Innovation is the name of the game when it comes to optimising muscle growth, but just because something is new, it doesn’t always mean that it is better than tried and tested training protocols. There is a good reason why certain training techniques have stood the test of time, and these 3 golden oldies have been proven time and time again to elicit huge gains in muscle mass when combined with a solid muscle-building nutrition regimen.

1. TIME UNDER TENSION


When it comes to time under tension training there is no room for ego lifting. The focus of this training method is to focus on keeping the working muscle under tension for a period of 40-60 seconds, making it very difficult to lift very heavy weights. If you stick to a hypertrophy-inducing rep range of 8-12 reps, which is ideal when trying to pack on lean muscle mass, it means that you will have to perform each rep with a tempo that totals roughly 3-7 seconds.

What this means is slow negatives, slight pauses in both the top and bottom of the movement as well as a slow positive contraction. Aim for a weight which is 60-70% of your 1 rep max (1RM) and rest for 60-90 seconds between sets.

By keeping your working muscle under tension for an extended period, you will be recruiting a greater number of muscle fibers and placing more muscle-inducing stress on said fibers, a factor needed to elicit muscle growth.

2. NEGATIVE REPS


Negative reps are a training technique used to spur new muscle growth as it allows you to not only lift heavier weight with the negative (eccentric) movement than when performing the positive (concentric) portion of the lift, but it also causes a large amount of muscle fibre damage. The heavier weight and increased muscular fatigue will help you to build more strength and size.

The only major downside to performing negative reps is that you will need a spotter to help you lift the heavy weight back up on each rep. To fully maximise the muscle-building potential of negative reps, aim to perform 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps on your main compound lift for each muscle group. The negative portion of the lift should take 5-6 seconds to complete. Try to lift a weight which is roughly 100-110% of your 1 rep max.

3. REST-PAUSE SETS


When it comes to promoting muscular hypertrophy by means of progressive overload, there are a number of ways in which increase intensity to provide a greater stimulus on muscle fibres. Rest-pause sets are an excellent means of helping to push your muscle past failure by increasing volume. Rest-pause sets are typically performed by performing a number of reps, re-racking the weight, resting for 15-30 seconds and then un-racking the weight and continuing to perform more reps.

This cycle can be done as many times as desired or until you can no longer perform more than 3-4 reps. Unlike traditional sets which usually only have 8-12 reps, rest-pause sets allow you to increase the overall amount of reps you are able to perform before complete muscular failure.

In order to incorporate rest-pause sets into your training regimen, it is suggested to perform them in the beginning of your workout with heavy compound sets. After warming up properly, select a weight with which you can perform 6-8 reps. Perform a set and then re-rack the weight and rest for 15-30 seconds. Lift the weight again and try to perform as many reps as possible perform re-racking the weight. The aim should be to perform 4-8 sets with good form and try to do at least 4-6 reps with each set.

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