When it comes to lifting weights it's important to use different techniques to increase your intensity in your routine, Here is one highly effective technique you may not have heard of (or at least isn't as popular as the supersets or dropsets). They are called “1 ½ Reps”.
1 ½ Reps are easily explained. Let’s take the Leg Press as an example. You would bring the weight down, push it ½ way up, bring it back down, then push the sled all the way back up. That’s ONE! Now, you could easily do the top half of the rep as your half rep, but it would be much easier than doing the lower half. Remember, your goal is to INCREASE intensity, so don’t take the easy way out.
Let’s take Lying Leg Curls (for hamstrings, obviously) as another example. You would bring the weight all the way up, bring it half way down, back up and contract again, then all the way down. Again, that’s ONE.
You can do these for virtually all exercises you normally do. They work great for biceps, triceps, back, chest, etc. (For chest or delts, just make sure you either have a spotter or safety pins).
These are certainly not for the faint of heart. You have to have a special mind set to do these effectively. If you are afraid of that “good, sharp, intense muscle pain,” then these probably aren't for you. That said, if you are reading this, I am sure that isn't much of an issue for you. As a matter of fact, people like you relish in the fun that is extreme pain when finishing a set.
When it comes to your workout we don’t like putting any limiting thoughts into people’s minds. The mind is very powerful and can handle more than you think, so we wouldn't necessarily tell you to use this technique sparingly. However, like we said before, there is a “special” mindset you need to have in order to use this technique properly and effectively – especially when you get to your 2nd or 3rd set.
It's a good idea to use it for one (maybe two) exercises for a given body part. For the rest of your workout, either go for normal reps or try other intensity techniques.
Try it out…see how you like it. But before you dismiss it too quickly because it “hurts too much”, remember how effective it can be at helping you get to your goals!