Here's what you need to know...
- Gain size and strength by never missing a rep. Learn the total-rep technique.
- Shave time off rest periods and shave fat off your body.
- Make muscle fibers more powerful by awakening your nervous system before your workout even starts.
- Get more out of each workout with advanced workout nutrition.
There's value in familiarity. But if your workouts are getting stale and you're not getting stronger or leaner then it's time to crank them up a notch. Take your current workout and make it work better. Here's how.
1. Go For Total Reps Instead of Reps Per Set
Still doing three sets of ten? There's a better way. It's called the "total reps method."
Let's say you're aiming to do 4 sets of 12 reps (a total of 48 reps for that exercise.) Your first set is probably easy because you're fresh. Then on your second set you hit exactly 12 reps without your form breaking down. But by set three you can only manage 11 reps without form falling apart.
Before starting set number four you know you can't get 12 reps, so you lower the weight before getting starting. But by then you only manage to hit 8 or 9 reps because of the fatigue caused by the third set.
You just cheated yourself out of several reps and counted a warm-up set as a work set. So the weight was either too light to challenge you or you failed before reaching the target number of reps for that set.
To stop cheating your workouts, aim for a total number of reps for the exercise rather than a number of reps per set. Like this:
Step #1: Choose a weight you could lift 12 times for your first set. You might not know what weight is ideal but do your best. You don't have to get the first set exactly right. You can overshoot or undershoot by a rep.
Step #2: Rest until you're ready to go again.
Step #3: Do as many reps as you can with your starting weight (assuming it was relatively close). You won't hit 12 reps every set and that's okay.
Step #4: Continue alternating between steps #2 and #3 until you reach the target number of total reps for that exercise (48 in this case). It doesn't matter how many sets it takes you as long as you hit the total rep number you were shooting for.
Same exercise. Same number of total reps. More size and strength.
You can revamp any set-rep scheme by just focusing on total reps. By doing so, you'll build more size and strength because you're using the heaviest possible weight for all sets. And you'll never miss a rep.
2. Shorten Your Rest Periods
Quit following old school advice on rest periods. There was a time when most workout programs recommended three minutes of rest between sets. It didn't matter if the exercise was the squat or the calf raise.
Three minutes of rest between sets of calf raises? Ridicules! There's no point in resting that long unless you're attempting a max lift with a big, compound exercise such as the squat, deadlift, clean, or snatch. Plus you don't need a lot of time to recover between low-rep sets. Why? Because they don't crank up your cardiovascular system like a 20-rep set of squats does.
High-rep sets with compound exercises require longer rest periods in order to let your heart rate return to a manageable level before you crank out the next set. Low-rep sets and isolation exercises don't require much recovery time because there's no cardiovascular demand.
Related: Intensity Techniques That Make You Hurt
If you're a stickler for timing your rests, then as a rule of thumb, decrease all of them to one minute. Better yet, alternate between exercises instead of taking a true rest. By doing so you'll build your overall conditioning, lose more fat, and get out of the gym in less time.
If you need three minutes of rest to recover, there's a problem. Resting too long between sets kills your overall conditioning. And a big part of losing fat depends on forcing your body to do as much work as possible in as little time as possible.
3. Ignite Your Nervous System
Your nervous system controls your muscles. Problem is, many of us walk into the gym in a daze, either straight from work or right out of bed.
Well, if you're half asleep, so is your nervous system. This severely impedes your ability to generate maximum force with each exercise. In other words, a lazy nervous system keeps you from recruiting more muscle fibers.
There's an easy fix to this problem. Before you get to your main workout, fire up your nervous system using these exercises:
Jump rope for 1 minute.
Rest for 15 seconds.
Run at top speed for 10 seconds
(or perform maximal bodyweight jump squats for 10 seconds.)
Rest 15 seconds.
Hang from a pull-up bar for 15 seconds.
This series should only take only two minutes. The rope jumping and sprint wake up your nervous system, and the hang will open the intervertebral space in your spinal column to free up nerve transmissions to your muscles. This is akin to taking kinks out of a garden hose.
4. Don't Neglect Workout Nutrition
Stop crapping out halfway through your workouts. If you're training on empty, not only are you going to have less energy to train hard, you'll guarantee a plateau in performance and muscle growth.
Proper workout nutrition such as Plazma™ prevents catabolism and increases performance.
Quality workout nutrition gives you the advantage of building more muscle and promoting recovery so that you can get back in the gym and crank up the intensity at your very next workout.
It doesn't matter if you're doing a body part split, a full-body workout, or anything in between. Just follow these four steps to revive your workouts and get back to getting results.