Need to add a little intensity to your gym sessions? We all know it takes more than just strolling in and going through the motions, we need more. As Jason Ferruggia (of Muscle Gaining Secrets) explains, you need to go to war every time you step into the gym. Here are a few quick tips that’ll help you to break through your plateaus and make a training session that bit more intense:
On your last set of a particular exercise, try slowly lowering the weight over a set period of time, like 10 seconds. Since your muscles are stronger on the negative, this is a good way to get a little extra oomph out of your set. If you train with a partner, get him to push down on the weight also to really get the muscles pumping (this is called a forced negative). Fight your partners push for the whole duration of the negative rep and you’ll feel the difference!
Make each rep count. Simply lifting the weight up and down wont give you that solid contraction that leads to growth or strength gains. You should already be focussing on the contraction at the end of a rep. For added intensity, try holidng that contraction for a few seconds, even if all you do is perform 3 or 4 reps holding for 10 seconds each rep. This prolonged contraction will get your muscles pumped.
We’ve all heard of forced reps, but still a lot of training partners don’t know how to best utilise them. On your last 1 or 2 sets, perform the exercise until failure, then get your partner to help lift the weight to force out another couple of reps. Spotters, remember not to take so much of the load that is easy, but to just give a tiny amount of force, just enough to keep the weight slowly moving, this ensures that the person performing the exercise still does most of the lift.
Supersets are those wonderful sets were you perform 3 exercises consecutively without rest. For example, you might perform 8 (reps) Barbell Curls, then follow up with8 reps of hammer curls with dumbells, and finish off 6 reps of reverse grip barbell curls. You can perform anywhere from 2 consecutive exercises up to whatever amount you want (don’t overdo it though) It is an entirely felxible movement, you can work the same muscle group, or different muscle groups (opposing muscle groups can work quite well), with different weightor the same weight with 3 different exercises. Your imagination is the limit on this one.
21′s basically split the exercise up into 3 lots of 7 reps, using a different range of motion. For example – if you are performing barbell curls, lift the weight 7 times for the lower half of the movement (hanging to horizontal), then 7 reps of the top half of the movement (horizontal to full contraction) then perform each rep 7 times with a full range of motion, this will really get your muscles pumped.
This is similar to the supersets but more clearly defined. A dropset begins by peforming a numebr of reps of a certain exercises, than dropping a portion of the weight and continuing immediately (without rest), this continues with weight being removed after each set, and performed immedetialy until there is nothing left but the bar. This is a great way to really work your shock your muscles in a short period of time.
Upon finishing your workout of a particular muscle group, try dropping the weight of the bar down to 40-60% of your max, and doing a burnout set to failure. Getting anywhere from 20-40 or even more reps is a good way to finish off a muscle and add extra intensity to the end of your workout.
Pass to partner
Once again if you have a training partner try a little drill like this: Perform a set of 10 (or however many you prefer) reps then pass the bar (or whatever weights you’re using) to your partner. Your partner will then perform the same set immeditaly and pass it back, you then immeditaly follow up, and repeat for 3-4 sets. This is a good way to elimiate a lazily long rest period and also add a little competition to you workout.
Switch it up!
Failing that maybe just try changing you routine entirely for a few weeks. If you prefer a split routine, try a doing full body sessions for a little while. if you seem to pump out 8 reps of just about everything you do, try increasing or lowering the weight, and adjust your reps accordingly (up to 12 or down to 4 or 5). Keep things changing so your body cannot adapt to what you are doing, and you’ll see consistent results.
For more muscle smashing tips, check out Jason Ferruggia’s guide to gaining size and getting ripped.