Supersets, Rest-Pause Sets, and Bro-ing Out For Gains (with Scott Tousignant)

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When I’m training, I like to be “in the zone”.

I put on my oversized, over-the-ear headphones, and I let the sounds of Lil’ Wayne and T.I. take me to another place.

I’ve always been the guy who doesn’t want to talk to anyone. I wish to be left alone, as I’m a busy, working Father of two.

When I’m in the gym, nobody needs any “juice” (actual juice for kids, not that kind of “juice”), nobody is crying or screaming, and I can push my body in absolute silence.

In a strange way, I’ve come to enjoy the pain that hard weight training provides. My muscles often shake with intensity and my face turns bright red with pressure as I push myself to the limits.

I’ve never had a real training partner. From time to time, I’ve trained with friends to help them out. But I’ve never had serious, like-minded training partners before.

This past weekend, Scott Tousignant, natural physique coach and owner of Metabolic Masterpiece, invited me to Ontario to train with him and his crew.

I’ve never had so much fun in the gym in my life.

Scott put us through an intense workout, one of the workouts in his new product, The Aesthetic Muscle Plan, or AMP for short.

Not only was the workout intense and fun, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed the camaraderie and company.

The Workout

Our workout emphasized two muscle groups – chest and back.

Instead of moving back and forth from a chest movement to a back movement, we trained each part thoroughly before moving onto the next muscle group.

First was chest.

Chest Exercise #1:  Superset of DB Bench Press with DB Flyes – 3 sets

This exercise was done on a flat bench press.

We used heavy dumbbells that we were able to complete 6-7 reps with.

At first, I went a bit too light and I was able to complete 10 reps on my first set.

I upped the weight a bit to the 85 pound DBs, and the next two sets were better.

For each movement, we used a slow tempo, with about 2 seconds for both the eccentric (lowering) and the concentric (pushing) portion of the movement.

As soon as the set of 6-7 dumbbell presses was complete, we would grab the dumbbells and complete a set of 10-12 flyes on the bench.

During the flyes, you perform the movement slowly, being sure to get a deep stretch in your pecs.

Chest Exercise #2:  Incline Barbell Bench Press – 3 sets, rest-pause

After re-racking the dumbbells, we headed over to the incline bench press for 3 sets using a rest-pause style.

Admittedly, this was the first time I’ve ever used rest-pause training, and I loved it.

Here’s how it works:

  • Choose a weight you can do for 6-8 repetitions using a slow, controlled tempo.
  • Rack the weight, and wait 10 seconds.
  • Perform a second set and get as many reps as you can, pushing all the way to failure.
  • Your second set should get you from 2-4 reps before you hit full, muscular failure.

Rest-pause training has increased in popularity recently. It’s an excellent way to get nearly double the work in in a short amount of time.

Fair warning – that second set is no fun whatsoever. Your muscles are totally fried and not recovered from the first set.

It’s hella fun.

Chest Exercise #3: Weighted Dips – 3 straight sets

After first using supersets, and then using rest-pause sets, we did 3 traditional sets of weighted dips.

We completed 3 sets and aimed for the 7-8 rep range, adding weight as necessary to hit the appropriate rep range.

I started with an extra 45 pounds, which I can usually handle, but by this point, my chest and triceps were feeling a bit fatigued from the previous work.

I was able to drop back to an extra 35 pounds and complete my 3 sets.

After the weighted dips, we were finished with our chest workout, and it was time to move onto our back.

I was happy about this – as I’m tall and lanky, which means I’m a natural “puller”.

Back Exercise #1: Superset of weighted pull-ups with DB pullovers – 3 Sets

This superset was done in the same fashion as the chest superset:  Aim for a weight you can complete 6-7 reps with for the pull-ups.

As soon as you were finished with the pull-ups, head to the flat bench.

A DB pull-over is when you position your body perpendicular to the bench, with just your upper back touching the bench.

Your feet are on the ground and your knees make about a 45 degree angle.

You take a dumbbell, and keeping your arms just slightly bent, you move the dumbbell all the way behind your head, stretching your chest, back, and lats.

Then, you slowly move the dumbbell towards your body, keeping your arms just slightly bent, and stopping when the dumbbell is directly above your chest.

You complete 10-12 dumbbell pull-overs to top off your superset.

Back Exercise #2:  Chest Supported Rows – 3 sets, rest-pause

After our superset, we went to the chest supported row machine for 3 sets rest-pause style.

I was stoked – as my inexpensive commercial gym doesn’t have this simple machine.

That’s what you get for $7 usd per month, I suppose.

Again, the parameters for rest-pause training:

  • Choose a weight you can do for 6-8 repetitions using a slow, controlled tempo.
  • Rack the weight, and wait 10 seconds.
  • Perform a second set and get as many reps as you can, pushing all the way to failure.
  • Your second set should get you from 2-4 reps before you hit full, muscular failure.

I had a small issue lining the equipment up correctly, as I’m a gargantuan of a human being.

But I think I made it work:

Back Exercise #3:  Cable Pull-downs – 3 straight sets

For our final exercise, we headed over to the cable pulldown machine and performed 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

By this time, we had been training for over 90 minutes.

If you were training alone, you would likely be able to finish the workout in about 60-70 minutes, but there were 5 of us training, it was a Friday afternoon, and we were enjoying shooting the shit with other focused trainees.

I had an awesome time training with Scott’s crew.

I may have to re-think isolating myself when I’m training.

I enjoy the process of physical self-improvement.

I can only imagine if I were able to team up with others in my area who shared the same goals as myself, I would enjoy my training even more and likely make better progress.

Bonus #1:  Posing Practice

I had only one stipulation of travelling 90 minutes into Canada to train with Scott.

I knew Scott was a physique coach, and he posts his physique updates every Friday.

Since it was Friday, I made him promise me he would put me through my first posing session.

A few takeaways from posing practice:

  • The posing was every bit as draining as the training! Trying to maximally contract all of your muscles at the same time is exhausting. I barely broke a sweat when training, but I was practically dripping during the poses.
  • The “lat spread” is a pose I’ll have to work on. Apparently, I have zero control over my lats. All in good time, I suppose.
  • It’s insane what a difference being in the right light and expelling the air out of your lungs and diaphragm can do for you. Notice when Scott turns me to the side, tells me to blow out, and flex. I instantly lose 5% body fat. It’s truly remarkable.
  • I am tall. Scott is not.

Here is a video highlighting our entire day. My posing practice begins at around 7:50.

Bonus #2:  Post Workout Gains

After all that, I was ravenous.

So, I did what I do best:  I ate. A lot.

I polished off a full sushi-for-two meal.

Fantastic.

Interested in seeing if you’d be a good fit to work with me?

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