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Carl Jackson

 

The 3 Most Intense Muscle Building Techniques!

by Carmen Grange

 

     There is no standard way to resistance train.  Some studies, trainers, coaches, etc. will tell you that you should start with core exercises.  These are the big power movements that require the incorporation of multiple muscle groups, like squats.  Others will say that starting with an assistance exercise to “pre-exhaust” the muscle is more beneficial but the reality is, there is no way more superior to another; however, workouts should always be changing so that they may provide the best possible outcome for muscle hypertrophy, strength, or power increases, so it’s a good idea to use both methods.  But the structure of your workout is not the only thing that keeps your muscles guessing, allowing for greater muscle building potential.  There are also different ways to organize your exercises to increase muscle mass, strength, and power output.

Supersets

     A technique used to stress two opposing muscle groups in one set with very little (to no) rest in between exercises.  A superset incorporates two different exercises and sequentially arranges them into one larger set.  This method of training is time efficient and purposely demanding.  Due to its strenuous nature, it may not be appropriate for all athletes, especially those just beginning a resistance training program.  

Example: an athlete may perform 4 sets of 12 repetitions of a superset employing both the biceps and triceps muscle groups.  In this example, she decides to perform EZ bicep curls and EZ bar skull crushers.  The athlete would begin by completing 10 reps of the bicep curl and she would immediately get in position to execute 10 reps of skull crushers.  She would proceed to perform this exercise 3 more times to reach her goal of 4 sets of 10 reps.  

Compound Sets

     These are often referred to as supersets, and the distinction is easily missed or ignored.  This technique is of the same nature as supersets.  It employs to exercises to be executed sequentially as one set, with very little (to no) rest in between the exercises.  The difference here is that supersets incorporate opposing muscle groups, while compound sets utilize the same muscle group.  Similarly to supersets, the complexity of this style of training may be too advanced for some populations.

Example: a bodybuilder’s goal is to perform 4 sets of 10 repetitions.  He is training chest today, so he decides to choose two exercises that target the pectoralis muscle group.  He begins by executing 10 reps of dumbbell chest press and immediately follows that exercise with 10 reps of dumbbell fly.  He must make sure that his rest period in between the two exercises is minimal while maintaining the ability to properly execute the set.

Carl Jackson

Drop Sets

     Unlike super- and compound sets, drop sets do not incorporate more than one exercise per set.  However, just like with the aforementioned techniques, this style of training may become strenuous; thus, it may not be appropriate for all resistance training skill levels.  

     Drop sets begin just like any other exercise: the athlete chooses a weight appropriate for him and performs some number of reps until the goal is reached.  But the set doesn’t stop there. Immediately following that initial set, the weight is reduced and the same exercise is performed again until the desired amount of repetitions is met.  This technique of dropping the weight throughout the duration of the set places excess strain the muscle allowing for a greater chance of enhanced muscle hypertrophy.

Example: an athlete sits on the leg extension machine and decides that he is going to perform 3, 5-tier drop set of 10 reps.  He begins with a weight that is comfortable for him (not too light, not too heavy), and begins his first 10 reps.  Immediately following the completion of those 10 reps, he drops the weight and performs an additional 10 reps.  This technique continues until the weight has been modified 5 times and all 50 reps have been executed per one set.  

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