Adding variety to your workouts can not only make exercising more fun but also more effective. If you’ve hit a plateau, then it’s certainly a good time to mix it up in the gym. No need to despair, we’ll show you 8 strength training strategies that are already tried and tested.
The best workouts are always the ones you’re feeling enthusiastic about. It’s not just about training muscles in as many different ways as possible – it’s also about your motivation and mind-muscle connection.
8 Effective Strength Training Strategies For Busting Through Plateaus
Here’s how to take things to the next level and increase your performance in the gym.
Instead of taking a break between sets, perform two different exercises back to back. Ideally, they should be targeting different muscle groups, for example, chest and bi’s, back and legs, and so on. Do one set of the first exercise, and then perform a set of the second exercise without rest in between.
If you’re looking for a serious burn you can even couple exercises for the same muscle group.
Drop sets work with all exercises that require you to push or pull weight. It’s pretty simple actually. You need to perform the first set of an exercise to failure (or almost) and remove some weight for the next set, perform it to failure again, and so on.
Typically, an exercise should have no more than three drop sets – they’re pretty intensive and I can only assume you won’t be doing just one exercise in your gym session so you might want to consider that unless you want to have trouble getting out of bed the next day.
Training to Failure
When training to failure you must complete a set until you can’t do any more reps. It’s true this method does recruit more muscle but it works best for low-rep sets. This means it might make you prone to injuries and overtraining. Also, be sure to always use a spotter when training to failure using heavy weight.
When it comes to mixing strength training with cardio, circuit training is a simple method that brings the best of both worlds. You can do one set of x reps or over a certain period of time for an exercise, jump to a different exercise and do another set and so on. You can have smaller circuits with just 3-4 exercises or more complex ones.
There’s very little rest in between sets and you can mix various exercises and make a new set of circuits on every workout.
The original Tabata protocol couples 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest, which are repeated 8 times. It’s a pretty intensive training method which you can apply to basically any exercise from weighted movements to running, swimming and bodyweight exercises.
Tabata workouts are great for improving your cardiovascular health, and they’re certainly time-effective.
When you’re weight training, each exercise has two phases – the part in which the weight is going up called “concentric movement” and the part in which the weight is going down called “eccentric movement”.
During negative sets, you must focus on the eccentric movement. This is usually done at the end of a long set and you will need someone else to help you on the way up. It also works with various bodyweight exercises, such as pull-ups and dips.
This type of weight training strategy is very intense and should only be done once per workout. Choose a weight around 3-5 rep max, perform as many reps as possible, re-rack and rest for 10-15 seconds. Then, do it again while making sure you have proper form, rest for 10-15 seconds again and repeat until you can’t do any more reps.
Once of the factors for building muscle is time under tension. Performing static holds can be used with bodyweight exercises but also for weighted movements by holding still in a contracted position.
When weight training I like to use static holds at the end of a set when I can’t perform any more reps. It’s a great way to push yourself to the max, especially when you don’t have a spotter.
What do you think about these strength training strategies? Have you ever tried any and which one’s your favorite?