For those who want to train like they’ve landed a part in the next Wolverine flick, here are some serious ways to take your fitness to the next level.
1. Increase resistance – increasing the weight lifted in meaningful increments ensures the muscle is pushed beyond its previous point of failure thus maintaining the muscle building process. Aim to increase the weight when you reach six to eight reps and failure does not occur.
2. Change the exercise – to achieve maximal gains all muscle fibers in a body part must be trained. Changing the angle (incline bench press) or introducing a new exercise will stimulate growth.
3. Reduce rest intervals – giving the muscles less time to recover before exposing them to further work has the effect of increasing intensity. If you’re performing heavy lifts, throw in a set of push-ups or crunches in between to build more muscle.
4. Pre-exhaustion – when an exercise involves two or more muscles the weakest will prevent you from working the primary muscle to failure. The answer is to first isolate and tire the primary muscle before immediately moving to another exercise that works the set of muscles to failure.
5. Introduce supersets – this involves performing two exercises for the same muscle group without a rest interval. This means you have to utilize different muscle fibers which stimulate greater growth.
6. Use partial reps – at the point of failure you will not be able to complete the full range of movement for a given exercise. Completing a partial rep that uses only a segment of the lift will still work your muscles beyond the point of failure. This technique is especially useful to advanced bodybuilders as it allows them to increase intensity without adding extra routines that could cause overtraining.
7. Use isometric contractions – this involves holding the weight still at the point of failure to stimulate a static contraction in the muscle.
8. Employ forced reps – this involves completing one or more final reps after the point of failure has been reached. You will need the assistance of an experienced helper to attempt this.
While you may not have six hours a day to work out like celebrities often do when preparing for a role, you can follow the tips above to get the results you want fast. Once you have added these techniques to your training regimen you’ll know you’ve done your best to keep your body guessing and maximize muscle growth.
Waning: These exercises are aimed at individuals with high level fitness ability, and is not recommended for those starting out a new fitness regime. Consult your health professional before undergoing any new fitness exercises.