By Mike Simone Men's Fitness
Whether you’ve just started training or are a conditioned weight crusher, the same routine day in and out will hamper your physical development or—even worse—your motivation. Stay sane and try these five tweaks to get you back to training on a mission.
STRAIGHT SETS VS. STRIP SETS
Traditional, straight-set training for six, eight, or 10-plus repetitions is a solid, effective technique that... can easily become monotonous. Switch things up by incorporating strip sets into your regimen: Perform your traditional straight-set repetitions to failure. Now, drop the weight by five to 10 lbs. and perform them again, continually adding reps until failure. At your discretion, utilize the strip set method sporadically throughout your workout.
This style of training is an all-out assault on a single muscle group, stringing four exercises together into a mini-circuit. A giant set for back training, for instance, would be: pull-ups, pull-downs, low rows and extensions performed in immediate succession. A giant chest set would be bench presses, dips, incline bench presses, and dumbbell flyes. Shoot for 10-15 reps per exercise, with two minutes rest between three to five giant sets.
THE 100-REP METHOD
This unorthodox technique takes failure training to 11. Choose a weight that causes failure at 20 repetitions. Rest five seconds and perform until failure again. Continue the process with five seconds rest until you’ve completed 100 repetitions. Once 100 repetitions have been reached, repeat this process for two to four other exercises in the same muscle group.
Instead of the same ol' “pick things up and put them down” mentality of weight training, give static holds a shot. During a lift, when you feel the burning or tearing sensation at the peak contraction, hold and squeeze for as long as possible. Static holds can be performed between repetitions or following the very last one.
TAKE IT EASY, THEN HARD
Circuit training effectively incorporates resistance and cardio, but burnout is inevitable, and when motivation dwindles, so do gains. For one week, train each body part only to 75% maximum exhaustion—negating the need for a recovery phase. The following week, load up a barbell with enough weight to cause failure at three to six reps. Target one body part a day with three exercises at three sets each. Also, don’t forget to extend your rest periods to two to three minutes between sets.