Rest Between Sets: How Much is Needed?


How much rest is needed between sets?

This isn’t an easy answer. The easiest way to formulate an answer is to determine what are your goals.

Strength vs. Hypertrophy (size)

When strength training, you should be focusing on 1 of 2 outcomes: To become stronger or to get bigger muscles. Although there are some correlation between the two, it isn’t direct.

Let’s look at the above photo. On the left, Eddie Hall, one of the world strongest men and holder of the record for the most weight ever deadlifted. On the right is Big Ramy, a top 6 bodybuilder in the world. Eddie Hall focuses on strength training to maximize effort in short bursts (one rep maxes, etc.) while Big Ramy focuses on hypertrophy and the maximum amount of growth for the muscle.

Rest to Gain Strength:

Studies have shown that when lifting 50%-90% of one rep max, rest 3-5 minutes between sets to maximize strength. This break also had benefits of reducing injury when lifting heavy weight. 

Rest to Gain Muscle:

To promote hypertrophy, resting between 30-60 seconds with moderate rep schemes were optimal (8-15 reps). This also allowed you to maximize the effects of Growth Hormone. 

Nutrition to Maximize Effects of Both:

Whether you are training for strength or size, quality nutrition and supplementation can add quality muscle and strength gains. MegaWatt V2 by 1st Phorm is a great supplement to get you ready for the gym. This preworkout includes doses of creatine, beta alanine,  agmatine sulfate, caffeine, and more to get your ready for the gym. Post workout nutrition such as Ignition + Phormula-1 will help your muscles grow and repair post workout by feeding carbs, protein, and amino acids to the muscles.

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What works for you?

Sound off below!

Dustin Holston

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#TeamNutritionTrain Boulder Shoulders and Traps Workout (The Goat Head Workout)

The guys and gals from Team Nutrition Train have been working on a new routine to help build those snow-capped peaks on your shoulders and mountains as traps!


I like to refer to the region of the deltoids through trapezius muscles as a goat head. This region is extremely important in both bodybuilding and in powerlifting. There is a ton of power and aesthetically pleasing muscles in this area. This is the area we will be concentrating with in this workout.

Team Nutrition Train Goat Head Workout

Barbell Shoulder Press (Seated)“Great for all three heads of delts, traps, and some triceps…”

4 Sets- 12, 10, 8, 8… If you can’t finish your set, make your spotter help you do assisted reps to finish the rep range. Increase weight after each set until you get to the last two sets.

Lying One Arm Lateral Raise- “Great for the medial deltoids” 

3 Sets- 12, 10, 8… Use light weight and make sure you squeeze the muscle.

Dumbbell Frontal Raises- “Great for your anterior deltoids”
3 Sets- 12, 10, 8… Use light weight and make sure you squeeze the muscle.

Barbell or Dumbbell Upright Rows- Great for posterior deltoids and traps”

3 Sets- 12, 10, 8… Use light weight and make sure you don’t swing. Controlled and slow.

Dumbbell Shrugs- “Turn those traps into mountains”

6 sets- 15 reps per set… Try to raise your traps to your ears.


"So far, so good..."

Complete this workout only once per week. Make sure to supplement your body post workout with the post workout stack! Try this workout for 6-8 weeks and see how your progress goes. You should try to increase the weight each week.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email:

Lift Heavy My Friends,

Dustin Holston
Sports Nutritionist/Personal Trainer 

#TeamNutritionTrain Blasted Arms and Shoulders Workout

Bulging biceps, hanging triceps, serrated shoulders, these are among the most important groups of muscles for us fitness freaks. What is a good workout to mix in every few weeks to add some diversity to your routine?

#TeamNutritionTrain Blasted Arms and Shoulders Workout


Methodology: The idea about this workout is to do a functional set of 8-10 reps with moderate weight, then after a 60 second break, do a set with less weight for between 25-30 reps. This workout focuses on 4 exercises per muscle group for 2 sets each. The key is to keep your breaks short. Less talk, more rock.

