Our free workout routines will provide you with a wide arrangement of techniques to help add variety to your workout routine.
Incorporating different techniques into your workouts will prevent muscle adaptation forcing the body to respond to the new stress.
Below are some of the routine techniques that we use in our programs to help shock the muscle out of plateaus.
Forced reps are a process that involves working the muscle group to failure. Forced reps take place within a given set and can consist of maximal weight to failure (less reps) or light to moderate weight (high reps). Utilization of a lifting partner is essential to allow full contraction of the muscle to occur. Minimal time is needed between forced reps (as long as full muscle contraction occurs) and time between sets utilizing forced reps is longer to allow greater recovery.
Example: Bench press at 90% of max for 6 – 8 reps (employing a partner to help you through the full phase of contraction).
Partial reps or restricted range of motion (ROM) sets is similar to Twenty-ones except that the entire set is purposefully done through a partial range of motion. Focus can be either on the concentric or eccentric portion of the partial movement. This can be done anywhere within the normal full range of motion such as at the beginning, the middle, or the end. Weight is usually moderate to heavy and timing between sets is anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes.
Example: Lying Hamstring Curls – a set of 12 reps is done at the top of the normal range of motion, starting from the hamstrings being fully contracted and ending approximately midway through the normal range of motion and repeating.
Eccentric contractions are defined as muscle contractions in which the muscle lengthens as opposed to shortening (concentric contractions). This can be approached purposefully, with the aid of a partner, utilizing maximal weight (30-40% more than one’s maximal concentric lift) or it can be done with any regular exercise regimen where the lifter concentrates on the ‘down’ phase of the lift as well as the ‘up’ phase. Timing during the lift is very slow, allowing for control, and a minimum amount of time is needed between reps. Time between sets is usually greater, as one needs it for recovery.
Example: Bench press with weight exceeding your maximal press, slowly lower the bar to your chest and with the help of a partner return the bar to the starting position. Repeat. Word of caution: Eccentric contractions are known to cause more muscle soreness than concentric contractions, and the risk of injury is much greater due to the large amount of weight utilized!
Giant sets usually consist of a number of different exercises, for one particular body part, done in tandem. Set one is performed on one exercise followed by set one on the next exercise and so on. Weight is usually moderate and there is little to no rest between each exercise. After one set, rest can occur for two to three minutes.
Example: Triceps pushdowns – overhand grip, followed by triceps pushdowns – underhand grip, then dumbbell kickbacks. The total, composing one giant set.
Post-exhaustion sets involve performing low repetition, heavy weight sets, followed immediately by high repetition, light weight sets. This can be done with the same exercise (example #1) or with two different exercises (example #2). There is minimal to no rest between the heavy and light phase of the set. Rest between sets is moderate to long, again, for recovery.
Example #1: Squats – Heavy set doing 4 to 6 reps followed immediately by squats with a lighter weight, 12 – 15 reps.
Example #2: Squats – Heavy set doing 4 – 6 reps, followed by leg extensions, moderate weight, 12 – 15 reps
A super set consists of a number of different exercises, for two or more body parts, one after the other. Body part number one is exercised, and then body part number two, etc. Weight is moderate to heavy, with minimal rest between exercises. Rest between super sets is anywhere from two to five minutes.
Example: Biceps and Triceps – alternating standing curls with triceps French curls.
Stalled Reps involve stopping the movement somewhere in-between the starting and finishing positions, stalling there for a given time period, and then finishing the movement. This can be done at the beginning of the movement, midway through the movement or near the end. Stopping the movement at the end of the movement is not as beneficial unless resistance is still present (i.e. with a cable system). The “stall” lasts anywhere from 3 to 10 seconds and can occur at a given point all the time, or at an alternate point each time. Rest between stall sets is user-dependant but can be anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes.
Example: Preacher curls with a stall at the midway point for 10 seconds before completing the range of motion.
Pre-exhaustion is a method in which a muscle group is isolated, using an isolating movement prior to doing a compound movement (more than one muscle being utilized, or more than one joint involved in an exercise). This method fatigues the muscle being refurbished before it is subjected to “the real” workout. Weight is light to moderate and reps are usually in the higher range.
Example: For your chest – cable crossovers (isolating movement), three sets of 20 reps, before doing bench press (compound movement).