So it’s almost the end of March. If taking charge of your health was one of your New Year’s resolutions, and you are still at it, then…
However, chances are that you have reached a plateau – body changes are not as noticeable, your weight has not moved for a few weeks and frankly you are getting bored with and unchallenged by your workout routine.
So today I have a few suggestions to amp up your workout – make it interesting, make it challenging and ultimately get the results you want!
A failure set is when you do an exercise with the intention of not being able to do a single repetition more i.e. your body is working at 100%.
For example, if you are accustomed to doing 3 sets of bicep curls, try doing your last set as a failure set by doing reps until you can’t do a single one more. If you find that it takes forever (i.e. you can do more than 25 reps without failing) then you are probably using a weight that is too light. Therefore, failures are also a great diagnostic tool for choosing the appropriate weight for your regular sets.
The most important thing to remember is to maintain good form. Poor form is a failure by itself…. and not the good kind!
Negatives are when you perform a rep and on the reverse movement you s–l–o–w it down. Negatives are also good for increasing muscle strength.
For example, if you perform a chin up, the positive movement will be pulling yourself up, the reverse movement would be lowering yourself down. If you are doing a negative set, every time you lower yourself back down, do it super slowly and really feel the burn as the muscle is fatigued.
You may want to decrease the amount of reps you are accustomed doing by about 10%. For example, if you usually do 12 reps per set, try 10 reps of negatives.
A drop set is a set where you continuously decrease the amount of weight you are lifting so you can make it to your target number of reps without resting.
Drop sets are useful for increasing muscle size and not necessarily strength or endurance.
There are many alternative ways to do drop sets. I’ve just shown 2 alternatives but you can check out this article for more.
Alternative 1: If your target is 20 reps, do 20 reps with a desired weight, do 20 reps with a lower weight, and do 20 reps with the lowest weight without resting in between. If you are fatigued before you get to 20 reps at any point move on to the lower weight and aim for 20 with that one.
Alternative 2: You can have multiple targets – For example, start off with your heavy weight and do 10 reps, then switch for a lighter weight and do 15 reps, then use your lightest weight to do 20 reps without resting in between. Again, if you are fatigued at any point drop the weight and try to meet the next target.
Again, you should maintain proper form as drop sets are a variation of failure sets.
A superset is one in which you do two different exercises back to back without resting.
For example if you are doing a superset of squats and leg presses, you would do one set of squats immediately followed by one set of leg presses without resting in-between. You could try alternating two different muscle groups as well (e.g. chest and back, biceps and triceps, glutes and quads). Typically you may have to lift slightly lower weight than usual to ensure you complete your super set without failing.
Because there is no resting in a superset, this type of training is good for those who have limited time in the gym; but be prepared to work hard because it is an intense form of training!
I hope these variations help to spice up the life of your workout. And as a Friday giggles bonus….
I hope he didn’t hurt himself!