One Month Rest And Recovery Periods?

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I read Pete Sisco e-book about adding muscle mass. He recommends very high intensity but less days at the gym. He is even advocating for working out once every month. Do you agree with his statements?


Hi, thanks for the question.

Pete's been around the muscle scene since the early 80's and if there's one thing that Pete knows, it's how to build strength and muscle mass. Pete's been with most of the greats including the late great Mike Mentzer and has taken the high intensity principles one step further.

Do I agree with Pete's statements? Well, in order to answer this question, you have to look at Pete's basic training principles. Pete has taken high intensity to new levels by introducing “Static Contraction” training which basically combines

• Very high intensity training;
• Very brief but intense training periods;
• Measurable intensity levels;
• Strongest points of muscular movement; And
• Optimal recovery periods.

Basically Pete uses your bodies strongest points of movement with super, high intensity training combined with much needed recovery periods. Of course, this is just a very basic look at the methods Mr. Sisco uses but all in all, these are some of the core basics. So, what are his high intensity methods? He encourages heavier than normal weight using your bodies strongest points of movement.

You see, we are all stronger using certain range of movements. For example, we are much stronger doing the first part of a bench press than we are at the bottom part of the movement (near the chest). What Pete discusses in his book is how we can use these parts of the movement to handle much heavier weight which will lead to more strength and more muscle mass.

Now, I've always had a problem with high intensity training because it solely relied on training to muscular failure. Personally, I feel that going to muscular failure doesn't necessarily means muscle growth. The important thing you have to remember about muscle growth is that it is all about muscle improvement. If you can improve from workout to workout, you will constantly grow bigger and stronger. This doesn't necessarily mean going to failure.

By going to muscular failure each and every workout with the same workout weight you've been using for the past month, your not improving. Pete realizes this and has the same concerns but he has a way to measure intensity and to gauge it.

This is very important. This is what separates Pete's program to the regular high intensity training methods. He understands the importance of constant improvement, and this is where more rest periods come into play. Pete basically cycles his high intensity methods with the rest periods.

The thing that everyone has to understand is that there is a direct relationship between the amount of intensity with certain exercise sessions and the amount of rest needed to fully recover. The more intensity that is used, the more recovery time that is needed. Since Pete uses super, high intensity methods, more recovery time is needed. This is where rest cycling comes into play and this is the magic of Pete's program.

Do I believe in month long rest periods? Well, I've tested Pete's methods and they do work. Trust me, if you have access to a fully stocked gym and the will to grow, Pete's program will work for you. However, you must let go of all conventional thinking and fully commit to the program.

I think the longest I've ever rested was for about 2 weeks and you know something? I was actually stronger when I returned to the gym. I've never rested for a full month because I just couldn't stay out of the gym for that long.

However, this is only a part of Pete's recovery program which, I believe is near the peak of the training cycle. You see, Pete cycles his recovery periods with the amount of intensity used in his training cycles. The more intense the training sessions, the more rest and recovery time that is needed.

I think even Tony Robbins was once a client of Pete's (he may be still). If my memory is right, I think Tony made "out of this world" gains using Pete's methods and almost doubled his strength in the bench press.

You have to remember that Pete's program isn't for everybody. I wouldn't recommend his program for complete beginners because it's a little too high intense.

However, if you've been weight training for any longer than 6 months, you might want to give this program a shot. Also, your going to need access to a fully stocked gym since some of the movements will need the use of a squatting cage.

Overall, I think his program is great. His program goes for about $29 and I think it’s well worth it.

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As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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