4 Day Rest Pause RP-21 Muscle Building Workout System

RP-21 rest pause training helps you to increase muscle size and aesthetics. This 4 day upper/lower workout split focuses on big compound movements with no fluff.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
4 weeks
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

RP-21 Intro

The main reason that we start training is because we are interested in making changes to our physique.  When I began to take interest in training my teens, my goal was to look like a superhero.

Strength and performance became more important as I began to compete in track.  But aesthetics will always be the most popular reason for the average person.

There are many great training protocols that focus on one of the above three.  For example the great 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler is designed mainly for increases in strength.  Vince Gironda’s timeless 8×8 is designed mainly for changes in the aesthetic quality of your physique.

Schemes can be adapted to reach different goals, but all schemes are designed for a specific purpose.  Yes you will gain more than only strength with 5/3/1.  And yes you will gain more than just physique changes with 8×8.  But what if there was a way to blend strength, performance, and physique changes into one program?

My goal today is to present you with my RP-21 training scheme which utilizes the underrated and underused rest pause technique.  This scheme blends strength, performance, and aesthetics.  And the great part about it is that it is as simple as logging into to your email.

Ez Bar Curls

What is Rest Pause Training?

RP-21 is based on the rest pause technique of training.  Rest Pause is a high value, high intensity training style that is not new at all.  As we know most people do not truly commit to a goal when training.  The common theme is that a person wants to achieve max levels of all attributes simultaneously.  Admirable, but sadly mistaken.

You cannot chase every goal at once.  What I want to make crystal clear before moving forward is this.  If your goal is specific (strength, performance, etc) no single program can cover every base perfectly.

If was I was training a pure powerlifter, RP-21 would not be his main training scheme throughout the year.  His goals are different.  He would need to feel heavier loads with longer rests which are not a part of RP-21.  Remember this is a blended program, not a specific one.  You will get very strong, but this is not a strength specialization plan.  This is a total body reconstruction plan.

When training for strength, performance, and lean mass you need a scheme that allows for progressive overload.  Without a challenge (load, reps, shorter rest, etc) you are wasting time in the gym.  Muscles need new challenges to grow.

3×10 every week with 135lbs on the bench is for casual jabronis.  And you are better than that.  What if there was a were a way to keep the weight moderately heavy to heavy (70-85% of maximum) while performing more reps with that heavy load in a shorter time frame?

For example if you squat 225×5 for 4 sets resting 3 minutes in between rounds, that is 12 minutes of rest plus let us estimate up to 30 seconds per set.  You are probably up near 14-17 total minutes to complete that series of 20 reps.  But what if you did 235×3 for 7 sets resting one minute in between rounds.  That is 7 minutes of rest plus the estimated 15-20 seconds per set.  This puts us at 9-11 minutes to complete those 21 reps while using a heavier load.

Rest pause allows you to use a heavier weight broken down in smaller increments to reach a higher volume of work in less time.  Don’t you think your legs will respond differently?  Could the ultimate blend of using higher weight for higher reps be created?

As I stated earlier, the concept of rest pause is not new.  If we look back to the 1950′s we can use the legendary Iron Guru, Vince Gironda as an example.  His famed protocol is 8×8.  When you break down 8×8 to its base, you can clearly see that it is Rest Pause.  This scheme involves 8 sets of 8 reps with a very short (15-30 seconds) rest between sets.

Obviously with a rest interval this short, the load could not be but so heavy or you would have zero chance to complete it.  Gironda’s famed 8×8 protocol is supreme for conditioning.  It is not designed to build maximum strength.  But with RP-21 we are getting a blend of strength and conditioning.

Pull Ups

Ok it sounds great, but what is RP-21?

With RP-21 the goal is muscular strength, better performance and increased lean mass gains.  In layman’s terms, you will be strong, athletic, muscular, and walking around with new confidence.  RP-21 focuses on 7 rest-paused sets of 3 reps each with 70-85% of your max.  The wildcard is that the rest periods are only one minute in between sets.

For example 300lbs is your max full squat.  Using 70% of your max would leave you at 225lbs.  You would use 225lbs for each set of 3 until you reached 21.  I would recommend you starting on the low end of the percentage at 70.  You do not want to set yourself up to NOT be able to progress in the following weeks.

