Top 14 Ways To Boost Your Intensity In Your Strength Training Workouts
1. Triple Drops: 2-3 sets x 10/10/10 reps This is a descending set protocol. Start with a rep range that is set lower than standard hypertrophy ranges. Use a weight that will allow you to fail around those reps (3-5). Train till failure, drop at least 20% and continue with the next weight with little (20 seconds) or no rest, drop again 20% to a third weight (thus the term triple drops) and then repeat 2-3 times depending on your training level.
2. Wave Load: 12 sets total workout – 90% x 3, 95% x 2, 100% x 1,91% x 3, 96% x 2, 101% x 1, 92% x 3, 97% x 2, 102% x 1, 94% x 3, 98% x 2, 103% x 1 This is a specific descending unloading pattern that is typically used for the bigger movements. (squats, bench, deadlifts, cleans, snatches, jerks, so on.) The build-up sets prime the maxes and the maxes prime the next wave. Experienced lifters can probably make it all the way through the first three waves the first time, lesser experienced lifters will probably make it through 2.
3. German Volume Training: 10 sets x 10 reps This protocol uses the same weight for all 10 sets. Warm up to a working weight to where failure is about 12-15 reps. This is a good starting weight. Once started the lifter needs to keep rest times down to 90 seconds to 2 minutes max to maintain training fatigue and maximum hypertrophy.
4. Rest Pause: 1 set of x reps – rest 2 min – x reps – rest 2 min – etc. – till failure This is old school. Made popular by Sergio Oliva back in the 60′s. You work up to a working weight where you perform max singles, doubles or triples with a global movement (see #2). Perform an all out set and rest for 2 minutes. Do another set and another till total failure is hit. This allows you to use way more tonnage in the global lifts and build more strength and muscle than ever before. In my bodybuilding days, we would use this on the leg press using a 10 rep protocol and go till failure on each and every set till you couldn’t feel your legs. Some of the best growth in my legs ever was using this method.
5. Rep and a Half Method: 3-4 sets of 10 rep-and-a-half method Use the squat for example; one would squat all the way down, come half way up, go back down again, and come all the way up to full extension for 1 rep. Continue this for as many reps as possible. We typically used the 8-12 rep range.
6. Giant Set Training: 2-4 sets x X amount of reps for a certain number of exercises. Now these exercises can be within a certain body part, across a certain joint (opposing body parts) or a group of small or large body parts for metabolic work. Your goal will determine the exercise choices and order.
7. Position of Flexion Training: This training technique is one where the lifter changes the position of the body to maintain the height of the strength curve. The best example is one of the barbell curl. Everyone is familiar with the fact that the curl is easier to start, becomes more difficult as it reaches parallel to the floor, and then becomes a little less difficult as it reaches the end of the movement. One should re-position the body so where the most difficult part is the start (not unlike a preacher curl), regain total upright position for the mid-curl, and lean forward for the finish. It sounds kinda hokey, but give it a try on a few isolation movements and see just how difficult it is.
8. On The Clock Training: This training protocol is one where the lifer has access to resistance equipment all day long. Take for example the barbell curls again. One should perform an all out set of curls with a particular load. Then, on the clock, pick a particular time clock to where you will come back and perform sets after set of curls (i.e. – 1set x 20 reps every 15 minutes, or half hour or hourly).
9. Ultra High Rep Training: If you ever taken the hundreds system seriously, you will know intensity. You can perform this rep count for 1 set with 135 on squats or the empty bar on curls. One set, without putting the bar down, and without taking long breaks “just holding the bar”. The form does need to be descent so the muscle your trying to stimulate is just that, not turning into an olympic throw of some sort.
10. Spiral Set Training: 1set x 20 reps, 1set x 18 reps, 1set x 16 reps, 1set x 14 reps, 1set x 12 reps, 1set x 10 reps, 1set x 8 reps, 1set x 6 reps, 1set x 4 reps, 1set x 2 reps. This training protocol is usually performed either with a superset, with a training partner, a metronome, or a stopwatch, any way where the rest time can be dictated. Then follow the rep parameters with the working weight remaining a constant.
11. Pre-Exhaust Training: Isolation before Combination This training protocol has been around for a while. It was a favorite of Larry Scott and been used by just about every weight lifter since then. The idea is to pick an isolation movement (leg extensions, dumbbell flyes, etc.) and then superset them with a combination movement ( squats, bench press, etc.). This allows the lifter to dramatically increase the intensity without increasing the weight tremendously. This is great when one needs to take a break from the heavy weights, not the intensity.
12. 6-12-20 Holistic Training: This is an ascending triple drop. The weight do go down as the set is extended, but the corresponding reps go up. Pick a weight that one would fail around the 6-8 rep mark. Perform said reps, and then drop the weight about 15-20%. Continue to perform 12 reps and drop the weight again and then perform 20 reps. That’s one set! Try about two to three sets of that without dropping the beginning weight too much.
13. Negatives: This is one of Arthur Jones’ greatest training tools and tons of research came out of his institute on this protocol. One can lower between 120%-140% of their max under control for increased intensity and considerable hypertrophy. So much so, that one cannot perform this training technique more than once a month. The muscle micro trauma is extensive so one should be very aware that the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) will be considerable.
14. Strong Range Partials: This one is my favorite. It is normally used with the global movements ( bench, squat, deadlift, etc.) in the top / lockout range of motion of the particular movement. For example, set the pins in your power cage at just above the knee and drape a bar across it. Load the bar to a significant weight (working up to it of course) and lift in the low rep ranges weight the might be even as high as double the full range lift. Perform several sets of low or high reps in the strongest range and watch those muscles grow fast.