The opportunity for progress that awaits you every single time you step foot out on the gym floor should be enough intensity boosting to fire up your engines and send you off into muscular orbit. Just knowing that you can literally make changes to your body with every rep you complete is, in my opinion, grounds for celebration. It’s understood that not every day in the gym will be your best day and sometimes things get stagnant.
Sometimes gains come to a halt and you have a hard time breaching that plateau. In instances like this, you’ll hear people tell you to just keep forging ahead and pushing through and to some degree they’re right. But what if you just aren’t training hard enough or with enough intensity boosting to trigger new gains in the first place? What if you’ve been lackluster in your approach to training this whole time but never knew?
What if you thought you trained hard until you trained with someone who actually does? Don’t allow yourself to be in a position whereby you start asking yourself these types of questions and the best way to avoid this is by utilizing intensity boosting techniques within your workouts to ensure a higher level of training with each session. So, with that said and in no particular order, here are 5 of the best ones to use.
#1: Drop Sets For Intensity Boosting
A great way to extend your set to ensure total muscle failure or fatigue is through the use of drop sets. Drop sets allow you to use your top set max weight to ensure the necessary muscle breakdown occurs but then follows that up with blood pumping, pain directing and agonizing subsequent sets of lighter weight all while trying to achieve the same number of reps on each of those lighter sets if possible. You sort of get the best of both worlds with drop sets in that you can still smash heavy weights, with the added benefit of volume training pumps.
#2: Cluster Sets
Cluster sets have become very popular as a method of increasing focus and intensity boosting while applying significant amounts of weight to target muscle groups. Sometimes you gas out before the muscle is completely fatigued and when this occurs, taking just a quick break to catch your breath before continuing on with the same weight is in order. If you feel the strength is still there but the cardio isn’t, then cluster sets may just be the thing you need to start doing.
#3: Giant Sets
Going from one exercise to the next to the next may not always be a feasible option for you depending upon how busy your gym is, but if you can utilize this method of training, you will definitely see some great results. Finding an exercise sequence in which you can stimulate the target muscle from top to bottom and side to side without having to take breaks in between is a sure-fire way to boost intensity and increase gains. Your best option is to either collect all the tools you’ll need in one spot or set up your circuit in an order that is geographically advantageous in your gym, and then get to work.
Supersets are among the favorite of intensity boosting techniques that are out there simply because they’re relatively easy to perform and provide an opportunity to save time and produce massive pumps. Whether you decide to train using supersets with an antagonistic approach or an agonistic approach, this training variation will no doubt yield great results for you.
#5: Back-Off sets
One of the greatest feelings we can achieve in the gym is the satisfaction of moving massive amounts of weight. We feel super strong when this occurs, we feel indestructible and invincible and also appreciative of the fact that we survived those sets. The chance to ride that high should come right afterwards as you can decrease the load you’re using just a bit and focus on getting as many reps as you possibly can with that lighter load focusing on tempo, time under tension or all of the above. It’s a great opportunity to finish off the last few muscle fibers that didn’t get destroyed during your top set to ensure a greater training response.
There are of course many other intensity boosting techniques that you can use and apply to your training and everyone of us will have our favorites. The important thing to remember is to pick one and insert it into your workout at the appropriate time and for the right reasons. You don’t have to blast yourself on every exercise with one of these techniques but one or two should find their way into your session each time you train. You’ll find you like different ones for different muscle groups and that’s totally normal. Just enjoy using them, go all out and grow.
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member