Tired of lackluster gains in the gym if any at all? Maybe you need to ramp up your intensity! Over time your muscles build up a natural resistance to all the stress you put them through during conventional workouts.
While performing straight sets to exhaustion might have worked in the past, if they aren’t working any more then it is time to crank it up a notch with some advanced training ideas.
Are you ready to get started?
Please note these advanced concepts typically result in a lot of fiber damage initially. Make sure not to over-do them in the beginning. Instead plan on adding a single extra set or two using one of these techniques on each body part. From there you can gage if your body is ready to handle more or not.
- Pre-Exhaustion – Using the pre-exhaustion technique is a way to tire out a larger muscle to allow smaller muscles a chance to push the primary muscle further than normal. In many compound exercises it is the smaller muscles that give out first, so we correct that problem. For example, on a bench press the triceps are often the muscle group that gives out first. So you start by doing a set of chest flyes and then go right into a set of bench presses after that. The chest will already be tired allowing the shoulders and triceps to push the muscle further than normal.
- Rest-Pause – The rest-pause technique is a popular way to go very heavy with a weight and continue to add a few more reps after normal failure. The general idea is to work to failure, rest 10 seconds, and then try for more repetitions. Usually you can get 1-3 reps more. Then you repeat that process for a total of 2-3 times. This means your muscles are digging deeper and you will be engaging more muscle fibers than just going to failure.
- Drop Sets – This technique involves doing a set to failure, and then you lighten the load and immediately jump into another set. The idea is similar to rest-pause but typically with the weight drops you do a lot more total repetitions. Along with added muscle fibers being incorporated, you also work on the endurance of the muscles by training with the higher rep total.
- Partial Reps – Partial reps are also known as burners. At the end of a set, like barbell curls, you might not be able to complete any more full repetitions. But typically most muscles have enough strength to perform the last half of the contraction phase. So you would go to exhaustion and then use momentum to get the bar to the contraction position. From there you lower it slowly halfway before you immediately squeeze it back to the top. Some people like to do these reps extra fast to pump more blood into the muscle.
All of these techniques are excellent ways to crank up the intensity of your workouts. They will help push past plateaus and get your muscles into a place where lots of fibers are being used; that means muscle growth.
So next time you hit the gym know that you have a few new tricks in your back that you can whip out to blast your muscles into some serious growth!
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Dan Stetzer is a writer and fitness trainer. To find more great articles by Dan you can follow him at the Nutribomb blog or at the Nutribomb.com Google Plus Page.