One of the main keys to unlocking superior muscle gains is to constantly challenging the principles of progressive overload. The principle of progressive overload involves continually increasing the physical demand placed on the muscles in order to ‘force’ them to grow, become stronger and adapt. The most common of way of doing this is by increasing resistance; however, the human body is only capable of lifting a certain amount of weight. No matter how big or strong you are there will be a limit to how much you can lift so in order to continually progress, you will need to find another means of challenging your body to progress.

1. DECREASE REST PERIODS


By decreasing your rest periods, not only will you be able to get in and out of the gym faster but you will also increase your training intensity. Shorter rest periods between sets prevents your muscles from fully recovering before performing the following set. Because of this, more muscle fibers will need to be recruited in order to complete the same lift you did the week before with a longer rest period and the exact same weight. Greater muscle fiber stimulation leads to increased satellite cell activation, enhanced MPS and a greater anabolic hormonal response. Shorter rest periods will also provide a cardiovascular benefit and help to burn more calories.

When training for hypertrophy, rest periods should be kept between 30-60 seconds on isolation lifts and 60-90 seconds on compound lifts. Start at the higher end of the scale and gradually shorten your rest periods as your body begins to adapt.

2. USE TRAINING TECHNIQUES LIKE COMPOUND SETS & DROPSETS


There are a number of training techniques which have been developed in order to increase workout intensity. The most simple, and effective, training techniques include compound sets and drop sets.

Compound sets are done by performing two exercises that work the same muscle group back to back. For example, if you were training biceps, you would perform a standing barbell curl and directly after you would perform a hammer curl.

Dropsets on the other hand are done by performing an exercise until failure and then immediately decreasing the weight and performing more reps until failure. The amount of drops you perform is up to you but most individuals opt for 1 to 2 drops.



Both of these techniques work to enhance muscle fiber stimulation, increase workout intensity and shorten workout duration.

3. INCREASE TIME UNDER TENSION


Time under tension is the total time that your muscle resists weight during a set. In order to stimulate your muscles adequately to enhance hypertrophy, scientists have found that your muscles need to be under tension for 40-60 seconds. With a typical rep range of 8-12 reps when trying to gain muscle size, it means that each rep should take between 4 to 7 seconds to perform. Working on the lower time per rep with a higher rep range, your tempo should be roughly 2:0,5:1:0,5. This means that the eccentric portion of the lift should take 2 seconds, the pause at the bottom of the movement should be half a second, the concentric movement should take 1 second and the squeeze at the top of the movement should be half a second. For a lower rep range and a longer time per rep, your tempo should be approximately 3:1:2:1.

4. INCREASE TRAINING FREQUENCY


With the typical bodybuilding split program, most individuals only train each muscle group once per week. While it is not always possible to train all muscle groups twice per week, increasing training frequency is an excellent way to bring up lagging muscle groups or targeting weak body parts. By training a lagging muscle group two to three times per week, you may be able to enhance growth and strength in said muscle, especially when used as a short-term approach.


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