8 Intensity Game Changers

8 Intensity Game Changers

Build Muscle Matt Hartsky Fitness

By Coach Matt Hartsky

One of the biggest difficulties facing those who are serious about their strength and muscle building gains is ensuring all muscle fibers have been recruited and exhausted during a given exercise, because it is only by achieving this full motor recruitment that muscle gains can be maximized.

The simple answer is, you must work to perceived failure, and often times extend the set beyond this point, and experience a higher level of training intensity than before. This also ensures that workouts remain challenging and continue to build progress over time.

But how do you go about intensifying your training? Fortunately there is a tried and tested path to follow as outlined below:

1. Increase resistance.  It seems simple enough, but many people fail to challenge themselves often enough with increased resistance.  Increasing the weight lifted in meaningful increments ensures the muscle is pushed beyond its previous point of failure thus maintaining the muscle building process. Aim to increase the weight when you reach eight to 12 reps and failure does not occur.

2. Change the exercise.  To achieve maximal gains all muscle fibers in a body part must be trained. Changing the angle (e.g to incline bench press) or introducing a new exercise will stimulate growth.

3. Reduce rest intervals.  Giving the muscles less time to recover before exposing them to further work has the effect of increasing intensity.  Its also a great way to improve your conditioning without traditional “cardio.”

4. Pre-exhaust the muscle.  When an exercise involves two or more muscles the weakest will prevent you from working the primary muscle to failure. The answer is to first isolate and tire the primary muscle before immediately moving to another exercise that works the set of muscles to failure.

5. Introduce supersets, tri-sets, and giant sets.  This involves performing two or more exercises for the same muscle group without a rest interval. This means you have to utilize different muscle fibers which stimulate greater growth.

6. Use partial reps.  At the point of failure you will not be able to complete the full range of movement for a given exercise. Completing a partial rep that uses only a segment of the lift will still work your muscles beyond the point of failure. This technique is especially useful to advanced bodybuilders as it allows them to increase intensity without adding extra routines that could cause overtraining.

7. Use isometric contractions.  This involves holding the weight still at the point of failure to stimulate a static contraction in the muscle. 

8. Employ forced reps.  This involves completing one or more final reps after the point of failure has been reached. You will need the assistance of an experienced partner to attempt this technique.

Cover your bases by incorporating these techniques into your training regimen and you’ll be on your way to better muscle growth!

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