The opening sets and weight may not feel supremely tough.  As each week progresses in the program, the weight gets heavier and the rest feels like it is getting shorter.  You are guaranteed to run into a wall of pain and doubt very soon.  RP-21 will sneak up on you like Tebow against the Steelers.

Now with training all variables are changeable.  Rest periods could be altered to make the set more intense, but that will limit the load you can use.  Run this program as written to maximize it.  So stick to the one minute rest to maintain heavy loads.  Trust me on the big compound movements it gets real!

Initially, I would use 70% of your max for the first week to get a feel for the protocol.  I would suggest a 5-10lb increase on squat or deadlift each week and a 2.5-5lb increase on bench press or overhead press or chin up/dip.  Progress slowly because the goal is not to hit the wall and burn out.  The 21 reps should not be a leisurely walk in the park with your lover.

The RP-21 set is the most important set of your day, so prepare your mind for it.  As you progress through the program, doubt should creep into your brain as you get closer to 21.  And sometimes, you may not make it to 21.  If you fail and say the total rep number is 15 for that day in your squat, you will try to improve on that the next week.  If you cannot reach 21 at a certain weight within 3 workouts, you will sub out that move for a different one that targets the same muscles.

The programming protocol is centered around big compound movements so that you can make proper gains.  Fake hustle movements like triceps kickbacks, bosu ball one-legged squats, and jogging are not included at all.


When I initially designed RP-21 there were two different frequency schemes.  Not that either one is bad, but I have evolved it a bit.  This is a 4 day lifting split.  There will be two lower body days and two upper body days.  Your big movement of the day will be the RP-21 scheme.  7 sets x 3 reps with a 1 minute rest period.  For your RP-21 moves I recommend:

  • Squat-Back, Front, or Barbell Hack just make sure you are deep in the bucket for Front and Back.  Half squats get half results.
  • Deadlift-Conventional, Sumo, or Romanian
  • Bench Press-Flat, Incline, Decline or Close Grip
  • Overhead Press-Standing, Seated, or Push
  • Pull Ups-Pulls, Chins, or Hammer
  • Dips
  • Cleans-Hang or Power
  • Hip Thrusts

In time you will need a weight belt for chins/dips if you are not already there at the moment. Using the right moves will have you on the path to success…

Accessory Moves

The main moves can be used as the accessory moves too if you choose.  The accessory moves will be slightly modified rest pause sets using a 6 sets by 5 reps method with a 30 second rest between sets.  The 6×5 sets are muscle incinerators as they are also performed with a moderate load that feels HEAVY after a few short rounds.

The 6×5 sets are tougher than the 7×3 sets.  But these are the sets where you earn your conditioning and toughness.  Accessory moves should start much lower than your 7×3 sets.  50-55% of your max is a good starting point.


Perform as 2 day on/1 day off/2 day on/2 days off scheme.  This is a sample scheme focusing on the basic moves that build the best physique.  The good part about RP-21 is that we are flexible with movements.  As I stated earlier, rotating your squats, deadlifts, presses etc is a great idea.  Worrying about trying to find out where to add in your cable crossovers or your machine bicep curls is a bad plan for success.

There is a term for this and it is called majoring in the minors.  The moves that you need to do will be responsible for the vast majority of your results.  The moves that look flashy in the magazines will not help you.   Focus on the basic moves to build a complete physique.   Follow the same moves for 3 weeks before thinking about making slight changes to movements.

Day 1
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 7 3
Hip Thrust 6 5
Dumbbell Lunge 6 5
Glute Ham Raise 6 5
Seated Calf Raise 6 5
Day 2
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 7 3
Chin Ups 6 5
Incline Dumbbell Press 6 5
Dumbbell Shrug 6 5
Barbell Curl 6 5
Skullcrusher 6 5
Day 3
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Romanian Deadlifts 7 3
Leg Press 6 5
Dumbbell Stretch Lunge 6 5
Leg Curl 6 5
Standing Calf Raise 6 5
Day 4
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Pull Ups 7 3
Dumbbell Bench Press 6 5
One Arm Rows 6 5
Lateral Raises 6 5
Preacher Curl 6 5
Dips 6 5

It really does not get any simpler than that.  No gimmicks or complicated scheme to follow.  RP-21 allows for a lot of flexibility as far the moves are concerned.  Every single move above could be replaced with another tough move that will target the muscles in a challenging fashion.  As I stated, stick with the same segment of moves for 3 weeks before changing them slightly.

