Everyone who takes their training seriously wants to get ahead. And for weightlifters this is doubly so. You want to make progress. You want to get stronger, leaner, fitter. You want to build more muscle in the shortest possible time. And to do that you have to leave your comfort zone and make everything more challenging.
Here’s how to level up your strength game with five intensity driving techniques to push you through to more challenging workouts.
Five ways to take it to the max
You need to break out of traditional sets and follow these strategies to get yourself to the next level – and beyond.
- Supersize your sets
Ditch the traditional set pattern and turn it up. Supersets mean combining two different exercises and doing them without a pause between. Either choose opposing muscle sets, such as the deltoids and Latissimus Dorsi (shoulder and upper back) or use the same group for real intensity. For and faster results, go for trisets (three in a row) or giant sets (four in a row).
- Use the ‘rest/pause’ method
For bodybuilders aiming for ultra-power, this method squeezes the most out of each set. Basically, as you reach the end of your endurance on a set, you take a rest/pause of between five and ten seconds. Then blast out a few more reps. After another short rest/pause, you push out some more. You do this until you physically can’t manage any more.
There are loads of ways to vary this method, but the principle reason is the same. It allows you to push more out of every set and incrementally makes you stronger.
- Choose drop sets
If you like to do the maximum amount of work possible during your gym time, drop sets could be for you. You execute a greater number of high-quality reps during your set by decreasing the weights every time you max out.
For example, if you’re doing a set of 25 on something, and you max out at 10, you drop the weight and do more that way. You could keep going and drop another weight to repeat the pattern, but your muscles do need a rest, so it’s not always a good idea.
- Try partial reps
No, these don’t give you an excuse to only partially commit to your reps! I would never advocate dropping form just to get more in. Instead, it’s a planned method to get the most high-quality reps from your set.
It works like this. For whatever exercise you’re doing, when you get to the end of your endurance, stop just short of crashing out and put the weight back down. Keep doing this until you find you can’t control the weight, and when you fail with partial reps your set really is finished.
- Control the weight with paused reps
Anyone considering powerlifting should take notice of paused reps. Let’s look at a classic barbell bench press. When you lower the bar to your chest, you should wait for it to stop completely. Allow your muscles to re-engage before you press up. This makes your muscles work harder. You can use the same method for any exercise, and you will feel more challenged.
About Surya Gabriel Iacono
Surya G. Iaconois a fitness and wellness expert and blogger based in London, UK. Surya Iacono’s fitness blogs are aimed at keen gym-goers and exercise fans already well into their journey and looking for tips, tricks and ideas to take it to the next level.