For the hardcore and the idealists, bodybuilding is all about packing on as much muscle as possible within a symmetrical shape or form. The more muscle you have, the better and size should always be a factor when deciding who wins and who doesn’t. In keeping with that idealistic viewpoint, your goal each training session should be to stimulate growth to the highest degree. The best way to go about that is by utilizing intensity boosting training principles to ensure that every set and every rep is building upon your desire to be as huge as possible. The following training principles have proven to be successful in increasing intensity levels in the gym while getting you to the size you want in no time.
One of bodybuilding’s greats once told me, that intensity is your only limiting factor when trying to accrue extreme size. If you have adopted the train to failure mindset, which is an incredibly powerful strategy, then you know that going beyond that is even better. How do you train past failure? Well, you use forced repetitions under the watchful eye of a trusted spotter. To do so, you work your way up to your heaviest weight and then proceed to knock out as many reps as you can on your own. Once you’ve reached your limit in doing that, you continue on with the help of your spotter who only provides enough support so that the weight keeps moving for another two to three reps. You are still pushing or pulling as hard as you possibly can, which keeps intensity levels high while you do more work than you could have done on your own.
Rest Pause Sets
In the spirit of training to failure and beyond, another great training principle you can use when you don’t have a spotter around and want to get more out of your sets, are rest pause sets. I would caution you that if you don’t have a spotter, then using a machine would be your safest bet here, otherwise go ahead and do so with free weights. Anyhow, what you do here is take your heavy set to positive failure and then rack it and rest 5-15 seconds. Immediately after that, perform another set at that same weight for as many reps as you can get. Rack it, wait another 5-15 seconds again and then perform one last set with that same weight and bang out as many reps as you can. What you’ll find is that by taking those mini-breaks within the sets, you end up performing more accumulative repetitions with that heavier load than you would have otherwise by just going all out for one heavy set.
One of the best things that happens when you start focusing on your intensity levels in the gym is how strong you end up getting. When you are employing aggression and approaching each set like it’s the last one you’ll ever get to do, your strength levels rise substantially. What most people fail to realize or capitalize on in this respect, is just how strong we are in the eccentric of our movements. Most of the time our focus is on the positive aspect of the rep and ensuring that we can finish our push or pull to maximum contraction becomes priority number one. Rather than always doing that, start focusing on the negative portion of the repetition and start handling heavier loads than what you’re accustomed to handling. This will stimulate more muscle fibres deeper into the muscle and provoke growth. Again, you’re going to want a trusted training partner to help you through these. You can end your sets with a few negative reps or you can perform an entire set of only negatives. Either way, they are extremely useful and incredibly powerful for boosting intensity levels.
The thought of being small simply does not exist in the minds of the mass monsters you see lurking around your gym. There’s a reason they look so intimidating and it’s because they’re strapped with a ton of muscle, a ton of intensity, a sick pair of Tactical Trainers and have only one thing in mind, mass. If you would like to join them, start utilizing the training principles mentioned above and get your status up from small and frail to huge and beast mode.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.