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UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENT
TECHNIQUES FOR TRAINING


The most important aspect to training is progressive overload. This method has been talked about in great deal in many places and has been misunderstood just as often. The idea is to add stress over time so your muscles have to adapt and grow to meet the demand that you’re placing on them.

The most straightforward and effective way to do this is to first add sets, then add reps, then add weight. This is a marathon of sprints. Go hard with each workout but it is the consistency over extended periods of time that will yield the greatest benefit. Here are some tips to allow for maximal benefit:


TIME UNDER TENSION



Time Under Tension (TUT) refers to how long a muscle is working, contracting or under stress during a given rep or set.

This depends on a number of things including, the amount of reps in a set, the tempo of the reps and whether you lock out at the end of each rep or not – all of which are effective ways to increase your muscles’ time under tension. You can manipulate the tempo of the exercise by using a 3-5 second tempo on the concentric (positive) or eccentric (negative) phase of the lift.


For example, if you use a 3 second tempo on the positive and negative portion of the exercise, that’s 6 total seconds per rep. If you do 10 total reps in a given set, that’s 60 total seconds.


SUPERSETS

Supersets are pretty straightforward. It’s when you alternate sets of two different exercises with no rest in between. This can be done with the same muscle group or opposing muscle groups. For example, you can superset two chest exercises, two triceps exercises or a chest exercise with a triceps exercise. Supersets are great when you’re pressed for time, looking for an insane pump, need to work on your mind muscle connection, and to create more metabolic


PARTIALS REPS

Partial Reps are very controversial with social media these days, but when done correctly, they do have their place. Partials can be used to strengthen a specific range of motion, increase muscular overload (TUT), and to extend a set past failure. Partials are a great way to blast your chest during a set of lighter presses to focus on your pecs and not your triceps.

PEAK CONTRACTION TRAINING

Peak Contraction Training involves holding the peak contraction in the top position under maximum load at the finish point of an exercise for 1-2 seconds.

It’s a great technique to increase definition, separation, shape and hardness in your muscles. Peak contraction training is a great tool for increasing TUT and a great way to break through a current muscle building plateau.

ISOMETRIC OR STATIC CONTRACTION TRAINING

Isometric or Static Contraction Training is holding a weight in a fixed position for several seconds in a maximally contracted position. This usually involves weight, however, I like to incorporate this method of training without weight as well – typically done by flexing. For example, after a set of inclined bench press, I’ll move off to the side and flex my pecs for 30 seconds. It’s extremely painful but really works to bring out the striations.

PAUSE REPS

Pause Reps are when you hold the weight at the bottom (eccentric) portion of the movement, letting the weight come to a complete rest, but not releasing tension on your muscles. I recommend holding it for a minimum 2 second pause before completing the rest of the movement. This will eliminate any momentum.


PRE-EXHAUSTION

Pre-Exhaustion adds a unique element of intensity to your training and is one of my favorite training techniques for hypertrophy. Just like the name implies, it’s pre-fatiguing and “waking up” a certain muscle using an isolation exercise first, before moving onto a meat-and-potatoes compound exercise.

When performing a compound movement first, your smaller muscles might tire first and the target muscle might not receive ample overload.


For example, if you squat first, your lower back may give out before your quads, however, if you implement pre-exhaustion and do leg extensions first, before moving onto squats, it will force your quads to work twice as hard and will ensure muscular fatigue, not neurological fatigue. You’ll be able to hit those deep muscle fibers with a much lower weight, thus making the movement safer for your tendons and joints.

GIANT SETS

Giant Sets are similar to supersets but with 3 or more exercises paired together, almost like a circuit. This can allow for resting particular muscles while hitting others or for maximizing training one muscle group. For example, you might do inclined flyes, inclined dumbbell bench press, and push-ups one after the other to really fatigue the chest at the end of a workout.


DROP SETS

Drop Sets are an excellent method for increasing volume and therefore, hypertrophy.

Drops sets allow you to extend your current set, training completely to failure. It involves doing several sets in a row where you reduce the weight in between each set with no rest.

Drop sets are typically done on the last working set of an exercise and typically done at the end of a workout to increase blood flow and maximize muscular fatigue.


REST-PAUSE TRAINING

Rest-Pause Training involves breaking down one set into several mini-sets, with 10-15 deep breaths in between each. For example, you’ll start with a weight that you can perform 8-10 reps (80% of your 1RM), stopping just short of failure. After completing those 8-10 reps, rest for 10-15 deep breaths and do another set of as many reps as possible. You’ll take another 10-15 deep breaths before performing the exercise again until technical failure.


CLUSTER SETS

Cluster sets are sets within sets that have built-in short rest periods of 5-20 seconds to increase the volume and intensity of a set. In theory, cluster sets can be used for any exercise, but I typically like to use them for bigger lifts and usually using machines so I can take the balance out of the movement. An example of a cluster set is to perform 10 reps, rest 10 seconds, perform 10 reps, rest 10 seconds, perform 10 reps – that’s one set.



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About

My name is Steven Goldstein

With over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, I have worked with clients of all ages and fitness levels. From professional athletes to individuals aiming to lose weight, I have helped countless people achieve their goals and improve their overall health through customized training and nutrition plans.

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Consistency leaves clues

Hundreds of clients of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities have put their health in our hands over the years and achieved truly remarkable results. 

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