Whether you are a gym oldie or newbie, the following has most likely has happened to you: You hit the weights very hard making all big gains, then all of a sudden your muscles stop responding and become glaringly stagnant. Gains are harder to come by and your workouts lack the same vigor as before. What happened?…You’ve hit a rut and your muscles need a jolt of something intense – a workout you’ve never done before that will spark new muscle growth and strength. Luckily for you, there are some proven and tried intense and extreme techniques designed specifically to spark new muscle growth and take your muscles beyond where they have never been before. All you have to do is give them a try and see for yourself.
1. Train the muscle group two days in a row
Sometimes to shock your muscles into growth, you have to resort to unconventional things. Although training a muscle two days in a row might seem extreme, it will shock your muscles into massive growth when done in the right way, it all depends on the exercises and load used on your muscles. On day one of training, you utilize high-rep sets with light weights to open up the muscles to take in more blood and nutrients to get the muscle ready for the next day, which will be a heavier workout. This method works great in shocking your muscles because it pushes your muscles beyond what they’re used to by forcing them to adapt to the increasing volume and different stimulus from both the high and low reps. The only caution is to not use this technique too often (do it for a month, then step away from it for at least a couple months), so as to avoid overtraining.
Pick two consecutive days on which to train a specific muscle group. The first day, do only single-joint, isolation exercises from at least four different angles and keep the reps high, at around 25-30. Do around 16 total sets this day, without going to a failure of any of them. The next day, after consuming an abundance of protein and carbs following the first workout, go heavier (6-12 reps) and train to failure on all compound exercises. Do a total of 16-20 sets on these moves, and then take a full week off from training pecs.
2. Increase Your Reps
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of working in the same rep range week after week, month after. However, without varying your rep schemes, it’s unreasonable to expect improvement. So don’t get stuck in a rut with the same reps, take a brief break by dropping the weight and using higher reps, which will help bust through any plateau you find yourself in. High rep schemes (12-and- above rep range) builds muscle endurance which allows you to train intensely, longer and take every set beyond failure, all keys to muscle growth. Pushing your muscle with lighter weight will also increase growth hormone levels and elicit further muscle breakdown and growth.
For the next two weeks, do 3-4 sets of each exercise with no fewer than 20 reps for the muscles you are looking to shock into growth. If you underestimate the amount of weight you should use, no problem – do 25 or 30 reps (or more) that set and add some resistance for the next.
3. Use Rest Pause
Rest-pause allows you to overload your muscles to stimulate more growth than can be achieved by straight sets alone. This is done by performing more reps than you’d normally be able to do with a given weight in a given set with shortened rest periods in between. For example, say your 6 Rep Max on the bench press is 250 pounds. You can do more than six reps in a set by doing 2-3 reps, then resting for a short period of time, doing 2-3 more, and repeating this until you’ve reached a desired number of reps. That’s one rest-pause set. This method does two things: overload your muscles with more work and put your muscle under tension longer, both of which increase the intensity of your workout and release more natural muscle-building hormones critical for muscle growth.
Choose a weight that’s approximately your 5-6 Rep Max. Do two reps at a time, resting 15-20 seconds between each pair, and go as high as 40 total reps. Due to the immense intensity and volume of work this entails, don’t do more than one rest-pause set in this manner.
4. Do no-rest drop sets
While on rest-pauses you extend a set by giving yourself more rest to complete, sometimes doing some good hardcore drop sets, where you essentially don’t rest at all, is just what you need to shock your muscle in growing again. This technique put your muscle under constant tension to ignite muscle growth in those stubborn muscles with an overload of continuous sets and reps which will increase growth hormone levels and elicit further muscle breakdown and growth.
Use weight load that you would normally do for a set of eight reps. Complete the set as usual, but instead of stopping, immediately reduce the weight by 10% to 20% and continue to do reps until you reach failure. Continue this sequence, going to failure with each weight, until you literally can do another rep. Do this 2-3 times total as your last sets of compound exercises that day.
5. Pre-exhaust your muscles
The pre-exhaustion technique, where you do single-joint exercises before compound movements in given workout, is very effective in shocking muscles into growth. Reason being, assisting muscle groups often tire out before the muscle you are targeting. By doing your isolation work first, you all but guarantee that main muscle will fatigue first, which, after all, is the whole point of training that muscle group. This switch in order of exercises will spark new gains by giving your muscles a stimulus they’re not used to.
Pick 2-3 isolation exercises and 2-3 compound moves. Then do all isolation exercises first in your workout, making sure to exhaust the muscle group by any means necessary – training to failure on every set, doing drop sets, rest-pauses, etc. Now follow your isolation exercises with the compound moves.