The human body seems to adapt to the workloads we throw at it rather easily. It seems like we’re always working to find ways to keep the muscles of our body guessing as to what we are throwing at them. Bodybuilders know that the moment our bodies “learn” our workouts, they lose all effectiveness. For this reason, we must keep using alternative training protocols and techniques in order to prevent the body from adapting. Here are four tips for increasing your intensity in the weight room. They can be used on any exercise for any body part, and are equally effective in the off-season as they are for the pre-contest bodybuilder.
Complete more repetitions
This one should be easy to predict. If you can bench press 225 for 10 repetitions, you will grow. If you can bench press 225 for 15 repetitions, you will grow a great deal more. You need to complete five more repetitions, no matter what it takes. After a proper warm up, you can begin employing all sorts of tricks to reach this goal. Use a little body English. Swearing always works for some people! Ask a training partner to help you move the weight. It will take a great deal of work to get those 15 repetitions completed. But the following week, it will take less work. And the next week, even less work will be required. Soon, you’ll be doing those 15 repetitions on your own, thanks to the assistance you received in the previous weeks.
Use more weight
Common sense should dictate this tip, but many bodybuilders seem to forget it. They’ll achieve their ultimate goal of a 225 bench press or a 315 squat, and they will let this “ceiling” be the limit to their training every time. It’s counterproductive, and a simple waste of time. However, they will spend their workouts attempting to match past successes. That’s no fun! Use a training partner to help take the danger out of it whenever possible, and add some more weight to that bar!
Reduce rest times
It’s well known that the more time you rest between sets, the stronger you will be on an exercise when the next lift arrives. You’ll often see powerlifters milling around for ten minutes between sets (or even going outside for a smoke!) Many bodybuilders use this kernel of knowledge to their advantage by stretching out their break times. The truth is that they would see much better muscle gains – as a result of greater blood accumulation in a muscle group – by simply waiting less time between sets. While it may result in less weight being moved, it will lead to greater gains in the long run.
When all else fails, you can always make a set more intense by completing another set immediately after finishing your first set. This will allow you to capitalize upon the failure you just achieved, and hit the muscle group from a slightly different angle. You’ll possess new strength, but the fact that the muscle group is engorged with blood at the start of the movement will only lead to more intensity.
It’s not hard to challenge your body. Employ these tips at regular intervals whenever you feel like your muscles just aren’t being challenged anymore.