One of the biggest obstacles athletes face is gaining muscle. How can you be sure you're maximizing each exercise and continually progressing?
The simple answer is, you have to work beyond failure and experience a higher level of training intensity than before. Introducing techniques that significantly raise exercise intensity can stimulate muscle growth very quickly. This also ensures that workouts remain challenging and continue to progress over time thus reducing the likelihood of plateau or regression.
But how do you go about intensifying your training? Here are 6 ways to increase the intensity of any workout:
1) Increase Resistance
Increasing the weight lifted in meaningful increments ensures the muscle is pushed beyond its previous point of failure, maintaining the muscle building process. Aim to increase the weight when you reach six to eight reps and failure does not occur.
2) Change the Exercise
To achieve maximal gains all muscle fibers in a body part must be trained. Changing the angle (e.g to incline bench press) or introducing a new exercise will stimulate growth.
3) Reduce Rest Intervals
Giving the muscles less time to recover before exposing them to further work will increase intensity.
When an exercise involves two or more muscles the weakest will prevent you from working the primary muscle to failure. The answer is to first isolate and tire the primary muscle before immediately moving to another exercise that works the set of muscles to failure.
5) Introduce Supersets
This involves performing two exercises for the same muscle group without a rest interval. This means you have to utilize different muscle fibers which stimulate greater growth.
6) Use Forced Reps
This involves completing one or more final reps after the point of failure has been reached. You will need the assistance of an experienced helper to attempt this, but this helps you get in a few extra reps you might otherwise not have completed.
The Bottom Line
Adding these techniques to your training regimen will produce much greater results while making things interesting as you change things up to challenge yourself. You'll know you've done your best to maximize muscle growth, and with the added stimulus, feel like you've put your best work in!
Team Divided Academy
Posted by: Divided Academy
Author: Sarah Cummings
Divided Labs Fitness Coach
NASM Certified CPT, CNC
The Divided Academy cultivates, creates and collaborates with leading fitness experts to help you stay informed and achieve extraordinary results.