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You do not need to lift more weight to progress

With the fundamentals of most things you need to be doing more each time in order to improve or progress, right?⁣ If you just consciously lift the same weight week in week out it is safe to say you’re not progressing.⁣ Even though it maybe tough, your muscles are comfortable lifting this weight they know they have done it before therefore don’t need to get bigger or stronger.⁣ Yes, this is true but it isnt humanly impossible to continually increase the weight you lift every session.⁣ So, what other ways can we trick the body by introducing new stimulus to shock the muscle without having to change the weight.⁣ There are so many, and this is what makes weight training so fun!!⁣

Bands

No you can’t use bands on absolutely everything, but there is a great number of exercises of which you can. If you set it up correctly it works with the strength profile of the muscle i.e. less resistance at the bottom of the movement (where you are at your weakest) and then increasing tension and resistance where you are at your strongest (at the top of the movement). This will get the most out of the muscle in line with its strength profile.

Tempo

Firstly, what is tempo? it is the speed you perform the exercise. For example, a squat with a tempo of 3-0-1-0 would be a count of 3 on the way down (eccentric), 0 pause at the bottom, a count of 1 on the way up (concentric) 0 pause at the top. All exercise tempos are the same, with the first number being the eccentric (relaxing of the muscle) even if it is not the start of the exercises. By controlling the speed in which you move the weight, will change the stress put on the working muscle. If your goal if hypertrophy (muscle building), you don’t want to be slinging the weights around moving them as fast as possible. By controlling the tempo and the weight, will increase TUT-time under tension resulting producing a greater stimulus on the muscle.

Type of set, Dropset, Superset

There are so many different variations in sets…

Drop sets – dropping the weight down and continuing again straight after. It’s quite common to keep dropping the weight down and going to failure.

Pyramid sets – progression up or down the weight stack, with a reduction of reps as the weight goes up and an increase in reps as the weight goes down 20kg 12 reps, 30kg 10 reps, 40kg 8 reps, 30kg 10 reps, 20kg 12 reps

Supersets – 2 exercises back to back

Tri set – 3 exercises back to back

Giant sets – 4 exercises back to back

Mind muscle connection

Something that is overlooked or not known by a large number of those attending the gym! If you understand the way the muscle works, knowing the origin and the insertion locations as well as the direction in which the muscle fibres run, will allow you to get a deep connection resulting in a far better contraction when performing an exercise. Sets The number of sets you perform on a muscle group in a week or a session. Say for example you are hitting quads, 3 sets with 2 exercises in a session and training them twice a week. Making the weekly volume 3x2x2=12 by increasing the amount of sets you do on one of the exercises from 3 to 4 it will increase the weekly volume to 16.

Negative Reps

So what are they? They are a real reduction of speed in the eccentric phase of a movement, but an increase in tempo duration. I’ll use a squat again to explain… 5-0-1-0 which makes that a 5 second descend to the bottom position of the squat before returning back up. It’s great to incorporate negatives in a workout as you tear up to 200% more muscle fibres in the eccentric phase.

Forced Reps

This is only for advanced trainers with advanced training partners. After reaching or getting close to technical failure, your spotter/training partner then helps you with the concentric phase (contraction/shortening of the muscle) and then allowing you to control the eccentric (lengthening of the muscle).

Pause Reps

These are when you pause at the bottom of a rep and transition from the eccentric to the concentric phase. As an example let’s use leg press, tempo is 3-3-1-0, you descend 3 seconds (eccentric) pause at the bottom for 3 seconds and then 1 second up (concentric). The reason you pause at the bottom is that it takes away the elasticity in the muscle and doesn’t allow you to bounce out when changing direction in the contraction. It’s then the muscle doing all the work.