Because RP-21 is a high intensity protocol, off setting it every 3 weeks with a high volume scheme (Gironda 8×8, German Volume Training etc) is a great idea.  You cannot go high intensity with heavy loads every single week.  At that rate your joints will erode like the economy did in 2007.

Dumbbell Press


Deloads are very individual.  I personally have experimented with numerous deload schemes.  What works best for me is a 3 weeks on and 1 week deload.  I escalate my training so that the third week is brutal leading into the deload.  This gives me plenty of time to recover.

You can deload however when you feel it is necessary for your body.  To deload, you can perform a simple legs/push/pull split using 2-3 moves per day with reduced total volume.  3 sets of 6-8 reps will work.


People complicate nutrition more than Facebook relationship statuses.  Your nutrition simply needs to match your goal.  For starters your macros must match up according to your goal.  Protein will typically be 1-1.5 grams per lb of bodyweight.  Your fat and carbohydrates are going to vary based on what you are planning to do.  For example to gain great strength and size with RP-21 you will need to increase your total caloric intake and increase your carbohydrate consumption.

To lose fat with RP-21 your need to decrease your caloric intake and lower your carbohydrate consumption.  If you are carb sensitive, than that will be the most important macro to monitor.  And if you want to gain without excessive fat gain, you will want to have low fat on your high carb days and higher fat on your low carbs days.  Typically the combination of high carbs and high fat at the same time will make you fat.


You could add in 1-2 days of cardio with this scheme if it is in line with your current goals.  The options are very basic but insanely effective.  You can either perform sprints for 5-10 sets with distances typically between 30-100 meters.  Or you can perform bodyweight training complexes.  Whichever one you choose, just make sure it is short and to the point.  Leave the 2 hour treadmill sessions to the bozos in the “cardio” section.


Training schemes give the game rules and structure.  It allows you to reach new goals, and keeps you highly accountable for your progress.  If you are skipping days or putting in half effort, than you will not progress on any program.

You will however look and feel like the average Casual Conrad who hasn’t seen any progress since Myspace was relevant.  Do not be a casual lifter.  Make RP-21 part of your yearly training split to reach new levels of strength and performance.

107 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 12/22/2015 - 17:23

Is this good for a 50 yr old??

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Posted Wed, 11/11/2015 - 18:58
Manuel toledo

Hey just wondering, where could we fit in cleans to this program. I know it would be best as the rp21 move, but on a lower or upper day

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Posted Tue, 08/04/2015 - 04:12

Just wondering if I am supposed to keep the weight the same all the through each of the sets or can the weight be changed throughout the sets? Also there is a lack of shoulder exercises, can I add in a shoulder move ? Cheers

MikeWines's picture
Posted Tue, 08/04/2015 - 09:50

You're still getting a good bit of shoulders with the incline DB press but you could also throw some overhead press on Day 4 just the same.

You're can go with the pyramid option where you increase the weight every set or you can do straight sets, it's up to you. I prefer to use both options depending upon my programming.

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Posted Tue, 07/28/2015 - 15:03
Pete Saunders

Would it be okay to run this program with the same philosophy in mind, but with a different split? IE Chest/Tris.. Back/Bis..ETC? Thanks in advance.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Wed, 07/29/2015 - 10:00

You could but it wouldn't necessarily be any better.

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Posted Tue, 03/24/2015 - 16:53
Dan Gromik

Hi Eric,
Thank you very much for this great article.
Quick Question? I did not see anything about warming up prior to starting the daily workout.
Do you recommend light warm up sets/stretching/light plyometrics prior to starting your first 7x3 for the daily workout?



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Posted Sat, 01/31/2015 - 05:30

Hi, I've started doing this workout routine, I had killer pain in my legs after the first workout, the second exercise on the first day "Hip Thrusts" the video is showing flat bench leg raises.
What exercise are you supposed to do?

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Posted Wed, 08/05/2015 - 16:04
Eric Brown

Hey Philip,

Your legs are being stressed in new way. The result is the deep soreness you are feeling after trying RP-21. Trust me it gets better as you get better!

For the Barbell Hip Thrust I am not sure why the link is not working. You could send a message to Muscle and Strength so that they could address the issue.

In the meantime, you could check out my tutorial on the hip thrust at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmygV_uwdIg.

Good luck with RP-21!

