If you have been good and you have been at the gym every day and are busting out rep after rep but still not seeing the results you want, you may want to change your delivery. We are going to talk about how to mix your sets and reps up in a way that gets you the most muscle gain from of your workout.
Think of when a person says something, the message is mainly delivered by tone and inflexion. Therefore, the results one receives when they say something are dependent upon their method of delivery and the actual words can sometimes matter little. Exercising is very similar- your results are primarily determined by the WAY you perform the routines more so than the actual routines you are actually performing.
Sound complicated? Don’t worry, we'll explain…
Weight. First and foremost you got to load it up. Why? We want to get HUGE so we want to target type II, a.k.a. fast twitch muscle fibers, which have the greatest potential for growth. These fibers are utilized when our body has to exert maximum effort. So target them by going HEAVY.
Reps and Sets
Fast twitch fibers fatigue quickly so you want to get in about 8 reps with each set, give or take 1 or 2, and give yourself plenty of rest (approximately a minute). If you find yourself cranking out 12 reps and ready for the next set in ten seconds you’re doing it wrong. We want to cause microtrauma to rip these bad boys down so they build back nice and thick.
Four is a solid number of sets. With all things related to health and fitness, there is no 100% correct number that is perfect for everybody every day. If you can only muster three, we would probably say go for a fourth and attempt at least one or two reps. If you still have energy after four sets, don’t waste it! Crank out a fifth set.
Form and Negatives. As noted earlier, we have to modify our delivery for maximum results. Here’s the technique that will get you to the next level when you hit that plateau: negatives. Negatives are a fantastic way to overload your muscles, induce microtrauma, and milk every drop of juice in your muscles leaving them pumped, tight, and feeling great.
Negatives are performed by controlling the weight on the backend of a rep. Once you reach the full range of your rep, squeeze it and bring it back nice and slow over 3-5 seconds.
For bench press a well performed negative would be squeezing out at the full range of your rep and then controlling the motion of the bar coming back down to your chest. A great opposite example would be a pull up. Once you have pulled yourself up give a little squeeze with your lats, back and arms and then slowly lower yourself over 3-5 seconds.
There are two main ways to employ negatives…
End of Set vs. End of Sets. You can use negatives at the end of a set or at the end of your sets. Sound confusing? we will explain again…
The first method is doing a regular set of about 5 or 8 regular, quality, reps and then with your remaining strength trying to add about 2-3 negative reps. This is a great way to make sure you get the most out of every set.
The other method is to perform all your sets (say four regular sets) and then do two or three negative sets of around 3-4 reps. Use this method if you find yourself with extra juice at the end of your sets but want to go the extra mile, this is a great way to leave it all in the gym.
When you are spending 5 days a week in the gym pouring hours of your life into your body doing all the “right” exercises but seeing fewer and fewer results, consider that it may not be the exercises that are stifling your growth but the delivery. Employ the above tips and keep on keepin’ on and noticeable results are definitely in your future.