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Muscle Gain Workout Techniques

Forced Reps - Since "Heavy Duty Training" emerged, forced reps have become very popular among bodybuilders the world over. The idea of a forced rep is to assist a trainer with a few more reps of an exercise when he can not continue alone. A few more reps are 'squeezed out' when a spotter helps lighten the load. Be sure to use an experienced spotter who should relieve you of only 10-15% of the load so you can complete 2-3 more reps before failure. These extra forced reps are crucial to stimulate growth and build muscle which eludes the average gym rat. This is a very intense way of training and can bring remarkable results, but overdoing it will quickly lead to overtraining and fatigue. Use them occasionally to get past a sticking point in your program. If you recuperate from workouts slowly, get plenty of rest after using forced reps or they will slow your progress and rob you of energy.

Cheat Reps - Although strict reps are recommended, especially for beginners, there are times when a bodybuilder may benefit from "cheating". This is a way of getting around a weak link in a muscle area, not just a means to increase the weight you're using. Only cheat to benefit a particular area. An example would be to lean the body backwards to help lift the weight in a standing barbell curl, instead of keeping the torso rigid. A trainer might "cheat" the weight up in order to lower it slowly on the negative part (see Negative), or cheat only for the last few reps to complete the set. Either way, cheat reps should be used to target an area of muscle that doesn't usually receive any direct resistance, and used sparingly.

21 System - Here is an example of the 21 system: using a moderate weight on the shoulder press, perform 7 reps moving the bar through the 'top half only' of the movement (from the locked elbow position to 50% of the way down) Then, without stopping, do 7 reps on the lower half of the movement, from the bar almost touching the base of the neck to half way up. Immediately after, perform 7 full reps as you do in a normal shoulder press movement. With a spotter, you could even use a heavier weight for the top half of the movement (7 reps), have him remove some of the weight straight away, before continuing with the second and third phase of the exercise (14 reps). This system can be used for almost all exercises, especially in shoulder, chest, back and arm exercises where it invariably gives good results. Use your head when choosing a weight for this method. This really is a 'shock' technique and could give you the boost you need.

Pyramid Reps- This method is used extensively by almost every bodybuilder for compound (multi-joint) movements like squats and bench presses. The idea is that, starting with a high rep set, weight is added and reps are reduced for each set as the muscles warm up and fill with blood. When a peak weight is reached (for 4-6 reps) the weight is reduced and reps increased to gain a good pump. This technique works both fast and slow-twitch fibres of the muscle, and can be very effective once mastered.

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