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Posted Tue, 11/25/2014 - 09:17

Looks like a great routine...Just one question, with regards to switching out after week three. Is it advisable to do 3 weeks of rp21 and switch to gvt for 3 weeks before going back to rp21 or is it better to do 3 weeks of rp21 and then deload for a week using a high volume routine and go back to rp21? . Also is there an alternate exercise for hip thrusts? Is it ok to use front squats instead of the lunges on day one?

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Posted Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:53

Hey Eric, I'm working out from home (no machines) just free weights. Any suggestions on replacing machine exercises with free weights (leg curls, ham raise etc.)??

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Posted Sat, 01/31/2015 - 14:32
Eric Brown

Hey PJ,

Thanks for checking out RP-21.

As far as replacing he machine movements you can do this:
Leg Press can be replaced with Barbell Hack Squat
Leg Curl can be replaced with Glute Ham Raise

The link to my barbell hack squat tutorial is here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/barbell-hack-squats-workouts-...

For glute ham raises, you do not need the actual glute ham developer. You simply need something to hold your ankles down. Another name for this is the Russian Leg Curl. A link to a description of that is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jydIY4sX8tE.

Good luck with RP-21!

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Posted Mon, 11/10/2014 - 17:15

Looks like a great plan, thanks for the info. I'm 45 years old and work out from home. Bench-squat rack and dumbells. Can you recommend some alternate exercises for the ones listed that require machines?


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Posted Mon, 11/17/2014 - 09:43
Eric Brown

Hey P.J,

Thanks for reading this article. The great thing about RP-21 is that it can adapted to work with most movements. For example:

1) Barbell Hack Squat can replace Leg Press. In my experience the Barbell Hack Squat is the more effective move but I put the Leg Press in to avoid having to do RDL's and BHS's on the same day. It can be done and I have done it but it will beat up your grip and tax your low back. This can make for a longer recovery period.

2) Glute Ham Raises can replace Leg Curls. Although GHR's are already on the protocol, you could use them twice in a week. For best results you can change how you do them on the second day by changing the tempo for a slight variation.

If you have more questions on training programming please send me an email at Fitman@FitmanPerformance.com. Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 11/03/2014 - 12:59

Going to start this today! Love the idea of this training. Is every set in the workout a rest-pause set? If that is the case, how do I perform a rest-pause deadlift? Thank you so much in advance!!!

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Posted Wed, 11/05/2014 - 13:51
Eric Brown

Hey Ben,

Thanks for reading the article.

Every set of the RP-21 scheme is a rest pause set of either 7x3 or 6x5. The 7x3 sets have a 1 minute rest between sets. The 6x5 sets have a 30 second rest between sets.

A rest pause deadlift for example in a 7x3 fashion would be performed by performing 3 reps of the deadlift and then resting 1 minute before performing 3 more reps. You would repeat this for 7 sets.

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Posted Tue, 05/20/2014 - 02:36

Hi, was just wondering if it would be wise to run this workout using the same setup with rep ranges and rest time, but as a four day split with more excersises focusing on two particular body parts each workout? for example, do shoulders and biceps monday, back/ traps tuesday, rest/cardio wednesday, chest and triceps thursday, rest/ cardio friday and legs on saturday and then rest on sunday. Have completed about 6 weeks of the workout but feel as though the upperbody isnt get worked out enough.

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Posted Thu, 05/22/2014 - 22:26
Eric Brown

Hey Jack. My original layout for RP-21 was exactly what you gave an example of. I used that split initially before using the current 2 day upper and 2 day lower routine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using the original scheme. My observations from running them both was that I was able to hit the upper body as a whole more frequently with the current scheme. But try out the first scheme and see how it works for you and let me know what you find out. Thanks for using RP-21!

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Posted Wed, 03/19/2014 - 20:42

Hello Eric, i was wondering if you can use this scheme with wendlers 5/3/1 as assistance work

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Posted Thu, 03/20/2014 - 15:39
Eric Brown

Hey Andrew. This is a good question. If we look at a sample 5/3/1 squat day comprising of 3 sets of 5 reps in the squat, then I see no reason why you could not use the 6x5 scheme as the assistance work on that day. But it all depends on what your goal is. If you are chasing strictly strength then the 6x5 scheme would not allow to use the heavier weights needed to gain the supreme strength one would be looking for in the assistance moves. However if you are chasing physique goals, then the 6x5 would a good choice for assistance moves as the moderate weight and short rests are ideal for hypertrophy.

