Bodybuilding Techniques to Increase Muscle Growth
Once you have been bodybuilding for at least six months or more. You may be ready to employ some advanced training techniques in order to increase the intensity of your workouts. If you are no longer experiencing soreness the day or two after a good workout, you may need to start using one or two of the following techniques. Once your muscles get used to your workouts taking the last set to the point of muscular failure, you must then go slightly past muscular failure in order to stimulate new growth.
One of the most effective advanced bodybuilding techniques is called Negative reps. This is so important that I have explained it on it’s own page.
Forced reps is similar technique to negative reps but training partner will be helping you to do one or two additional positive repetitions, after muscular failure. Using this technique, your partner will be watching you perform your last set. When you can no longer raise the weight he will give you just barely enough help to keep the weight moving in a positive direction, but he will not lift it for you, as he did in the negative rep technique.
See Forced Reps information in the Strength Training section at Wikipedia.
This is a technique that you can do without a training partner. To perform this technique simply perform your last set as usual and when you reach muscular failure, simply pause for 30 seconds, or even as long as a minute if necessary until your muscle has recovered enough to do one more rep. After you’ve done one more rep, rest again for 30 seconds to a minute or until you feel you can do another rep. Use this technique to add two or three additional repetitions at the end of your regular sets and you will surely feel the burn!
This technique can be used in a couple of different ways. One way in which this is used is to take a weight that is heavier than your normal weight for a particular exercise but only perform one third or one half of a regular repetition.
For example, on a bench press, You could load the weight up a little higher than you normally can last a dead when you listed off the rack, you only lower the weight one third of the way down before pressing it back up.
You’ll find that since you’re only doing a small portion of the repetition, you can use a much heavier weight. This is a method of increasing your strength in one portion of a full repetition at a time. You’ll have to experiment with the amount of weight to use in the various exercises.
You can do the top third of the movement, the middle third of the movement or the bottom third of the movement usually working in a portion of the movement where you tend to fail at the end of the set. For example, when you’re bench pressing and you reach muscular failure, if it is usually right in the middle of the movement, that’s where you want focus your partial reps to improve your strength in that area. If muscular failure for you is when the weight is touching your chest, then you want to work on the bottom third of the movement to increase your strength.
Another use of partial reps is when you’ve reached muscular failure in exercise, but you can still perform the bottom third of the exercise a few more times. For example, if you are doing bicep curls and you get to the point when you are half way up, but you cannot go any further, lower the weight to the bottom and then raise it as far as possible two or three more times.
A superset is another technique to add intensity to your workouts. This is simply a technique in which you perform one exercise for a body part and when you reach failure immediately move to a different exercise for the same body part. For example, do a set of bench presses and then when you reach failure, immediately start performing flyes until failure. You can superset squats and leg extensions, barbell curls and concentration curls, military presses and lateral raises, triceps press downs, French presses, and the list goes on.
Another way to use supersets is to superset opposing muscles. For example, do a set of a triceps exercise until failure and immediately go to a biceps exercise until failure. Do a set of bench presses and immediately follow that with a set of low pulley rows for the lats. This is a good way to engorge an entire area with blood, enhancing your pump and triggering greater muscle growth.
Super Slow Reps
Super slow reps are and other excellent way to increase intensity and push your muscles past muscular failure. This one is pretty self explanatory, in that basically you do your regular routine day he except that each rep is performed at an extremely slow pace.
Extremely slow can mean anywhere from 4-10 seconds going up, and 4-10 seconds going down. You can experiment with this one as to when in the set to apply this technique, and how long you want each rep to last.
For example, you can perform your set as usual except when you get to appoint where you know you can complete at least one more rep, perform that last rep super slow. The very first time you try this technique, you will feel muscle fibers working that you didn’t even know you had!
This is a technique I have recently implemented in my own training. As with most of the other techniques, there are various ways to utilize static holds. That method I use is to apply is only on the negative portion of the last rep of my last set.
When I get to the point (in the bench press for example) where I had pressed the barbell all the way up and I know I can not complete another rep, I lower the barbell about half way down and attempt to hold it in that position as long as possible. I will probably only be able to hold it there for a second or two and then fight it all the weight down until it rests on the power rack pins.
This technique is very similar to super slow reps. The difference is that using super slow reps, you are concentrating on lowering the weight under control for a predetermined period of time (i.e. 10 seconds).
Using static holds you are actually attempting to hold the weight in one position which actually requires you to push against the weight as if you are attempting another positive repetition. Once you begin to experiment with these techniques, you will see and feel the differences between them.
You will want to learn to use each technique said that you will have many different ways to increase the intensity of your workouts in your repertoire. Since the human body has the amazing ability to adapt to repeated stresses, you will need to change the techniques you use from time to time to keep your muscles growing.
Once you began to increase the intensity of your workouts, it is more important than ever to be sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to continue growing. You must consume 1 to 1.5 g of high quality protein per pound of body weight each and every day. It is also a good idea to feed your muscles the proper amount of creatine and glutamine before and after each workout.