Preacher Curls: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Inclined Dumbbell Curls: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Straight Bar Curls: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Machine Rope Hammer-curls: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Close Grip Bench Press: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Skull Crushers: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Triceps Rope Extensions: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Dips*: 1 x 8, 1 x 8
Military Press: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Machine Rope Face Pulls: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Lateral Dumbbell Raises: 1 x 8, 1 x 25
Frontal Dumbbell Raises: 1 x 8, 1 x 25

Analysis: The pumps I got from this workout were intense, and I’m feeling it 24 hours later. My biceps, triceps, and shoulders had never looked some good in the gym. Two of my clients were wanting to quit half way through the biceps workout because of the painful pumps and lack of rest. I took some MegaWatt HD from 1st Phorm (Buy it here with free shipping) to get myself going. I took some Phormula 1 with Ignition post workout to re-energize my muscle cells. The reason why I love this workout is the mixture of short breaks, moderate weight, and high reps to maximize the muscle cells. I think this is a great workout to try a few times a month. You should be able to complete the entire workout in less than an hour.

Lift Heavy My Friends,

Dustin Holston
Certified Personal Trainer/Sports Nutritionist
1st Phorm Brand Ambassador
Twitter: @NutritionTrain
Instagram: @NutritionTrain247

BOOTY WORKout- The Best Butt Workout… EVER!!!!

As a personal trainer of men and women, I get a ton of questions from my female clients about how to get a firm, lifted butt.


Your glutes are one of the most powerful and largest muscles on your body. There are two determining factors that contribute to a good booty: muscle and low body fat.

To lower body fat, you need to concentrate on your nutrition and cardio to burn excess fat stores.

BOOTY WORKout Exercise Routine:

5 sets of Sumo Squats (10 reps) supersetted with 5 sets of 30 second wall sits.

Sumo-squat-with-kettlebell-jamie-watling  wall-sit_thumb

Tip: Keep your back straight and lower the kettlebell until it is floor level. Use appropriate weight, and don’t be afraid to go a little heavy on the squats.

Race Track Lunges: Race Track Lunges are an exercise I invited a few years back for my wife. Take two weights of equal size and perform a standard lunge. But instead of walking straight ahead, you make a slight angle as if you are running around a race track. Perform 5 slow sets. Once you complete the first set, complete the second set in the opposite direction.  Try to increase the weight each week.

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Perform your BOOTY WORKout twice a week, with several days of rest between workouts. Combine with some calf, hamstrings, and quad exercises to maximize your legs.

Lift Heavy My Friends,

Dustin Holston
Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist
Instagram: @NutritionTrain247
Twitter: @NutritionTrain

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Mr. Olympia Finals Review

Not to brag, but I predicted 9 out of the top 10 in my previous post about the 2014 Mr. Olympia. That being said, I don’t necessarily agree with 100% of the judges scoring. Here is their top 16 vs. my top 17.


1. Phil Heath
2. Kai Greene
3. Shawn Rhoden
4. Dennis Wolf
5. Dexter Jackson
6. Branch Warren
7. Big Ramy
8. Victor Martinez
9. Steve Kuclo
10. Juan Morel
11. Johnny Jackson
12. Roelly Winklaar
13. Fred Smalls
14. Jon Delarosa
15. William Bonac
16. Ibrahim Fahim
16. Jojo Ntiforo
My Top 17:
1. Phil Heath– Huge muscle bellies and genetically “gifted” compared to the others. His genetics allow him to have an off night and still finish #1.
2. Kai Greene– Kai looked amazing. His conditioning was spot on, but Phil is structurally better.
3. Shawn Rhoden– Tiny waist, the new X-Man. Fantastic showing
4. Dennis Wolf– Dennis looked great, but not good enough to take the crown. Great showing.
5. Dexter Jackson– Dexter looked amazing with the extra muscle, but could have been a tad bit more tight.
6. Branch Warren– Probably the best conditioning of the show. Yes Branch has some flaws, but he was vascular and dry.
7. Big Ramy– HUGE and best he has ever looked, but still needs to come in drier.
8. Victor Martinez– Looked great, waist needs to be tighter in side shots.
9. Steve Kuclo– Fantastic showing. Never been a huge fan, but he looked very good.
10. Juan Morel
11. William Bonac– The giant killer was slightly off, but the judges were wrong for listing him as #14.
12. Johnny Jackson– Johnny looked huge up top but his legs are diminishing. Needs to be crisper.
13. Fred Smalls– Fred needs to be more conditioned.
14. Jon Delarosa– Needs more back to compete, needs to be better conditioned.
15. Ibrahim Fahim– The guy is a freak. Really a monster, just needs better conditioning. I’m excited for his future.
16. Jojo Ntiforo– Just came in off.
17. Roelly Winklaar– Roelly is a great bodybuilder with the best arms in the business, but he was way off. Should have been last.


