By Coach Rob Regish
Author of “The Blueprint”
Formulator, Mass Pro Synthagen
I receive a lot of email traffic from people looking for a quick fix, as their progress has ground to a halt and they’re looking for something “new.” While I don’t believe in quick fixes, I’ll offer 3 solutions to jump start your progress and motivation again. Even the most seasoned iron athlete among us needs that occasional “spark,” to keep gains going and enthusiasm for your training high.
Consider then, the following…
SOLUTION #1: FAST AND HEAVY FOR GROWTH
It’s been said there are two sure-fire ways to build big, strong muscles – by lifting fast AND heavy. The issue being that muscles can’t move heavy loads fast and while you can move a lighter load quickly, light weights don’t cut it in growing big muscles. Here’s how to do both in the same set and get great results…
Let’s say you’re training the chest – choose a big compound exercise like the bench press. Perform a set with a weight that allows for five reps (do NOT go to failure), then rest 10 seconds. Immediately hit the floor and do as many plyometric (clapping) pushups as you can. Now rest 3 minutes and then repeat the sequence two more times.
The set of five reps allows you to lift the heavy stuff, providing the necessary loading to stimulate muscle growth. The plyometric clapping pushups recruit your biggest and strongest muscle fibers. This method works particularly well for biceps. Perform a set of close grip, underhand weighted chin-ups for five reps – then rest 10 seconds. Proceed to perform a set of barbell curls as fast as possible with a weight you can perform 10-12 reps with. Rest 3 minutes and perform two more times.
It’s a one-two punch that’s an almost fail-safe way to stimulate new muscle gains.
SOLUTION #2: MILKING “GROWTH REPS” FROM EVERY SET
The goal here is to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible. Problem being your biggest, strongest muscle fibers fatigue quickly – which is painfully obvious when your rep speed slows toward the end of a work set. Here’s how to get more out of those fibers – by milking growth reps from every set…
Choose a weight that you can perform 10 -12 reps with. Perform each rep as fast as possible, keeping perfect form. As soon as you see that your rep speed beginning to slow, stop the set – and do NOT go to failure. Rest 30 seconds and repeat. Then rest 30 seconds and repeat once more.
Now rest 3 minutes and repeat those 3 sets, in the same fashion. Stopping your sets when you begin losing rep speed allows you to hit muscle fibers that have the greatest potential for growth. Once they’re fatigued, continuing to perform the set is detrimental with this method. By stopping to rest and letting those big fibers recover, you’ll tap into the the most growth stimulus the set can offer. In other words, you’re milking the most out of those growth reps that are found in every set.
SOLUTION #3: 1-1/2 REPS
We know compound exercises are the best muscle builders. The problem is, they don’t always emphasize the muscles that you’re trying to build. Consider the humble chin-up. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again because it’s true: the chin-up works the biceps best, but since it’s mainly used as a back exercise – your back muscles end up overpowering the movement. By using the 1-1/2 rep method. it’ll allow you to build up the smaller muscles you’re targeting – while still reaping the strength-building benefits of a compound movement.
Perform a half rep for the chinup, then return to the starting position and perform a full range rep through the entire range of motion. The half rep and full rep together count as one full rep. Start from the full hang position and pull yourself up halfway. In this part of the range of motion, the biceps are the prime movers. Now lower yourself down, and perform a full chinup. Here, the lats are the prime movers. Perform five sets in the 4-6 rep range twice each week. Many find themselves setting new PR’s while stimulating LOTS of new muscle growth.
Please do give these methods a shot, I’d love to hear back from readers as to your success!