One of the biggest difficulties facing people who want to build muscle is how can they be sure that all of their muscle fibers have been recruited and exhausted during a given exercise… ensuring that they are getting the most effective workout to maximize their muscle gains.
The simple answer is, you have work beyond failure and experience a higher level of training intensity than before. This also ensures that workouts remain challenging and continue to progress over time, eliminating plateaus, or even regression.
But how do you step up your training and intensity? Let’s take a look at 9 ways you can change up your workout routine to add intensity and build more muscle.
9 Ways to Add Intensity to Your Workout and Build Muscle Faster
1. Increase resistance
Increasing the weight lifted in meaningful increments ensures the muscle is pushed beyond its previous point of failure thus maintaining the muscle building process.
Aim to increase the weight when you reach six to eight reps and failure does not occur.
2. Change up exercises
To get maximum gains all muscle fibers in a body part must be trained.
Changing the angle (e.g to incline bench press) or introducing a new exercise will stimulate growth.
3. Reduce rest intervals
Giving your muscles less time to recover before exposing them to further work has the effect of increasing intensity. Simply reducing the time between sets can stimulate more muscle growth.
When an exercise involves two or more muscles the weakest will prevent you from working the primary muscle to failure.
The answer is to first isolate and tire the primary muscle before immediately moving to another exercise that works the set of muscles to failure.
5. Introduce supersets
This involves performing two exercises for the same muscle group without a rest interval. This means you have to utilize different muscle fibers which stimulate greater growth.
6. Use partial reps
At the point of failure, you will not be able to complete the full range of movement for a given exercise.
Completing a partial rep that uses only a segment of the lift will still work your muscles beyond the point of failure. This technique is especially useful to advanced bodybuilders as it allows them to increase intensity without adding extra routines that could cause overtraining.
7. Use isometric contractions
This involves holding the weight still at the point of failure to stimulate a static contraction in the muscle.
8. Employ forced reps
This involves completing one or more final reps after the point of failure has been reached. You will need the assistance of an experienced helper to attempt this.
This one should go without saying, but when it comes to working out and building muscle, more is not always better.
Be sure to take rest days off. Once every three months, I also like to take a full week off – when I get back to the gym I’m motivated to take things to an even higher level.
Try different combinations of all of these techniques above and you’ll be sure to see new muscle gains in the gym.