Overall I think that the judges got the top 10 right, and in the right order. Of course this is just my personal opinion. I think Phil did have an off night, but I didn’t see him losing to Kai, Shawn, or Dennis.
I’m excited for next year. I think Justin Compton and Cedric McMillan could have been top 8 this year, while Ben Pakulski could have also done some damage.


Thank you for reading!

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Lift Heavy My Friends,
Dustin Holston

Arms That Do Harm- Add 1/2 Inch To Your Arms… Fast

Arms That Do Harm Workout from @NutritionTrain
Hanging horseshoes, violent vascularity, and bulging biceps…


Ladies and gentlemen, with this routine, you are guaranteed to see growth in your biceps and triceps. The key is to hit these muscle groups twice a week, with one day dedicated to “mass” and one day dedicated to “pump”.

Here is my current split:

Monday- Legs (Mass) and Biceps (Mass)

Tuesday- Chest (Mass) and Triceps (Pump)

Wednesday*- Back (Mass) and Shoulders (Mass)

Thursday- Legs (Pump) and Biceps (Pump)

Friday- Chest (Pump) and Triceps (Mass)

Saturday- Rest

Sunday- Rest

*Back and Shoulders for the next few months will only be hit once a week to help bring up my lagging body parts.

Biceps Mass Day:arnold-biceps

After completing my leg workout, I grab an inclined dumbbell bench. The goal is to do 8 sets of 8 reps of inclined dumbbell curls. You will want to keep your head back on the bench, and allow your elbows to extend almost straight, and contract the biceps at the top of each rep. You want to do these slow. It doesn’t take much weight. I do these with a buddy so that the only rest I get is during his set. Since biceps are a lagging muscle, I prefer to do them on leg day where GH levels are the highest.

  • Included Dumbbell Curls- 8×8
Biceps Pump Day: 

After completing my other leg day, I will want to do some light biceps work with high reps (12-20 reps). This will get nutrients flowing to your biceps. I would suggest alternating biceps curl, preacher curls, and 1 set of 21’s.

  • Alternating Biceps Curls- 4 x 12
  • Preacher Curls- 4 x 12
  • 21’s- 1 set
Triceps Mass Day:004 Triceps Lee Priest LYING FRENCH PRESS

After completing chest day, I will want to go for the tried and true mass builders for hanging horseshoes. I like doing headbangers, single arm rope extensions, and close grip bench.

  • Headbangers- 4 x 8
  • Close Grip Bench- 4 x 8
  • Single Arm Rope Extensions- 2 x exhaustion
Triceps Pump Day: 

After completing my second chest day, I will want to get a lot of blood flowing into my triceps.  I like to do dips and single arm rope extensions for high reps.

  • Dips- 4 x 15
  • Single Arm Rope Extensions- 4  x 12

Nutrition: You will want to drink plenty of water and take post workout carbohydrates and protein. A solid creatine product and pre-workout can help you get through the exercises.

Summary: This routine has helped me gain 1/2 inch to my arms in the past 2 months. You may hear trainers and articles tell you that you can add “an inch to your arms”, but most of the time it is bogus. Try this routine for two months and see the results. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog.  “Eat right, train right, look right.”