Just doing the same old exercises for 3 sets of 10 of reps is fine for getting started. But doing it over and over for too long is a surefire way to hit a plateau in your gains. And if you want to keep growing and get big, you have to mix it up. Check out these 4 tips to intensify your workouts for some serious gains:
[Note: I incorporate these techniques into every workout]
When doing a rep, you go through the positive motion when you are contracting the muscle [Ex: pushing up on bench press or pulling up during pull-ups] & you go through the negative motion when you are extending the muscle [Ex: Lowering weight to your chest on bench press or letting yourself down on a pull-up].
I think forced negatives are one of the most effective things you can do for building strength. A negative allows you to go beyond muscle failure during your sets. They are done by performing the positive motion of the rep and then lowering the weight very slowly for 5-10 seconds during the negative motion. Have a spotter there to help you pull the weight back up and don’t give in when it burns [it will burn like a hell… keep going]. This will let the muscle experience trauma like never before because you are literally pushing it past failure.
When doing negatives, you want to use a heavy weight for a low amount of reps [6-8 at most]. Typically, people can be up to 50% stronger in their negative motion of an exercise than they are in the positive. This is actually a defense mechanism by your body because it doesn’t want to pick something up that it can’t handle, pretty interesting.
I love supersets. A superset is doing a set of two different exercises back to back with no rest [usually opposing muscle groups such as a bicep exercise followed by a tricep exercise or two exercises for the same muscle group, whatever you choose]. These are a MUST-DO workout and will give you the pump of a lifetime. It will also help keep you lean due to burning more calories with the little to no rest between sets.
A drop set is doing a set with a certain amount of weight until failure, lowering the weight and doing another set immediately again until failure. Sometimes I will drop the weight 30-40% for the second set, rep it to failure, then drop it another 25% for a third set in a row. Don’t try to be a badass and set your weight too high on the sets to where you are only getting 4 and 5 reps. You want to be able to rep it out for quite a few. Maybe a heavy 8 rep set on the first, then drop weight and 15 reps, then drop and 20 reps. Mix it up. Always be mixing it up, keep your body guessing.
These are a great finisher to any workout and will bring your muscles to complete failure if they aren’t already. Simply pick one of the core exercises of the muscle group you’re hitting [shoulders:military press, chest:bench press, etc.], choose a decently light weight that you think you can perform for at least 15 challenging reps, and push! Rep it out until complete failure, ideally with a spotter for a couple negatives at the end of the set even.