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Posted Fri, 02/28/2014 - 15:47

Hello Eric,

So I am on my second round. Week 5. I am seeing some definite improvement in everything but shoulders. They seem to be my lagging body part.
The thing that I love about this protocol is that I don't really have to think too much. Concentrate on my set in front of me and record the progress. I don't know how to adjust it so I can bring my shoulders in to the progress the rest of my body is making.
Any suggestions that you may have will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time and attention.

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Posted Wed, 02/26/2014 - 10:57

Hi Eric, I like very much your program, I'll do it in the following weeks.

I'd like to change HIP THRUST and GLUTE HAM RAISE, could you give some alternative exercises please in order to replace them?


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Posted Mon, 02/24/2014 - 17:10

hi Eric, can I do leg curls instead of ham glute raise as I don't have the equipment in my gym. also can I do deadlifts instead of Romanian deadlifts? thanks brad

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Posted Mon, 02/24/2014 - 16:57

Eric, I can't do glute ham raise have not got the equipment in my gym for it. can I do leg curls instead? also can I do deadlifts instead of Romanian deadlifts? help would be much appreciated.

thanks brad

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Posted Tue, 02/25/2014 - 19:51
Eric Brown

Hey Brad. You have some options as far as the glute ham raise. You can perform it on lat pulldown machine or on a seated calf machine like I do in this video at the 1:17 mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je6DJHTbJls. If you are unable to perform these methods at your gym, then you will need to substitute in the leg curl. As far as conventional deadlifts, they can work well in this program, but I like to use the RDL in this phase since I am squatting earlier in the week. Full squat and conventional deadlift can be done in the same week but it is tough on the body. If you are going to perform conventional deadlifts and squats in the same week with the RP-21 style, make sure you are eating and recovering properly or you will burn out quickly. Good luck.

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Posted Mon, 02/17/2014 - 22:40
Collin Preston

This program is awesome. I always thought that timed workouts would be too complicated but this is simple. Hint: If you have a clock in your gym start a set every 1:15. It helps you keep track of counting sets if you start at the top of the clock. Remembering if your on set 5 or 6 is harder than it sounds.

Also, this routine really boosted my strength. Both my bench and squat went up. It also helps you realize how much time you spend doing nothing at the gym and your rest times will be forever shorter.

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Posted Wed, 02/19/2014 - 19:12
Eric Brown

Hey Collin. Thanks for the insight on what you have experienced with RP-21. Timed workouts can be very effective if the programming is simple. And with RP-21 I wanted to ensure that the programming itself was simple to follow but the workouts were still tough and effective. I am glad you have also noticed that the body will adapt to the short rest times. This is how real conditioning is developed. Keep making progress with RP-21.

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Posted Sun, 01/26/2014 - 18:49

Hey Eric,
Thanks for this article. Seems great workout. Can't wait to see the results. My question is how can I combine this 4 days workout with PX90..which is 7 days workout. I play baseball and want to be strong, flexible and have agility. Will I get the result if continue do both workouts?

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Posted Mon, 01/27/2014 - 23:57
Eric Brown

Hey Jay. Thanks for the kind words. As far as your question goes, I do not advise training 7 days a week. When you are doing high intensity training like RP-21 and high intensity conditioning you will need to have some rest days. 4 or 5 total training days would be ideal for strength and muscle growth. Remember you do not want to be training so much that it takes away from your baseball game either. You want to be as fresh as possible when the game begins. If you keep doing both workouts without any rest, something will give in a bad way along the way. If I were you I would do this to optimize recovery but still make great strength gains.

Tues-RP-21 Lower Body
Weds-RP-21 Upper Body and P90x
Fri-RP-21 Lower Body
Sat-RP-21 Upper Body and P90x

By putting the P90x on the upper body days, you are not pre-fatiguing the legs before a lower body day. And I have found that the conditioning will actually help your legs not feel as sore from the lower body training day. Try out this split and see how it works for you.

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Posted Fri, 01/24/2014 - 10:36

Hey could u pls tell me how to increase muscle without supplement

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Posted Fri, 01/24/2014 - 18:56
Eric Brown

Hey Sanju, check out my response to your other question for the answer to this question. Thanks.

