Posted By ProjectAD on May 19, 2015
It's very often due to poor dietary discipline and a lack of progression, but sometimes, muscle groups can just be incredibly stubborn and hit a plateau they refuse to budge out of.
We've all encountered this phenom before. Progress is going swimmingly well, except for that dastardly body part that is determined to make you look like an out-of-proportion numpty.
Not anymore! Try these 5 classic training techniques if you're stuck in a rut to shock them into new growth.
A technique as old as they come, to perform drop-sets you simply perform a set as usual, before reducing the weight once you hit failure and continuing to rep out on that movement. You can extend it to 2-3 reductions in weight totting up increased volume and insane pumps, or go even further to self-imploding muscle pumps with 4-5 drops in weight if you have a partner who can help you strip plates on certain movements!
Drop-sets are best performed towards the end of your workouts, as the constant drops in weight essentially ensure you're performing one very long extended set, and as such form can be compromised. Stick to cables and machines predominantly in order to maximise this techniques effectiveness.
Rest-pause is a technique that can be especially useful if you're struggling to increase the weight on an exercise or have hit a sticking point.
To do them, simply perform a set as usual, hitting failure or staying 1 rep clear. You can then take a short rest of anywhere between 10-30 seconds before performing a second set, again going to failure, or perhaps even a third if you're feeling like inflicting more punishment on yourself. You then tot up the total number of reps performed, and aim to beat that during the next session. Once you achieve a certain amount of repetitions, you can increase the weight used on the exercise.
3: Peak contractions
This one really hones in on the art of the renowned 'mind-to-muscle-connection' that has became ubiquitous with bodybuilders across the world.
Peak contractions are carried out by squeezing or holding a repetition in a key area of stress, contracting it hard during that position in order to maximise stress on the target muscle group and force more blood into the working muscles.
An example would be a bicep machine curl, where you would squeeze at the top of the movement before gradually returning to the starting position.
Super-sets have been popular ever since the Golden Era of bodybuilding, when Arnie and co would pair up antagonistic exercises in order to thrash their body's and enforce extreme muscular growth as well as conditioning.
A super-set follows a simple format. Pick an exercise, go to failure, and then immediately jump onto another exercise before doing exactly the same.
You can perform them on two exercises that target the same muscle group, or for a switch of pace, do the exact opposite. For example, dumbbell presses super-setted with machine rows.
This one is especially good if you feel as though you have a certain body part that 'takes over' the target muscle group on another exercise.
As an example, a pre-exhaust could be a set of bicep curls followed by lat-pulldowns or rows in order to maximise lat stimulation, while the biceps are in a fatigued state. You could also follow similar patterns for other exercises where you feel as though your dominant muscles take over the intended target.