Sunday, December 21, 2014

Intensity increasing techniques

There are literally countless numbers of ways to increase perceived intensity in a training session.

I distinguish the difference in "intensity" (percentage of 1 rep max on the bar) and "perceived intensity", which would be the amount of effort given via a certain method.  

For example, drop sets, rest/pause, giant sets, supersets, etc.  Those I call perceived intensity techniques (PIT).   They aren't measured in load, but rather how hard you are training (this also has nothing to do with rate of perceived exertion, RPE).  

A few PIT that I like to use from time to time.  

Elevator presses - 

This is a great way to finish training if you just did chest and shoulders.  

Set the bench upright, and start with seated db presses.  You are going to pick a weight you can do about 12 reps with here in the seated shoulder press.  

Do 5 reps in the seated shoulder press, put the weights down, and lower the bench so that it's now a high incline press.  

Pick the weights back up, and do 5 reps.  

Lower the bench so that it's now at a medium incline, around 45 degrees, and do another 5 reps.  

Lower the bench again so that it's flat, and grab the dumbbells.  This time doing as many reps as possible.  

Do two rounds of this.  For the second round, you will probably need to lower the weight a bit.

Reversing this technique (going from flat to overhead) doesn't work as well because obviously you're stronger in a horizontal plane than a vertical one.  This is why you start by pressing vertical, then adjust downwards.    

Add 2 technique - 

This is a cool technique to use to finish on smaller bodyparts, to get a lot of volume in, in a short span.  You can use it for any movement, of course, but I prefer it for movements like curls, upright rows, so forth and so on.  

The reason being is because the weight you pick for the Add 2 technique is going to be the same, from warm up to finish.  If you wanted to do this with a big movement like squats or bench, you'd just need to warm up to your working weight (you will see why).

For example, on upright rows, I pick 115 pounds.  

I do a set of 6.  Rest 1 minute.  I then do a set of 8 (adding 2 reps), and rest 1 minute.  I do a set of 10, and rest 1 minute.  Do a set of 12, and rest 1 minute, etc.  

Add 2 reps to every set until you're at or hit muscular failure.  Once you do, you go back down the rep range.  So you subtract 2 reps on each set.  So if you worked up to a set of 18 before you hit failure, the next set you'd shoot for 16.  Then 14, 12, 10, 8....etc.  

As noted, this could be done with big movements, but you would want to warm up first.  With smaller movements, you can just grab a weight that serves as both the warm up and the working weight.

Shoulder giant set - 

This will be going in a new mass building book I am working on.  

You will emphasize each head of the deltoid, and then finish with something that also involves a bit more of the traps along with the shoulders.  All of these are done in non-stop fashion. 

Front plate raises - 25 reps
Rear Delt Machine or Bent Laterals - 25 reps
Side Laterals - 25 reps
Upright Rows - 25 reps

If you're really a glutton for punishment you can do a second round of this for 200 total reps.  If you've already done an actual shoulder session you will definitely pay for it if that is your choice.

Add these techniques in at the end of sessions to help maximize growth.  These are all great ways to add a lot more volume to your training using as little time as possible.

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