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If you are anything like me, you probably find that cardio is mind-numbingly boring and more of a chore than something you enjoy. The sole purpose of including cardio in a lot of people’s gym regimen is purely burn extra calories, but what if I told you can decrease, or even eliminate, your time spent on the treadmill simply by including a few weight training techniques which will help you to crush calories? Sounds too good to be true, right? But let’s have a look at the studies.
As we all know, HIIT beats out steady-state cardio. In fact, according to a study which was conducted over a period of 20 weeks, saw the HIIT group lose up to 9 times as much fat as the steady-state cardio group. But did you know that HIIT training does not have to be done solely with cardio routines? It can be done with weights using a strategy called HIRT, or high intensity resistance training.
A study compared a traditional weight training program to a HIRT program and guess what they found? Not only was the HIRT workout shorter in duration (roughly half), but it also burned up to 450% more calories due to the effects it has on EPOC.
From these studies we can see that by performing your workout in a high intensity fashion, you can increase your calorie burn and therefore, fat loss. In this article we are going to discuss 5 weight training strategies which you can implement into your routine to create this high-intensity calorie crushing effect.
Rest-pause sets was the weight training technique which was used in the above mentioned HIRT study. This strategy can help you to push out more reps on your last set while using the same weight. To perform a rest-pause set, you go to technical failure and then rest for 15 seconds. You then lift the weight again and push to failure again, rest for another 15 seconds and then for a third and final time, you lift the weight again and push until failure.
Make sure that you use a spotter when performing rest pause sets, especially on your big lifts like bench, squats, overhead presses etc.
Similar to rest-pause sets, cluster sets make use of performing as many sets of 3 reps as possible using the same weight. Rest for 15-20 seconds between each set so that your muscles can regenerate phosphocreatine levels slightly. Cluster sets are best used with barbell exercises which allow you to push heavy weight.
For example, if you can bench 100kgs for 10 reps, you should be able to push 110-120kgs for 4 sets of 3 reps. All in all you will have increased workout volume by performing cluster sets and you will be able to push heavier weights than you do for normal sets thereby increasing strength gains.
I am sure that you have all heard about this weight training technique before as this is an age-old bodybuilding weight training technique which has retained its popularity over the years because of its effectiveness. Drop sets are done by completing the last set of your exercise to failure and then reducing the weight by 15-20% and immediately performing another “set” to failure. Drop the weight again by a further 15-25% and perform a third “set” to failure.
You can repeat this as many times as you would like but 2-3 drops is more than sufficient. Because drop sets require to drop the weight and continue training as fast as possible, these exercises are usually performed best on machines where you can quickly adjust the pin or with dumbbells which you have pre-selected.
Back-off is a great weight training technique to implement both on main lifts and assistance exercises. It will push your muscular and cardiovascular system to the limit. They can be done by dropping the weight by 30-50% and completing 15-25 reps immediately after you have completed your final set of that specific exercise.
For example, you squat 160kgs for 10 reps. You then drop the weight to say 100kgs and try to push out as many reps as possible thereafter (15-25 should be your goal).
The 50-rep challenge was very popular back in the day but it is not common in today’s routines, mostly because it is very tough. It can be done by simply reducing the weight of your last working set by roughly 30-40%. Start by aiming to perform 20-25 reps with this lighter weight and then when you reach failure, rest for 15 seconds and continue to lift the weight. Push as many as you can and then rest again. Continue in this fashion until you reach a total of 50 reps.
For example, you push 20 reps, then rest, then 12 reps, then rest, the 8 reps, then rest, then 5 reps, then rest 3 reps then rest then 2 reps and that equals 50 reps in total.