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Posted Fri, 01/24/2014 - 06:26

I am doing gym since last 2 years. Bt didnt improve much.
I ate a lot. Tell me an idea to increase my muscle.
I dnt need to have a supplement.
Pls help me

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Posted Fri, 01/24/2014 - 18:55
Eric Brown

Hey Sanju. Sorry to hear you did not make many improvements to your physique. The key to increasing the amount of muscle mass you have comes down to 3 basic principles which are Intensity, Nutrition, and Consistency. The intensity of your training, the proper nutrition plan for your goals, and the consistency of doing both. There are no magic training plans, supplements or diet schemes. Basic hard work always wins out. For you, I would advise you start with a base training scheme such as 5/3/1. That will keep you accountable as far as getting stronger and building muscle. As far eating goes it is not so much how much you eat, but more about what you eat. 3000 calories a day balanced of carbs, protein, and fats is supremely better than 3500 calories of anything you want. The body strives when things are balanced. Quality over quantity. Also, make you sure you are getting proper rest to let your muscles recover so that they can grow.

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Posted Thu, 01/23/2014 - 17:22
Eric Brown

Hey everyone. I have a video overview of the RP-21 training system at my YouTube page. The link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCGzvBSmUg0. Check it out when you get the chance. Thanks and keep making progress.

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Posted Tue, 01/21/2014 - 23:58

Hey guys!
I'm a marathon runner and am looking to build some serious muscle to get a bit stronger this year. I've been reading recently in a few studies that performing programs such as the RP-21, are very beneficial for runners trying to build more muscle and power. I am a little over weight for a female at my height, although I want to lose weight it's more important for me to build muscle and get stronger. Would you suggest this program for a person such as myself or would it be detrimental whilst doing such a high volume of cardio? Thanks!

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Posted Wed, 01/22/2014 - 09:49
Eric Brown

Hey Meesh. It is important as a runner that you develop strength. But RP-21 and high volume cardio (running in this case) will create conflict if they are run at the same time. Recovery becomes an issue because the high volume cardio can take away from your progress in the gym. The high volume of running will limit the muscle and strength gains you will receive from RP-21. I think the better option would be to commit to one goal at a time vs two different goals simultaneously. I recommend RP-21 to you, but I would also recommend that you decrease the volume of your cardio for a period of time so that you can truly get the most out of RP-21.

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Posted Tue, 01/21/2014 - 15:10

What rest pause scheme do you prefer to use for this workout as there are many out there? Thanks.

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Posted Tue, 01/21/2014 - 22:46
Eric Brown

Hey B-rad. You can check the article out again to get more specifics, but the rest pause scheme being used for RP-21 is 7 sets of 3 reps with moderately heavy weight for the main move while resting one minute in between sets. The second part is 6 sets of 5 reps with moderate weight while resting thirty seconds in between sets.

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Posted Tue, 01/21/2014 - 00:55

So I've almost ran this program for 3 weeks now and am going to cycle it with GVT next Monday. My only question is what can I do to target my shoulders adequately, while still maintaining strong chest and back movements. For example: Would it be worth it to do Bench Press for the first 3 weeks, cycle GVT, then switch bench for say Military Press? Just kind of feels like shoulder movements are lacking in the routine.

Any suggestions?

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Posted Tue, 01/21/2014 - 12:52
Eric Brown

Hey Kyle. Good question you have posed here. In my opinion and based on my experience, I feel as if the front/rear delts and even the traps to a degree receive more than enough stimulation through standard pressing and pulling movements. That is the reason for low amount of shoulder movements. I do like to add in lateral raises to create that full shoulder look. If someone needs more shoulder work I do make adjustments with more of a focus on them. You have two options if you want to target your shoulders more. The first would be to run RP-21 as written and then put more of an emphasis on your shoulders during GVT. For example if you did a Chest/Back, Legs, and Shoulders/Arms split during GVT, your shoulders would receive more than enough work as they now have a separate day during GVT. The second would be to use the Military Press instead of the Bench Press during RP-21 and then run GVT with the same split as mentioned above. If you do it the second way then after 6 weeks of shoulder emphasis, you could go back to the Bench Press.

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Posted Thu, 01/23/2014 - 19:00

Thanks for the reply Eric! I might just continue as to what's written for the time being and hold off swapping bench press out. Allow myself to get a larger sample size to determine if i really need to put more emphasis on shoulders. I do have another question though. I noticed you wrote doing a 3 week 'deload' and then later you wrote a one week. Granted GVT isn't so much a deload as it is a change of pace. What would you recommend doing? 1 week or 3 weeks of a high volume routine?

