Myo-Reps Workout: The Ultimate Guide for Building Muscle

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: January 29, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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As a certified 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 gymgoers, 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.

Quick Summary

  • To build muscle effectively, incorporating Myo-Reps into your workout routine can be highly beneficial, as it involves an activation set followed by several mini-sets to maximize muscle engagement.
  • The Myo-Reps workout, developed by Borge Fagerli, is designed for bodybuilders to grow specific muscle groups, utilizing a method that combines high intensity with short rest periods.
  • According to a study on the PubMed website, rest intervals of 3-5 minutes between sets allow for greater repetitions over multiple sets and produce greater increases in absolute strength and muscular power, while shorter rest intervals of 30–60 seconds are more effective for muscular hypertrophy.
  • In my experience, I find the Myo-Reps approach to be an innovative and efficient way to enhance muscle growth and workout intensity, especially for those looking to optimize their training time.

Myo-Reps Workout

A person in the gym doing myo reps workout

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 [1].

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, based on my experience, I advise performing 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, according to one of the studies from the PubMed website [2].

Why Are Myo-Reps Used?

A buff male in the gym doing Myo Reps

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.

In my experience, 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.

According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, it is important to vary your workout methods to effectively challenge your muscles and improve muscle performance output [3].

“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?

A person in the gym lifting weights for myo reps workout

The benefits of the Myo-Reps workout, as observed through my experience and research, include increased muscle recruitment, enhanced muscle endurance, and improved 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?

A person doing myo reps workout in the gym

The drawbacks of Myo-Reps Workout, based on my experience, are a heightened risk of injury, increased Central Nervous System (CNS) fatigue, limitations in strength training, and a higher likelihood of experiencing 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.

Which Muscle Groups Are Best Suited for Myo-Reps Training?

Larger muscle groups like the legs, back, and chest are particularly well-suited for Myo-Reps due to their capacity for greater volume and intensity. These muscle groups can benefit significantly from the high-rep, short-rest approach of Myo-Reps, leading to effective hypertrophy and strength gains.

How Can Myo-Reps Be Combined with Other Training Techniques for a Comprehensive Workout?

Myo-Reps can be effectively combined with other training techniques, such as traditional hypertrophy training or functional fitness exercises, to create a diverse and comprehensive workout routine. This combination allows for the intensity of Myo-Reps to be balanced with the variety offered by other techniques, optimizing muscle growth and overall fitness.

What Are the Psychological Challenges Associated with Myo-Reps Training?

The psychological challenges associated with Myo-Reps training involve maintaining focus and determination through intense and demanding sets, which require mental resilience. This training style pushes individuals to their limits, fostering mental toughness and a strong workout ethic.

What Nutritional Considerations Should Be Taken into Account for Myo-Reps Training?

For Myo-Reps training, nutritional considerations that should be taken into consideration are protein for muscle repair, carbohydrates for energy, and proper hydration. The timing of meals is also crucial, with emphasis on pre- and post-workout nutrition to fuel the intense workouts and aid in recovery.


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About The Author

Senior Coach
Tyler Sellers is a trained athlete and author with contributions to publications like Men’s Health, The Healthy, Fox Business, NerdWallet, Weight Watchers, and MSN. His unique approach extends beyond physical techniques, emphasizing the significance of mental techniques like the flow state and mind-muscle connection.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
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Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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