Are you trying to bust through a plateau or increase the intensity of your workouts? The following video guides will show you the most popular intensity building techniques ever known to man. Use them sparingly, though, because they will shock your system. Using them too often could cause you to overtrain.
Superset Video Guide
- Antagonist supersetting can help each muscle group recover while working the other muscle.
- It also makes you stronger in both.
- For the arms, it has the advantage of keeping the blood localized in the upper arm area.
- Back and chest or quads and hamstrings are other examples of antagonistic muscles.
- You must be able to make a smooth transition between the exercises in order for this to be effective.
- An example of this is doing a dumbbell bench press on the positive then a dumbbell flye on the negative on every rep.
- The Zottman curl, where you use a regular grip on the way up and a reverse grip on the way down is another good example of this.
- Others include regular deadlifts (up) and stiff-legged deadlifts (down), or close grip bench press (up) and lying barbell extensions (down).
This is a good way to train if time is limited. Supersetting involves doing two exercises with no rest in between. There are a number of different types of supersets.
Types Of Supersets:
Same Part Supersetting (Giant Set):
This is the most common type. Do two different exercises that work the same bodypart, e.g. incline curls then barbell curls.
This is essentially pre-exhaust supersetting. Do a set of an isolation exercise then a set of a compound exercise, e.g. dumbbell flyes then bench press.
Do a set of an exercise for one bodypart then immediately do a set of an exercise for the antagonistic bodypart, e.g. barbell curls then tricep pushdowns.
Upper Body/Lower Body Supersetting:
Do an upper body exercise then a lower body exercise, or vice versa, e.g. chest then calves or calves then chest.
Do two different exercises within a rep.
Do not superset muscles that assist with the other exercise unless you do them second, e.g. do not do pushdowns then bench press - tricep fatigue will limit your bench press work. You can, however, do the bench press first then do pushdowns.
An exception to this is if you are doing it to push your triceps further with the assistance of the pecs and shoulders. Then do triceps first. This would be a type of pre-exhaust superset.
Strip Sets (Drop Sets) Video Guide
Strip Sets Guidelines:
These are done with barbells. Do a set then, without racking the bar, get two spotters to pull off a preset amount of weight. Continue with that weight. Keep stripping as desired. This will thoroughly burn out a muscle. It is similar to drop sets, but there is absolutely no rest.
Rest-Pause Video Guide
This is an advanced technique that allows you to get more reps with the same weight.
- Do a set to failure.
- Rest for 5 to 10 seconds then do a few more reps with the same weight.
- Do this once or a few times depending on your energy levels and how far you wish to push. With this technique you can take a weight you can only do for three reps and do a set of six or more reps with it.
Rest-Pause Training works very well for high rep training as well when lactic acid burn forces you to stop. Do a set of calf raises until you can't take the pain, rest for a few seconds and shake out your legs to allow the lactic acid to be cleared somewhat, then do more reps until you seize up again. Shake it out and continue. This allows you to push to muscular failure instead of lactic acid failure.
Forced Reps Video Guide
Forced Reps Guidelines:
- The abuse comes when the trainer relies on the spotter for assistance during most of the set.
- The most obvious example is the bench press.
- Forced reps should not be done every set like some trainers do. Properly executed forced reps are very demanding and can severely tax your recovery systems.
- Spotters should also provide only just enough help to keep the weight moving. They should not take the weight away from the trainer.
This is the most popular and consequently the most abused intensity technique. A spotter is used to provide enough assistance for the trainer to be able to complete the rep.
Negative Reps Video Guide
Negative Reps Guidelines:
- Use about 10% heavier than your 1 RM.
- Use a spotter to give you a lot of help with the positive then lower the weight slowly on your own.
- Each negative rep should take about six to ten seconds to lower.
- To really get the feel for a proper negative, you must not just allow the weight to lower, you must actively push (or pull) against it, fighting it all the way down. It is like you are trying to do a positive rep but aren't.
- Another way to do negatives is to do the positive normally then get your spotter to add to the resistance on the way down by leaning on the bar or pulling down on it.
- Do focused negative work at the beginning of your bodypart work when you are at your strongest.
This technique focuses on the negative portion of muscle contraction (the eccentric or lowering phase).
Cheating Reps Video Guide
Cheating Reps Guidelines:
- Do not cheat excessively or you may cause injury.
- Cheat only to work the muscle harder, not to make the exercise easier.
At the end of a set, when you can't do any more reps with good form, use a bit of body swing or momentum to help get the weight past the sticking point, e.g. swinging the weight up a little at the start of a barbell curl.
Partial Reps Video Guide
Partial Reps Guidelines:
- Pure partials are often done in the power rack with the pins set at appropriate levels. Partial squats are done with the pins in the rack set near the top of the range of motion. Moving the bar only a few inches with a huge amount of weight on your back, is a great way to build power, density, and confidence.
- Partials can be done anywhere in an exercise's range of motion. They can help you get through sticking points if you do partials at and through the sticking point. The heavy weight is very useful for building tendon and ligament strength. Sometimes when you hit a plateau, it is not due to muscle strength but connective tissue strength. Partials can help overcome this.
- Partials can be done in a continuous without taking tension off the muscles, or in brief reps, allowing the weight to be supported on the racks for a few moments before doing the next rep. The continuous style provides more muscle tension but reduces the amount of weight that can be used. Don't bounce the bar off the pins. Develop tension in the muscles gradually so you don't jerk anything out of the sockets.
- If you use a lot of partial movements, it is very important to stretch after each set. It is also a good idea to finish with a set that takes the muscle through a full range of motion. A static hold and a negative is a good way to do this as it keep a lot of tension on the muscle all the way through the entire range of motion. Hold in the stretch position for as long as possible at the bottom of the movement.
This is simply moving the weight through a partial range of motion (usually, but not necessarily, the strongest range of motion of the exercise, e.g. the top 6 inches of the bench press). This allows much more weight to be used.
Partials can also be done at the end of a set to extend it. Continue with the same weight but do partial reps, shortening the range of motion more as you tire until you are just doing lockouts.