Anyone who has been training for more than a year knows that at some point muscle gains will start to slow, and in some cases, stop. It’s not necessarily that you’re doing anything wrong, it’s just that your body is adapting to training; in other words, it’s getting used to it. This is when you need to change things up to keep your body guessing. My preferred method is to increase workout intensity. I utilize six intensity multipliers to help break plateaus and spur muscle growth.
The biggest difference between how my amateur and pro clients use these multipliers is how many they employ in one workout. An amateur might use one of these techniques in a workout, but pros use several techniques in a workout, such as partials, negative reps, and flexing. For the average bodybuilder, I recommend using one multiplier per workout. Over the course of time, incorporate all six of these intensity multipliers in your training to make gains like a pro.
1. NEGATIVE REPS
You are stronger in lowering a weight (eccentric) than you are in lifting it (concentric). Your spotter will help you do the positive portion while you do the brunt of the work on the negative portion. For amateurs, I do a full set of negatives while they’re still fresh. Pros do negatives for 3–5 reps at the end of the last set.
2. PARTIAL REPS
You can keep the set going and target a specific part of the muscle. For example, a half cable curl targets the peak of the biceps. Do three to five partial reps during the last one to two working sets of an exercise.
A two-second pause at the midpoint of the rep minimizes momentum, maximizes time under tension at full contraction, and recruits more muscle fibers. Do pauses for the last two to four reps of the last exercise.
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