Very often people lose interest in the gym because it can get repetitive, which leads to us getting bored and not making progress. Little do people know that it’s CRUCIAL to switch things up in the gym, especially if you want to see bigger changes! Our muscles will get used to the same weights and how we train, and you will eventually stop seeing the results you want.
These 5 training techniques are amazing options that you need to add into your routine to increase the intensity of your workouts. I always recommended understanding the proper form before adding any sort of intensity. Always choose the correct weights for your strength levels and remember to write down what weights you used during your session. Keeping track is great, sometimes you can forget what weights you used last week, so this allows you to remember and go heavier next time. 😉
These techniques are a lot of fun, very challenging, and a great way to switch things up with your workout routine. Tricking your muscles by doing something different, adding in more weight, resistance, etc, will help them grow.
Drop sets are essentially a technique where you perform an exercise and then drop (reduce) the weight and continue for more reps. You can use dumbbells or even certain machines for drop sets.
I LOVE THESE. The burn is ahhhmazzzinggg! You can do drop sets with many variations, but this is how mine look. Take any exercise, like dumbbell shoulder press. Start by taking a weight that’s challenging for your first set.
25LB – As many reps as I can
15LB- As many reps as I can
10LB- As many reps as I can
5LB- Keep pushing. Continue for last set, for as many as I can.
OH, and NO REST IN BETWEEN! Once you finish your 3-4 drop sets, you can have your break. 😉
Now, you can either do as many reps as you can for each set, or if you like to have a number in your head aim for 10-12 reps.
Drop sets are effective for increasing your volume of training, while still maintaining good technique for the purpose of muscle growth and fat loss. This method is a great way to push your muscles to their limits, but always remember your form! We want to burn out our muscles, but we never want to go crazy heavy with weights to the point we lose our form and potentially hurt ourselves.
This method is when you perform two different exercises back to back and rest after you finished the two sets. Keep the sets and reps for each exercise the same. This technique is a great way to maximize the limited time you have in the gym. It increases intensity, since your sets are longer, therefore you are working your muscles for longer.
There are a few different options to choose from, it depends on how you want to use this technique, but let me break it down for you, so you can decide for your next gym day!
- True superset (antagonist superset) –
When you’re doing two exercises that target opposing muscles groups. Example: a bicep curl and a tricep extension. The main perk of adding these to your workout is that your muscles will recover faster in between sets.
- Compound set (agonist superset) –
Where both exercises work the same muscle groups. Example: a lunge and a squat. These babies are the ones that will target one zone and get it in a burning state. They’re particularly useful for adding intensity and volume to a workout. I usually go for the compound set, I love feeling the burn non-stop. My superset would look something like this. Your reps and weights are dependent on your own goals.
Lateral raises 10-12 reps followed by – front shoulder raises 10-12 reps (rest)
Standing shoulder press – Around the worlds
Hip thrusts – Goblet squats
These are ton of fun and challenging! These keep you so focused, and it makes working out enjoyable, with being able to switch up your routine. There are a great way to add more intensity into your workouts and overload the muscle groups engaged in the exercises you are performing.
Negatives are performed by controlling the tempo of the repetition and slowing down the lowering phase of the lift to an approximate 3-5 seconds rep count. It is important that you maintain tension in your muscles during the eccentric phase of the isotonic contraction.You can either do this with a partner and go heavier than you would go on your own, or by yourself, but make sure you can push the weight back in the right position and of course make sure you have proper form!
Leg press. Load the machine with the weights you can handle, slowly lower the the weight down toward you with a tempo of 3-5 count in your head, slow and controlled, then push the weight back up as quick as you can, or if you have a spotter they can help push it back up. Repeat this for as many reps as you have planned, or until your eccentric phase starts to fatigue.
I like to do these sometimes after my full workout, so get that burnout. Play around with this technique by doing different workouts, keeping things slow and controlled; this will help improve your strength and muscle growth. *Time under tension.*
These are fun to do with your gym partner. Jamie always pushes me and I love it! It’s killer, but the pump you get is crazy! With this technique you will need a spotter who gives you the right assistance when it gets tough, by helping you push out more reps with proper form. This is great for trying to break through strength plateaus, even if it’s all in your head.
If you’re used to doing only 10 reps for each set, this technique can help you bang out the 11th and 12th rep. This forces you to keep pushing over that obstacle, even if you get some help! This will help you in the long-run and eventually you will be able to do this on your own.
I love hitting biceps. If I’m doing standing bicep curls and I’m starting to fatigue, Jamie will come in and help me push a few more reps out. It’s a great way to get used to the weight and number of reps, so next time it’s a bit easier and eventually you can do that all on your own. So then you keep banging out more reps with help, and so on.
We must understand that forced reps are used to shock your muscles. This means that a forced rep shouldn’t be done in every single exercise. Do this sporadically and you will see results!
You can’t do exercises like barbell rows, deadlifts and lunges with the forced reps method.
Exercises like deadlifts, barbell rows, dips, and lunges don’t really lend themselves to forced reps…Doing bench press, biceps, shoulder press, and squats are great to do forced reps.
I don’t even know if this has a proper name, or if people do this on a regular basis, but I enjoy this technique of mine. In the middle of your sets and reps you sometimes forget what’s going on and just continue to bang out the reps and not have that muscle-mind connection. This technique that I do helps me focus on squeezing the muscle. The next day my working muscle is on fireeee.
Biceps – Each time you bring your arms to the top make sure you squeeze that muscle.
Triceps – If you’re on the cables doing tri’s make sure you pause at the bottom and squeeze them.
Hip-thrust – Pushing the weight up, make sure you take the time to pause at the top and squeeze those glutes.
You many think, “Well Amanda, this seems pretty straight forward”, but so many of us just do the basic motions. Staying connected and focused in the gym isn’t always an easy thing! Trust me, I’ve been there, especially if you’re working late or stressed out about something, your brain will just wander and focus on the non- related things. Maybe you think about what needs to get done at work tomorrow, or something going on at home. With all the distraction you don’t realize, that you’re missing out on a very important key to success, which is the muscle-mind connection.
Your movement is directed by your brain. Your brain sends out a signal to your muscles and it tells them to contract. When you improve your muscle-mind connection, you increase the number of muscle fibres that are being used when you do any lift! This will help with your muscle contraction and just an overall better workout!
I hope all of this information has helped you and that you feel more confident in your understanding with the technical aspects of training. These are techniques that I use in my day-to-day training, however, they might not be for everyone. Make sure you always have proper form and if a weight is too heavy to the point you do feel off or have bad posture, please drop the weights.
If you also need to feel more comfortable at the gym, read ” 11 Ways To Boost Your Confidence In The Gym”.
Keep challenging yourself, and keep pushing through. You got this! 🙂 <3