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Posted Mon, 01/20/2014 - 19:33

This is some pretty good workout advice. One thing I totally stopped doing about two years ago was working out on the treadmill. It simply kills muscle gain. Since lifting the heaviest loads I possibly can without sustaining maximum injury, my heart rate has really dropped as I get in better shape. To me, that alone it worth lifting weights.

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Posted Mon, 01/20/2014 - 20:29
Eric Brown

Hey Marty. I am glad you came to that conclusion as I agree with you wholeheartedly. For those looking to build a muscular and athletic physique, jogging on a treadmill or elliptical is a total waste of time. Especially when there are many more effective methods that can used for fat loss without the muscle loss. Heavy weight lifting is not typically thought of as conditioning which is totally wrong because as you have personally experienced, the heavy weights are making you more of a fit man. I think keeping it basic with the iron, tough conditioning like sprints, and great nutrition is all one needs. Keep lifting hard and even more success will be waiting for you.

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Posted Sun, 01/19/2014 - 20:17

Wow this program sound amazing,me and my husband gonna started tomorrow,I'm so excited to start and see the results I love challenges.thank you!

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Posted Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:27
Eric Brown

Hey Helenis. I love challenges myself! RP-21 is a great program because you are held accountable each week with trying to get to your prescribed reps. Accountability breeds results because you are forced to get better. There is no value in training if you are not going to improve. Good luck with your success!

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Posted Sun, 01/19/2014 - 17:33

Eric, I am 64 years old and have been weight lifting on and off for about 30 years. I am now retired and am focusing on getting big and athletic. I am so grateful for the MS website. Tons of information and help. I have been performing the 4 Day Muscle Burn Intermediate schedule for the past two months and I am feeling great. I would like to go one more month on this schedule then change up to the RP-21 program. Is that reasonable?

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Posted Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:22
Eric Brown

Hey Joe. I like the fact that you have goals, and goals always motivate us to achieve more. As far as your training schedule there is absolutely nothing wrong with finishing the 4 Day Muscle Burn program for another month before you start RP-21. Good luck with reaching your goals.

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Posted Sat, 01/18/2014 - 23:15

Hi Eric,
Im quite a skinny bloke and iv decided to start out with this workout to get me going in weights (and a high volume program after 3 weeks). I did it for the first time today and it felt good but really quite easy , That's normal right?
How often should I go up in weights for this workout?
How fast should I do the reps?
And also can I do something in between the 7x3 set? if yes what do u suggest?(upper and lower)


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Posted Sun, 01/19/2014 - 14:58
Eric Brown

Hey Mitch. I'm glad you have started RP-21. I myself too was quite a skinny bloke for most of my life before I began to train so I know where you are coming from. Nutrition and heavy weights will be your best friend. Check out my video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7m-j9lTQrk) to see some tips on how to gain some size. If you are training correctly RP-21 is supposed to start as a very manageable program because you have to find your weights. If you feel the weight you used was not enough, you can definitely add weight to make your sets more challenging. As you progress in the scheme and you continue to get stronger, the weights get heavier and RP-21 gets extremely tough. I start clients on lower percentages initially so it gives them room to build. If you complete the 7x3 or 6x5 set you will want to increase the weight 5-10lbs. That could be weekly, or if you get stopped, it could end up being bi-weekly or tri-weekly. The rep speed should be standard (2/0/2). I do not suggest you do anything between the 7x3 set except possibly stretch and get your mind set for the next round of 3. As you reach heavier weights, the challenge becomes greater. Your mind will need to be sharp and focused to see the best gains.

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Posted Sat, 01/18/2014 - 18:10

Hello Eric.
Just finished week one of this program. It has definitely shown me where I am strong and where I need to kick it into another gear.
I have a few questions as I get into this.
A) Due to family and work constraints I work this every other day rather than 2 on, 1 off, 2 on, 2off. Will this hurt me in the long run in making gains?
B) When you do the deload week, is it the same exercises, but with a smaller load and a 3 x 10 set/rep range?
C) lastly, when you come back after the deload week, do you hit it with the same weight that you left off with on week 3 or do you move up another 5 to 10lbs?

Thanks for all the info and keep doing what you do. Great job.