Resistance Training - Techniques and Benefits

24th August 2017


Doing the same old in the gym is all well and good until it's results in a power plateau. Mix in these techniques next time you're in the weight room to help blast through plateaus and add just the spice needed to keep you coming back to the gym day after day (except on rest days, of course!).

Training to Failure. During most lifts with a moderately heavy weight, the set is completed before failure is reached. Muscles feels taxed, the sweating has begun, a few more sets are rocked, and we move on to the next exercise. This is a great way to get stronger, but is taking a set to failure an even better way? Yes and no. While training to failure: lifting until the body can't do a single more rep recruits more muscle and triggers the body to release more strength-building hormones, it’s most effective if a very high percentage of a one rep max can be performed. Also, sets to failure increase the opportunity for overtraining and injury, so it’s best to use this technique only occasionally and with a spotter.

Super Set. Instead of tweeting about how sweaty you are after each set, push muscle groups by coupling exercise with another set that focuses on a different body part, for example: back and chest, bi's and tri's. Research suggests lifting in supersets can be just as effective as normal sets at building strength while adding an additional cardio component. Or for added punch, do similar body parts: shoulders and shoulders, legs and legs for a serious burn.

Drop Sets. Drop sets can be performed with any exercise that involves moving weight around, like squats or the bench press. You have performed ten bench presses and couldn't possibly do eleven. Re-rack the weight and have a partner take off ten pounds or so, then perform as many reps as possible at that new weight. It's even easier to use dumbbells and simply move to smaller and smaller bells, set to set. Three total drop sets is the norm, do this to infinity and beyond and you may be way too sore the next day.

Negative Sets. Weight training works with and against gravity. The motion towards the bar in a pull-up is called the "concentric movement," while heading back towards the ground is an "eccentric movement," or the negative portion of the movement. Resisting the pull of gravity during the negative porting of the movement taxes the muscles in a different way. At the end of a long set, switch to just performing negatives (with a partner's help on the way up) or work towards getting those difficult bodyweight movements (like a pull up or dip) by only performing the negative of the movement. Sounds easy? Just try it!

Rest-Pause Sets. The body is an amazing machine, with the right amount of rest it can surprise us with its tenacity. With a weight near your 3 or 5 rep maximum, perform as many reps as possible, then re-rack. Rest for 10 to 15 seconds, then grab it again and go at it. Make sure to keep correct form, and go/rest until you can't budge the bar. Make sure to only do this once.

 

Remember, the real trick to getting stronger is to progressively move more and more weight, so keep in mind that these tricks and tips are meant to supplement that goal. Try out some new techniques and bulldoze that training plateau like a beast.

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