Concept One: Bridging
All too often people do splits that have two body parts together that are in no way related to each other, such as back with triceps, chest with biceps, shoulders with calves. This has one distinct disadvantage. This means that these muscles will be used still more on other days (triceps again on chest/biceps day, for example).
"Bridging" fixes this. The way it works is basic, putting a large muscle group with its smaller auxiliary muscles. However, there is a twist, when shifting from the larger muscle to the smaller, do an exercise that relies heavily on both, hence 'bridging' the change between them.
Here's an example: On Chest/triceps day, do your benches and flyes and whatnot, but end with dips. While presses can be used to minimize triceps usage (no lockout), and flyes don't use tris much at all, dips can be considered both a triceps and a chest exercise, so finish up with them, then do your triceps routine. For Back/biceps, use reverse grip pull-downs or chins to bridge.
Concept Two tretch & Fill
I'm going to steal this one from Jay Cutler. It's a wonderful idea, and it works well. The concept is simple; don't do two heavy compound movements in a row.
Too often, people hit every chest pressing movement, then use flyes just to sort of round out the routine. The problem with this is your shoulders and triceps don't rest at all, so your chest cannot be properly thrashed.
Instead, alternate. I start with the fill, rather than the stretch, but you may prefer to do it the other way. Start with presses, then do some flyes, then move back onto presses. For legs, start with squats, and then do sissy squats, followed by leg extensions, then lunges.
Concept Three True Supersets
Sort of the opposite of bridging, but still a good idea. With this technique it does help to be two unrelated muscles together. Yes I don't advocate it much, but for those who are ardent in their ways, this works wonders.
Most people use "superset" when they mean "compound set." A true superset involves doing two different muscles in two exercises back to back. The way this works is that you can still use heavy weights for both sets and you can get much more work done.
Let's say we're having arm day. Instead of "super setting" barbell curls with preacher curls, super set barbell curls with close-grip benches. You should have no loss of weight used, since the prior set didn't drain the muscle used in the following set. Not a technique I use a whole lot, but for those who like unrelated muscle groupings, this works well.
Concept Four The Monster Set
This one is my favorite. It's a rather grueling way to attack every last muscle fiber. I only recommend this for anyone who really needs to shock themselves. And don't do this one too often.
It's a combination of pyramiding and drop sets, basically. Start with a moderate weight and pyramid up over 4 sets, then drop set your way back down to the initial weight. Seems rather simple, but when done right, is as hard as it gets. I personally recommend that you try it on leg day.
For example, start with a plate on either side, then add 10s or 25s (depending on your strength level) for each step, take a short break, and work your way back down, with no more than 5 seconds rest between steps during the drop set.
It's a quick and easy way to lose your lunch, and assure you will be extremely sore right up until the next workout. It's for that reason I don't recommend using it every workout, because it's a surefire way to overtrain.
Well, there you have it. Four ways to spice up your workouts over the holiday season and beyond!