The human body is an extremely adaptable organism. We are exposed to stressors and we adjust our physical being to be able to more easily deal with these stressors the next time we face them. Bodybuilders are especially adaptable. They train week in and week out, using the same exercises for months and years at a time. It’s no wonder that bodybuilders hit plateaus and stop growing as times passes. The body only grows (adapts) when it is presented with new sets of stressors. The intelligent bodybuilder realizes that the only way to continue growth is to continue to find new ways to stress the body. Shocking principles present a few different ways to do this.
More weight than usual
Increasing the weight being used for exercises suddenly requires the muscle group to respond with new growth. New muscle fibers are recruited to compensate for the workload, and in the days following the new strenuous workload, they will grow. Use of a spotter or other safety device is essential for this technique.
More reps than usual
Sets of higher repetitions recruit slow-twitch muscle fibers, which typically are not used during normal sets of 6 to 12 repetitions. As a trainer passes rep #12 and continues to reps #16, #20, and beyond, these fibers are used to compensate for the endurance-based workload. This results in new muscle fibers being recruited and new growth, the goal of training.
More sets than usual
Increasing the number of sets results in better, longer pumps – more blood being present in the muscle group for a longer period of time.
Faster/slower rep speed
Faster reps require a more explosive lifting nature and utilize the tendons and other body support infrastructure. Slower reps, on the other hand, recruit a set of muscle fibers specified for endurance, and are rarely used in bodybuilding. Both techniques, while effective, should be utilized with caution as well as reduced weight.
Longer/shorter breaks between sets
Shorter breaks between sets force the body to keep more blood, which carries protein and oxygen to the muscle), in the muscle group, and is great for bodybuildnig purposes. Longer sets allow the body time to recover from the previous set, which result in greater strength. This technique is best for powerlifters and those looking to make strength gains.
Alternative exercise order
Beginning workouts with isolation exercises (instead of the traditional compound movements) is a great way to pre-exhaust specific targeted parts of the larger muscle being trained. This technique can be employed frequently with any body part.
The use of shocking principles every day would quickly lead to overtraining, which would short-circuit growth. The key is to use them sparingly on body parts, which are ‘stalled’ in order to facilitate new growth, and keep the body growing.