Level-Up Your Workouts

These training techniques are options that you should add into your routine to increase the intensity of your workouts.

​I would suggest getting down the proper form first, before adding to the intensity. Make sure you choose the correct weights for your strength levels and track your training sessions, so you know what weight you were using, so eventually you can go up in strength.

​These techniques are fun, 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.

DROPSETS

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 dropset, 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 or whatever number you want, just try to make it challenging.

​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 technique is a great way to push your muscles to their limits, but remember that form is important! So if you are utilizing this technique with bigger compound lifts, just ensure that you are not fatiguing to the point of losing your good form.

SUPERSETS

A superset is when you perform two different exercises back to back, and then rest after you have completed both. You will keep the sets and reps of each exercise the same throughout each superset.

​This technique is a great way to maximize the 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.

EXAMPLE:

Lateral raises 10-12 reps followed by – front shoulder raises 10-12 reps (Rest)

Standing shoulder press – Around the worlds

​Hip thrusts – Goblet squats

NEGATIVES

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.

Negatives 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!

EXAMPLE:

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.**

FORCED REPS

These are fun to do with your gym partner. Jamie always pushes me and I love it! Its killer, but the pump you get is crazy!

With forced reps, you’ll need a spotter who will give you the right assistance when it gets tough, they can help you push more reps with good form. This technique can help you break through strength plateaus, even when they’re only in your head.

EXAMPLE:

If you’re used to doing 10 reps for each set, a mental block could be stealing the 11th and 12th reps from you. Forcing yourself over that hurdle, even with some help, makes it more likely you’ll hit it next time 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 of me. 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 realize that forced reps are used for shock. We are shocking the muscle, therefore this means that a forced rep needs to be something that we do not implement into every exercise. This will only negate our underlying purpose. Again, do this sporadically, and not with every exercise!

​Exercises like deadlifts, barbell rows, dips, and lunges don’t really lend themselves to forced reps…

However, many of the tried and true favourites certainly do – such as the bench press, bicep curl, shoulder press, and even the squat.

PAUSE/SQUEEZE (MMC)

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.

EXAMPLE:

​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 focused in the gym isn’t always easy, trust me, I’ve been there, especially if you’re working late or stressed out about something, heck maybe your mind starts to wander and your thoughts drift about what needs to get done at work tomorrow, or something going on at home. You probably don’t realize it, but you’re missing out on one of the most important secrets to success, the mind-muscle connection.

​As you know, movement is controlled by the brain. The first step towards muscular contraction is a signal sent by the brain to your muscles telling them to contract. By improving your MMC you are actually increasing the number of muscle fibres being recruited when you perform a lift. This results in a better quality muscle contraction and 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.

Keep challenging yourself, and keep pushing through. You got this! 🙂 <3

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