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Manage your intensity and get on the gain train

Intensive care

Manage your intensity and get on the gain train

Bodybuilders are always looking for new ways to improve workouts and get the most out of each rep and set. There are numerous ways to increase intensity in the gym.

Follow these four tried and tested intensifiers and you will be that much closer to your goals:

Going beyond your normal sets

Once you have reached failure on a set you don’t have to stop and rack the weight. Extend your set beyond failure by either doing cheat reps (using other muscles and momentum), forced reps (your training buddy helps you to complete more reps), drop reps (drop the weight and bang out more reps), rest-pause (you pause for a moment before continuing with the set) and partial reps (continue with shorter-range reps to tax the muscle further).

Increase difficulty by doing combos

The overall degree of difficulty is increased when you perform exercises in combinations. Pre-exhaust a body part by doing an isolation movement (such as leg extensions) before a compound exercise (squats) to put extra stress on a muscle.

Turn up the fire with supersets (do two exercises for antagonistic body parts with the minimum rest between the sets), compound sets (do two exercises for the same body part with the minimum rest between sets), trisets (do three exercises with the minimum rest between sets) or giant sets (sets of four or more exercises with the minimum rest between sets).

Increase the tension

Increase the difficulty of your sets by either using continuous tension (flex the muscle or its antagonist throughout the set without pausing at the top and bottom of your reps) or flexing hard and squeezing at the contraction of your reps which is called peak contraction.

Time under tension

Time under tension otherwise known as TUT is defined as the length of time your muscles resist weights in a set. Boost your intensity by doing negatives (taking longer to lower your weights), fast reps (reducing TUT by accelerating your reps for different training stimulus), static contraction (hold the weight at or near contraction for as long as you can) or slow reps (where you slow down the tempo dramatically to increase intensity).

Don’t just chase the big-boy moves but employ these techniques when you use machines and cables to add variety to your training.

Werner Beukes

Werner Beukes is editor of Muscle Evolution. After obtaining degrees in Journalism and Public Relations he acquired a solid background in journalism working for a number of newspapers and news agencies before joining Muscle Evolution where he combines his love for training and writing to produce content for South Africa’s Number 1 Bodybuilding Magazine.

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