April 26, 2018

In my younger days, I would do whatever I could to chase the burn. When I first started training, information was much harder to come by. 

I would often set strange and wonderful workout plans, not really sure what or even why, I was doing them. Looking back, I almost created my own versions of the more traditional advanced training techniques that we now use on a daily basis. If you are serious about training, and in turn serious about training results, then for sure you need to capitalise and introduce some, if not all of the following techniques.

There are different techniques which will suit different people. There are also techniques that are aimed at growth, tone and fitness. So be sure to know exactly where you want to go with your training and incorporate each technique where and when required. 

Forced Reps:

Forced reps are fantastic to use for muscle growth (hypertrophy) when done correctly. The key to this is to find a good training partner or spot, who can apply only the smallest amount of assistance needed to help you complete the set.

The idea of a forced rep is that a training partner gives you gentle assistance allowing you to overcome the weak point in the movement. You should always take the negative aspect of a forced rep. You don’t want any more than 2 forced reps. Any more than this and your training partner is either coming in too soon to spot or they are taking way too much of the load.

Remember, the idea of muscle building is to stimulate and completely blitz a muscle; not to give your spot a pulled back in an attempt to spot you. 

Drop Sets:

Drop sets are a key go-to exercise that I’m pretty sure we have all used before. A drop set is just as it seems, whereby you drop the weight in that set once you have performed the first set of the exercise, then grab a lighter weight and straight away go back into the exercise. This can be repeated numerous times depending on the athlete’s fitness levels and more importantly energy and enthusiasm. Now, when I say drop, I mean weights used; don’t actually drop the weight in a physical manner.  Drop sets are great to use when you are coming up towards the end of a diet or are stuck in a rut and can’t seem to shed any fat.  

Super Set:

A super set is when you perform two separate exercises, one after another, with very little or no rest at all between exercises. Supersets are amazing for developing muscle size. However, they are not so good for muscle strength due to the fact you are fatigued by the second exercise. 

Different types of supersets

Pre-exhaust Superset
This is one of the most recognised and probably most frequently used supersets out there. When performing a pre-exhaust set you must make the first exercise an isolation one. 

Therefore, if we were using chest, your first exercise would be a fly, aiming for a descent number of reps, 8-10 ideally. Once you have performed the fly, we would then go straight into the compound movement for the same muscle. 

In this case, we decided to use a chest press with dumbbells. Do not expect to be strong during the second exercise due to the lack of rest and replenishment of the muscles.

Opposing Muscles Superset
This form of super setting is very popular and as long as your fitness level is sufficient, is a fantastic way to really hit two opposing muscles hard.

Super setting in this way works really well for building strength, as well as mass, at it allows the muscles to rest in between exercises. The biceps and triceps respond well to this form of training. Hitting larger muscle groups can be very taxing on the system. 

Compound Supersets
This form of supersets can produce some great and fast results in muscle size as we are hitting two compound exercises back to back with no rest. However, as a result of the intensity that this demands on the system, it is important that you allow for adequate rest after the session has finished. The main disadvantage of compound supersets is that form can get sloppy as you get tired, thus increasing the risk of injury and also reducing the amount of stress placed on the muscle.

Negatives
This is very powerful training tool and fantastic for building strength. A technique that is used time and time again by powerlifters, weight lifters, professional benchers and strength athletes. For me, strength plays a vital role in my training.  I have long leavers and it doesn’t really favour me at all, so I make sure that I do all I can with my training to compensate for this. 

When we lift a weight, there are two phases to the movement: the positive and the negative phase. The idea of negatives is that we really focus on this part of the movement, looking at really overloading the muscle at the phase. 

This works well as a muscle is at its strongest during the negative movement. When you perform any number of repetitions for any exercise, you will find that it is always the concentric (positive) part of the movements that fails first. 

For negatives to work, they must be done at a slow speed, full control and the weight must be over loading the muscle. A good spot is essential here, especially as you may be using a weight which you can’t control alone on the positive phase. If you are pressing this could be extremely dangerous if not done correctly. 

Negatives are an extremely advanced technique which I would only advice for the advanced lifter as they place a tremendous amount of strain on your ligaments and tendons. You should only really perform 3-4 negatives per set. Any more than this and the weight being used is too light.

With any form of advanced training, be sure to introduce slowly and don’t over kill. More is not always better. Sometimes taking a step backwards and analyzing your progression and slowly implementing change works much better than jumping in the deep end and drowning.   


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