1. Rest-Pause Sets
In terms of producing hypertrophy, training volume is crucial. Putting enough stimulus on the muscle for growth is imperative if you want to see any kind of results. Rest-pause training typically works by having the lifter perform a few reps, racking the weight for 15 seconds, and then un-racking it and continuing to work. This continues for several sets. JC Deen, trainer and author ofexplains why this method works so well. “This type of training is very effective for mass gain because it allows you to approach fatigue very quickly while allowing you to get in more of the reps that ‘count’ so to speak.”
To introduce rest-pause training into your routine, start by picking one exercise at the beginning of your routine, preferably a heavy hitter like back squats, bench press, etc. After a thorough warm-up, load the bar with a weight that equates to somewhere between your 3- and 5-rep max. Get under the bar and perform one repetition. Rest 15-30 seconds, then repeat. Aim to complete 10 sets. Once you can get all 10 with good form, increase the weight for your next session. Because rest-pause training can be extremely taxing, start with only one or two exercises a week and progress up.
2. Mechanical Advantage Drop Sets
Our muscular system works as a series of levers and pulleys that move our joints during an exercise. As a result, there are certain positions and exercises that give your muscle more of an advantage. For instance, wide grip pull-ups are more difficult than their close-grip counterparts because of the position of your limbs and the muscles involved. You can capitalize on this concept by starting at the positions your weakest and moving towards stronger positions as you fatigue for a whole new world of exhaustion.
To start using mechanical advantage drop sets in your routine, pick an exercise at the end of your workout as a finisher such as pull-ups. Start with a wide grip and perform as many as possible. When you can’t do any more, immediately shift to a parallel grip with your palms facing each other and continue. After that, shift to a chin-up grip (underhand) and crank out a few more. You should be able to get at least two to three more reps with each grip change. This same method can be applied to bench press and back squats. Start with one set at the end of your workout and progress up to three sets over the course of a few weeks.