It is universally understood that the use of progressively heavier weights in your program is what is necessary to make gains. If you were to use the same poundage, doing the same exercises, you would quickly plateau and your gains would become non-existent.
But what if you don’t have access to a gym with hundreds of plates laying around, or you only have enough money for a few assorted dumbbells at home? Does that mean you won’t get a good work out and make gradual progress? Absolutely not!
I am going to show you a few different ways to take that relatively light weight to get a huge pump and totally destroy your muscle fibers, allowing them to rebuild and come back stronger than ever.
Not only is proper form important for safety reasons, it is also crucial for mind-muscle connection. When your form for the movement is correct and your supporting muscles are engaged, you will find that much less weight is needed, as opposed to being sloppy and just throwing the weights around.
Slowing Down the Cadence
Some athletes train explicitly for speed and explosiveness, these people tend to either do very fast reps, or explode from the bottom of the movement. However, if you are just trying to get in shape, or put on some size, try slowing down the way you perform the exercise.
Try doing a 5/5 cadence while keeping strict form. Five seconds to lift the weight and five seconds to lower it. I guarantee that you won’t be able to lift as much as if you just blow through the reps.
This is just another variation of the cadence mentioned previously, only this time, you explode at the bottom of the movement. When you get the contraction hold it, now slowly lower the weight down, and I do mean slowly! These are called negatives and they really shred the muscle fibers, so much in fact, that you shouldn’t do them on every set, every day.
This method of training has been shown to do the most damage to the muscle in the shortest amount of time, which is why I love doing them. Do the exercise to failure, and I do mean failure, not just when your brain starts crying”It hurts!” Now rest for a full 10 seconds, do the movement again to complete failure. Rest 10 seconds, last set. Typically you will find that your reps will get cut in half for each set. Example 12-6-3.
Super sets can either be stimulation of opposite muscle groups back to back, ie bench/row, or bis/tris, or several movements that target the same muscle group performed without rest. For instance, try doing overhead extensions for your tris to failure. Immediately drop and do diamond pushups, rest one minute then hit them again, if you find this to be too difficult, go into a modified pushup position. Check your ego at the door.
So, no more excuses as to why you can’t get stronger and put on some size. Just changing up these methods will keep the muscles confused and promote growth. There really doesn’t have to be a lot of confusion or science to weight training. Tear it down, feed it, rest, repeat.
Rocco is the VP here at QuirkyByte, and he has been writing since he could hold a crayon. He is a huge fan of music, nature, the arts and anything unique, or creative. Physical fitness is also a passion for him. Currently Rocco resides in upstate New York.