The search for sleeve-busting biceps and chiseled chest has led lifters to try virtually anything to gain more muscle and see better results. All of the new, cutting-edge techniques that are emerging have led us to forget one thing – what actually works.
1. REST-PAUSE SETS
In terms of producing hypertrophy, training volume is crucial. Putting enough stimulus on the muscle for growth is imperative if you want to see any kind of results. Rest-pause training typically works by having the lifter perform a few reps, racking the weight for 15 seconds, and then un-racking it and continuing to work. This continues for several sets. JC Deen, trainer and author of JCD Fitness explains why this method works so well. “This type of training is very effective for mass gain because it allows you to approach fatigue very quickly while allowing you to get in more of the reps that ‘count’ so to speak.”
Read More: 10 Lower Ab Workouts for Men
2. MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE DROP SETS
Our muscular system works as a series of levers and pulleys that move our joints during an exercise. As a result, there are certain positions and exercises that give your muscle more of an advantage. For instance, wide grip pull-ups are more difficult than their close-grip counterparts because of the position of your limbs and the muscles involved. You can capitalize on this concept by starting at the positions your weakest and moving towards stronger positions as you fatigue for a whole new world of exhaustion.
You may use super sets in your current program to increase training density and fatigue a certain muscle group. Complexes take this concept to the next level. By working three to four exercises in a row, you’ll compound fatigue on a certain group of muscles leading to an insane stimulus for growth.
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1. Power exercise – 3-5 reps (Example: Clapping Push-up)
2. Strength Exercise – 6-8 reps (Example: Dumbbell Bench Press)
3. Isolation Exercise – 8-12 reps (Example: Cable Chest Fly)
4. Bodyweight Fatigue Exercise – As many reps as possible (Example: Close Grip Push-up)
There are three distinct phases during a lift. First, there is a muscle shortening phase or concentric contraction when lifting the weight (think of squeezing the muscle). Next, the muscle is lengthening under load to lower the weight back down – referred to as an eccentric contraction. Finally, there is typically a pause or isometric contraction between the two. The eccentric phase or slow lowering of the weight causes huge amounts of muscle damage and therefore spurs tons of new growth. To make matters even better, you’re stronger when lowering a weight than actually pressing one up meaning you can handle heavier loads on the lowering portion and cause more muscle fatigue.
5. TIME UNDER TENSION TRAINING
In one corner, there’s a guy blowing through 12 reps in no time at all then spending a two-minute rest break perusing his Facebook news feed. In the other corner, a diligent lifter is timing his sets, making sure they last 30 seconds before putting the weight back down. Who builds more muscle? Probably the 30-second guy slowing down his reps. Kawa moto explains “Many trainees tend to focus on sets and reps, but many don’t consider the tempo of an exercise.