seconds of rest between sets to maintain high fiber recruitment .
“Examples of good exercises for Myo-Reps would include (but aren’t limited to): leg extensions, forearm curls, bicep curls, calf raises, shrugs, rear delt flyes, lateral raises, hamstring curls, ab crunches, and tricep pushdowns.” - Tony Lu, Fitness Editor
Why Are Myo-Reps Used?
Myo Reps are used to get your muscles close to failure and increase mechanical tension, which will increase muscle mass and strength.
This is particularly helpful for gym enthusiasts with limited time for exercise or who want to streamline their workouts.
This training technique allows you to target specific muscle groups with high intensity more efficiently.
It helps your body adapt and grow stronger by getting your muscles close to failure and recruiting greater amounts of muscle fibers.
Another reason why Myo-Reps are used is to prevent and overcome plateaus in muscle mass and strength.
As you continue to train, your body will adapt to the same exercises and rep schemes, making it hard to witness progress.
Research has found that regular exercises can lead to the plateau effect, where your body becomes accustomed to the same routine and you stop witnessing progress.
It is important to vary your workout methods to effectively challenge your muscles and improve muscle performance output .
By incorporating Myo-Reps, you introduce a new level of intensity that your muscles are not used to, challenging your body to grow stronger.
“Only when you threaten the existing limits of the muscle is when your body says, okay, this is a real threat. We need to make some adaptations here to deal with this Those last few stimulative reps are usually referred to as “effective reps,” whereas the non-stimulative reps that come before are sometimes referred to as junk reps.”
- Sean Nalewanj, Editor
Myo-Rep sets extend the efficiency of traditional sets.
They can be applied to any exercise while requiring no change in equipment or weight, making them a perfect fit for gym enthusiasts who prefer not to rely on a workout partner.
The added volume of Myo-Reps has been shown to be highly effective during four to eight week hypertrophy cycles, especially for lagging muscle groups that may require additional volume to spur new muscle growth.
What Are the Benefits of Myo-Reps Workout?
The benefits of Myo-Reps workout are increased muscle recruitment, enhanced muscle endurance, and enhanced training efficiency.
- Quality volume while saving time - With traditional set/rep schemes, only the last few reps of each set are productive. Still, every Myo-Rep rep is effective, increasing the overall quality of your workout. You can achieve a great workout in less time by reducing your rest period from 60-90 seconds to 10-15 seconds.
- Avoiding plateaus - Myo Reps provide a unique physical challenge, pushing lifters in different ways and adding depth to their training.
- Less joint stress - Myo-Rep sets place less emphasis on joints as they work best with moderate weights and high reps.
- Muscle growth - Myo-Reps eliminate “junk reps” and allow you to promote muscle growth through effective reps and very short rest periods that trigger metabolic stress and produce a significant pump.
- Variety in workouts - Myo-Reps offer variety to your workout routine, helping you break through plateaus and rekindling your motivation for training.
- Fat loss - To recover from the high degree of metabolic stress, your body will start to burn fat.
“While Myo-Reps are very good for hypertrophy, they’re not much good for building strength. Myo-Reps cause a lot of metabolic stress and a powerful pump, but the weights are too light to do much for your strength.”
- Patrick Dale, Training Editor
What Are the Drawbacks of Myo-Reps Workout?
The drawbacks of Myo-Reps Workout are a higher risk of injury, Central Nervous system (CNS) fatigue, limited strength training, and increased Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
- Limitations for building strength - If your goal is to develop strength, the Myo-Reps Workout may not be your best bet. Strength training demands lifting heavy weights to burn fat, which Myo Reps does not deliver.
- Cardio can limit progress - If you can't complete the necessary reps or mini-sets because of poor cardio, you won't benefit from the Myo-Reps advantages. This is why choosing easy movements and avoiding barbell squats is recommended.
- Uneven exercise performance - Myo-Reps do not work well for lengthy setups, lifts that challenge lower back strength, or technical lifts. This means that you may need to use standard sets and reps for specific exercises in your workout and reserve Myo Reps for others.
- You can’t use Myo-Reps with all exercises - You can’t use Myo-Reps with very technical exercises as it will be hard to focus on technique when you’re training to failure. Myo-Reps work best for isolation exercises.
- Intensity and exhaustion - Training to failure can be physically and mentally draining. In a Myo-Reps workout, more than half your reps will push you to near failure. It's important to prioritize rest, sleep and monitor for overtraining issues.
Are Myo-Reps Good for Building Muscle?
Yes, Myo-Reps are good for building muscle; keeping the rest periods short keeps the tension on the muscles, which is what leads to growth.
Are Myo-Rep Sets More Effective than Straight Sets?
Yes, Myo-Rep sets are more effective than straight sets due to providing more muscle activation and higher levels of metabolic stress.
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I always advise my clients to add one of the tried-and-true protein powders below:
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