Once you’ve accumulated some training experience with our Part 1: Full-Body Strength Program, you can start focusing more on each individual muscle group by changing your training split. One effective way to do this is to split up your body into groups according to muscles that push and others that pull. Muscles that push are: chest, quads, shoulders, triceps and calves. Muscles that pull are: back, hamstrings, biceps and forearms. This training split allows you to train each muscle group twice a week with a little more volume per muscle than you would be doing with a full-body program, while allowing for sufficient recovery time in between workouts. The Push/Pull split has been a long-standing favorite among body builders, recreational lifters and athletes for decades and for good reason – it works! Give our Push/Pull training program a shot if you’re looking to mix things up or if you’re an intermediate lifter just getting back on track.
After you’ve reached failure with a certain weight, instead of stopping the set to rest, pick up a slightly lighter weight (about 40-50% less) and complete another 5-10 reps of the same exercise with the lighter weight. Reach failure with the reduced weight…and reduce the weight again, if possible, and keep going for another 5-10 reps.This would be called a double drop set.
After you’ve reached muscular failure on your own during an exercise, get a spotter to help you complete an additional 2-4 reps with their light assistance. You should have to struggle a little on the additional 2-4 reps. If you do not have access to a spotter, choose a unilateral movement and use the other free arm to provide the assistance.
Once you’ve reached failure on an exercise using the full range of motion, instead of stopping the set as you normally would, keep it going for another 5-10 reps by moving the weight through the part of the movement where you are the strongest.
Most exercises are comprised of a concentric and eccentric muscle contraction. In a concentric contraction, muscles produce force while shortening under tension. An eccentric contraction, on the other hand, occurs when muscles produce force while lengthening under tension. Because muscles are generally stronger in the negative portion of a lift, one training technique used to increase intensity and extend your set beyond failure is negatives. This principle shifts a great deal of focus and tension on the eccentric portion of the lift and is typically done after concentric failure has been reached. For example, on the bench press, you would reach failure with as many reps as you could manage with a given weight, then have a training partner assist you to lift the bar through the concentric (up) portion of the lift and you slowly lower the bar through the negative (down) portion of the lift for an extra 2-4 reps.