Are you sick and tired of going to the gym only to see the same old results? Do you want a new way to get better results and in a faster time? Read on to see which methods you should be using to supercharge your gym sessions.
Most people know that when it comes to cardio training, steady-state cardio or interval training are two good options that everyone should consider.
When it comes to lifting weights, most people follow the standard, 3 sets of 10 repetitions, and they try to add a little extra weight when they can.
However, in most cases, that isn’t enough.
Many things can help you to make better progress, faster, when working out, but sometimes, your routine could be perfectly fine, it could simply be the execution.
In this article, we are going to look at some advanced training methods that when implemented, can help you to take your workouts from zero to hero in no time at all.
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
HIIT used with bodyweight has become increasingly popular and involves working hard (at a high intensity) for a period of time, before taking a small break. You can expect to work for approximately 30 seconds to 3 minutes at a time before resting whereas rest periods can be as long as the actual exercise itself or as short as 30 seconds.
HIIT training is a fantastic way of raising your heart rate and most people will often work at 80%-100% of their maximum heart rate at a time.
Due to its intense nature, most HIIT workouts will last 20-30 minutes, making HIIT a great option when low on time and an incredible way to burn calories, quickly. It also gives you the added benefit of a greater EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), helping you to use more oxygen and burn more calories even after the exercise has finished.
The principles of HIIT can be used with bodyweight, smaller pieces of equipment such as kettlebells or dumbbells or even with bigger pieces of kit such as Olympic lifts or barbells.
Very similar to HIIT training, actually although it would be more accurate to say that HIIT was born out of Tabata as the premise is quite similar.
Tabata involves 4-minute intervals of work and is usually split into very short bursts, for example, 20 seconds of very hard work, followed by 10 seconds rest, for a period of 8 rounds, 4 minutes.
Although the timings can vary, the format is always fairly similar, giving you a fantastic calorie-burning workout in a very short space of time.
The EPOC effect is also very high, meaning a short Tabata workout could still provide you with bodyweight exercises, hours after the exercise has finished.
Tabata usually involves bodyweight exercises as it is easier to get into when working with such a small amount of time, although equipment can be used, you shouldn’t use up the time setting yourself up or getting into position.
Typically used when lifting weights as an advanced way to build muscle, a drop-set helps you to increase your training volume as you fatigue your muscle fibers with more time under tension.
It’s also simple to do, starting with a weight that you can comfortably lift for 10-12 reps, you should do so, but immediately after, reduce the weight by 20 percent and repeat, lifting for 10-12 reps before reducing by another 20 percent.
You should do this 3 or 4 times until you end up with a lightweight on the bar, but after going to failure on the previous 3 sets, your muscles should be feeling it.
You should rest as little as possible in between each set, only resting at the end of the drop set. The type of machine you’re using can help to make this easier as cables, for example, can be reduced quickly, and with ease.
Because of how intense they are and the effect it has on your muscles, you should only use drop sets on one or two exercises.
When lifting weights it’s usual to complete a set, then pause and rest for a minute or so before doing the set again, it’s the simple format that everyone knows, although not the most effective.
Superset takes the tried and tested muscle building formula and turns it upon its head.
Rather than resting after an exercise, you will immediately go into another exercise.
The format can be whatever you like, some people swear by antagonistically paired sets, doing a bench press then a row, whereas others like to alternate between upper body and lower body, it doesn’t matter which way you do it, as long as you don’t take any rest in between the two exercise, all the rest you need takes place after you’ve done the two moves back to back.
Supersets can help you to increase your training volume and are also useful when time is short, helping you to get more exercises into your routine without adding more time to your workout.
If a superset is two moves back to back, you should already know what a tri-set is, three moves.
Just like a superset these can take any format you want, the same muscle group back-to-back-to-back, upper body, lower body, core, or maybe something different altogether, but again, just like the superset, you should not rest in between, your rest comes at the end.
Tri-sets can be brutal, especially if it’s the same body part, and for that reason, you should limit their use to one or two times a week.
Stressing your muscles and causing fatigue can help with your conditioning and overall muscle development but taking it too far can lead to injury and cause bigger problems.
If you’re going to use machines or weights when completing a tri-set it’s a good idea to have them set up and avoid the need to take off clips or weights, as that will just slow you down.
Pyramid sets are often misunderstood and that is because they come in different shapes and sizes, standard pyramids, reverse pyramids, going up and coming back down, it’s easy to get confused, but the idea is simple, just like a pyramid, you start bigger at the bottom and get smaller at the top, or in exercise terms, more reps at the bottom, bigger at the top.
A set of pyramid squats might look like this.
And as you’re doing less each time, you would also increase the weight each time to maintain the challenge of the lift.
Pyramid sets can be another fantastic time-efficient way of lifting but they also offer you a way of fatiguing the muscle under different reps and weights, helping the muscles to adapt and promote growth.
If you go to the gym and do the same ol’ workout, for the same amount of sets and reps in the same format, you’ll only ever receive the same results.
You should be increasing the weight changing the methods and improving your training over time and by using the methods above, you can start to do that.
It doesn’t mean you have to use each method every time you train, and in some cases, you probably shouldn’t, but with smart implementation, you can start to make improvements in your lifts and your physique.
If you’re struggling to add size to your triceps, try a tricep tri-set to set the muscle alight.
If you’re working on your conditioning, try including Tabata style workouts in or at the end of your session.
Doing the same thing every time you go to the gym will guarantee the same results, but now, with a few more ideas locked and loaded, you can start to progress the way you should.