We all know that in order to make physical improvements we need to train outside of our comfort zone. If you did the same session day in day out your body will eventually get used to it and it would become easy and lose its benefits, you may have improved leading up to this point but without change now, your body will only maintain its current potential.
Many people when deciding to make things harder will only increase the weight. The bigger the weight, the stronger you are right? Well not necessarily, there are so many different variables you can change when it comes to weight training. There is intensity, rest time, amount of sets, number of reps and tempo. You can change one of these at a time and without changing the weight give yourself a more difficult session each time for a long time.
There are many different weight training techniques which are used in the gyms these days, varying from simple methods of training to quite complex methods of training. It is important though that you only use these more advanced methods if you understand why you are using them. You can make a massive deal of progress just by adjusting the different variables I mentioned above when your body starts to become accustomed to the session.
I am a firm believer that variety is the spice of life, I would get bored pretty easily if I was doing the same session in the gym 5 days a week every week. So I am going to give you three training methods which you may not have used or heard of before, this will give you some new ideas in the gym, enable you to have shorter workouts but with the same benefit, and definitely make your muscles burn!
I must say though that these are more advanced techniques and should not be tried unless you have been training with weights for a while.
So here are my 3 ways to make your muscles burn!
1. High Intensity Interval Training
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is normally more associated with the cardio side of things but is a great way to ensure maximum muscle burn on the lower body.
A simple HIIT session plan could use a ratio of 2:1 High intensity e.g. 40 seconds of maximal sprinting with 20 seconds of medium/low paced recovery jog or walk. You could repeat this 7 or 8 times for a good workout.
Tabata training is another type of high intensity interval training, you can use this for your usual cardio activities or apply it to a weights or bodyweight circuit.
The basic outline of Tabata training is:
• 20 seconds of intense training
• 10 seconds of rest
• Total of 8 sessions or rounds lasting 4 minutes.
An example of a tabata bodyweight circuit which you could try:
Speed squats 20 sec – 10sec rest
Burpees 20 sec – 10 sec rest
Mountain climbers 20 sec – 10 sec rest
High knees 20 sec – 10 sec rest and repeat.
You should get a great burn after just 4 minutes!
Supersets move away from the conventional 3 sets, 1 minute rest between each of one exercise kind of training. This type of training combines 2 sets of 2 different exercises with no rest period. The lack of rest and selection of exercises is what makes supersets so difficult.
When performing supersets you should aim to work the same muscle group for each exercise to ensure maximum benefit for that muscle or aim for muscle groups which are close together e.g. biceps/triceps or back/chest.
Set of hammer curls Set of dips
Set of concentration curls Set of overhead tricep press
To make it more difficult a lot of people will perform the set to failure.
One of the reasons behind supersetting is that it forces as much blood as possible into the area that you are working.
3. Drop Sets
With drop sets training you would choose one exercise e.g. a shoulder press. Perform as many reps as possible using 20KG Dumbbells, then do as many as possible using 18KG Dumbbells, then 16KG and then 14KG. Usually perform 3-4 sets with no rest between each set.
You don’t have to work to failure you could just try and stick to a certain number of reps for every set. As the weight is getting lighter it increases your chance of being able to hit the same amount of reps for each set.
Just another good method of adding an extra degree of difficulty and variety to your training to keep things interesting and fresh.
So as I mentioned above the aim of this article was to give you a few new ideas and different ways to train. These methods should only really be used if you have good training experience and are looking for ways to up your results.
With the supersets and dropsets don’t use them for every session, one a week for a different muscle group is great.
A lot of new exercisers will adopt things such as supersets just because it can give off the impression of working hard when a normal way of training is perfect for them for now.
Thanks for reading,