Training intensifiers are an important part of your training arsenal. Why? There are so many different ways to approach the training side of what we do, that it can become very difficult at times to decide upon which method will be best for you.
Depending upon your current goals and what you ultimately want to achieve, certain decisions will have to be made with regards to how you want your training sessions to go and how these intensifiers can push your limits.
No matter what your focus is, intensifiers will always be your only limiting factor and finding true intensity has become a difficult task for so many. Until you actually witness it in person, you can’t truly grasp what it is. It doesn’t always mean lifting as heavy as you can or going to failure on every single set, or training faster than everyone else.
It’s a mindset that prevails and takes you to limits you’ve never gone to before. A great way to establish this is to utilize training intensifiers within your workouts. Whether it’s drop sets, top sets, supersets or anything else of the sort, these are fantastic tools you can include for improving your workouts.
To ensure you make the most of this approach, here are three great ways to include intensifiers within every workout you complete.
Situation #1: Intensifiers As a Finisher
Most likely, you follow a version of the progressive overloading style of training whereby you gradually build up to a maximum weight for each exercise that you do. This is pretty much a standard way to train that typically builds the foundation for which everything else you throw in rests upon.
When you’re pushing max weight, the focus is on building strength while maintaining perfect or near perfect form. While working in that six to eight rep range, you may find that perhaps you don’t get the pump that you were looking for despite the fact that you did get the job done and new muscle tissue will grow from your efforts.
In cases such as these, that’s when you would throw in an intensifier to finish off your work in that exercise. You could do it as an extension of that top set or as an additional set thereafter. Either way, it’s a great way to force more blood into the target area. How about trying this the next time you’re in the gym?
Situation #2: As a Primer
Sometimes our joints just don’t want to accommodate what we are asking of them and stiffness becomes an issue prior to a lift. When training at full capacity, safety should always be a focus and a muscle that is warmed up properly is a more viable muscle and better capable of handling the loads and stress that you’ll be placing upon it.
For this reason, if you find that you’re taking a long time to get to the point where you’re ready for a top set, then start throwing in intensifiers to prime the muscle for greater work. Supersets and drop sets seem to be a great way to flush blood into the target muscle helping you get a good pump going so that the area is warmed up and ready to work.
You don’t have to go all out with this as far as weight goes, you just have to focus on driving as much blood into the area as you can with quick sets, shorter rest times and lots of pumping reps. Stay focused, keep the movements flowing and you’ll be sure to hit your goals and get the results you strive for with your workouts.
Situation #3: As an Alternative
Finally, you may find that within your program, you don’t have a focus on volume training so much but rather the goal is to see quantifiable gains in strength from week to week. The objective is to always beat the logbook, move more weight than the week before, get one more rep in your top set or increase time under tension in some capacity. This is another use of your intensifiers at work.
You will find that you have a ceiling for your strength and that it’s near impossible to lift one more ounce for whatever rep range you have set for yourself. When you get to that point, it’s never a bad idea to back things off (some will call it a de-load) and switch up your style of training. You don’t necessarily go easier, you just incorporate intensity a different way and that’s with the use of those intensifying techniques.
You’ll be giving yourself a new training stimulus to grow from all while giving your joints a much needed rest from the heavy pounding you’ve been giving them. Try this every six to eight weeks or when your body tells you it’s time to back things off, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results both short and long term.
Training intensifiers have always been imbedded in our way of training. The goal is never to look for the easier way of doing things when trying to build muscle, but the exact opposite of that. Finding ways to make everything you do harder is the key to building massive amounts of muscle and including intensifiers such as those mentioned above will do just that.
Take the time to figure out where they fit your program best, include them as an instinctive change to what you’re doing, use them every single session or wait for that time when strength can’t be the priority for the time being. Regardless of how you end up using them, they work and it’s just one more way you have for gaining new muscle.
How do you normally use intensifiers in your workout programs? We’d love to have you share with us how you use these to enhance your workouts in order to set and achieve your goals in the gym. Better yet, come to the gym and share your stories with us!
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member