Being unconventional and creative with your workouts is not only a good thing but also a great thing. Not only will it add variety to your routines and confuse your muscles but it will also allow you to shock your muscle into big growth and bust through training plateaus. There are several training techniques you can apply to your workout routines to be as unconventional and creative with your training as you want. These techniques are known as advanced training techniques or intensity techniques and they allow to add intensity and push the muscle past the point of failure. Intensity techniques add variation in reps, sets, weights, exercises, and rest periods to your workout routines. Below is a list of these techniques. Apply properly as many as you want in your workouts, however, don’t overuse them. These require a lot of recovery time and can lead to overtraining if not used wisely.
The goal with pre-exhaust is to fatigue the target muscle so that it fails on compound exercises at about the same time as or before the assisting muscle groups.
How to use it: To use pre-exhaust, perform a single-joint exercise before performing a multijoint movement. For example, if you are training legs, you can start with leg extension(single-joint) which targets the quads before doing a set of squats(multijoint) which targets the quads, glutes, and hamstrings
2. Forced Reps
Pushing your muscle past failure is critical to gaining muscle size and strength. Forced reps allow you to continue a set past the muscular failure. Research has shown that the forced reps increase growth hormone levels significantly more than your standard sets.
How to use it: Have a training partner or spotter help get few more reps at the end of your set, after failure, by helping just enough to get the weight past your sticking point.
3. Drop Sets
Doing drop sets means that upon reaching failure in the set, you immediately reduce or drop the weight and continue the set past your muscles normal limits. Pushing your muscle with lighter weight will increase growth hormone levels and elicit further muscle breakdown and growth. The key to drop-sets is to keep the time between sets as short as possible, after you fail at a particular weight, begin with the next set immediately. You can vary the weight you drop each set, ranging from 10% -30%, but try to find an ideal amount for you so you can get the result you desire.
How to use it: After completing your reps in a heavy set, quickly reduce the weight by 10% to 30% and continue to do reps until you reach failure. Continue this sequence 1-2 more times if you can.
4. Rest Pause
This consists of stopping during a set, resting for a short period, then continuing for few more reps with the same weight before another short rest period. This lift-rest-lift scheme can be performed any number of times, but the key is to select an appropriate weight to elicit the most effective gains.
How to use it: Chose a weight with which you can perform 5 reps (5RM). Do 2-3 reps, rest 15-20 seconds, then perform another few reps. Take another brief rest and go again for as many reps as you can handle, and repeat one more time
Negatives entail resisting the downward motion of a very heavy weight. Negatives are a great way to make big gains. Negatives are used at the end of a set when your muscles are fatigued.
How to use it: Once you are unable to complete any more positive reps, fight the negative portion of the lift as you slowly lower the weight, then allow your spotter to assist you with the positive portion of the rep. When you can’t resist the weight on the negative, stop the set.
Supersets are working sets of two different exercises with no rest in between. A superset can be done on the same or different muscle groups. For example, you can superset a biceps curl with either a triceps pressdown or another biceps exercise in back-to-back fashion
How to use it: Pick two exercises for the same or different muscle. Do a set of the first exercise, then without resting, immediately begin the second exercise.
These are the same as supersets, but with only three exercises involved. A tri-set involves performing three consecutive exercises for one muscle group in nonstop sequence. Typically the three exercises are for the same body part, but not always. For example, you can perform a biceps-triceps tri-set.
How to use it: Pick three exercises for the same or different muscle. Do a set of the first exercise, then without resting, immediately begin the second exercise, then again without resting immediately begin the third exercise.
8. Giant sets
Giant sets are also like supersets. A giant set entails doing four or more exercises for one muscle group back-to-back without rest in between.
How to use it: Pick four or more exercises for the same or different muscle. Do a set of the first exercise, then without resting, immediately begin the second exercise, follow this sequence until you are done performing all four exercises.
9. Partial reps
This entails doing reps in only one portion of the range of motion. In general partial are performed at the end of a set, working only on the top half of the move. But Partials can also be done during the bottom half or middle of a rep. One way to perform partials is at the end of, say, Barbell Curls. When you can longer lift the bar all the way up, do only the first-half or quarter until you can’t even do that anymore. This will help take your muscles past the point of exhaustion and spur new growth.
How to use it: After you reach failure, do partial reps at the top, in the middle or at the bottom of the movement.