If you've been lifting weights for a while, there comes a time when you need something added to your workouts to keep progressing, to break plateau's, to get stronger, and get more muscle growth.
Various Intensity techniques can be great tools to utilise in your workouts with specific exercises, in order to work the muscle harder and go beyond your point of failure, also increasing your work rate and the intensity of the session.
Try giving one or more of the following a go;
1. SUPERSETS This is when two exercises are paired together back to back, with very little to no rest in between the exercises to complete 1 set. The exercises selected can be paired as upper body and lower body, opposing muscle group exercises such as chest and back, or quads and hamstrings, or two exercises that hit the same muscle group such as a dumbbell chest press with a dumbbell chest fly or goblet squats and leg extensions.
2. TRISETS This is when three exercises are paired together back to back, with very little to no rest in between the exercises to complete 1 set. The exercises can each hit a different muscle group, such as; goblet squats, shoulder press and bench supported dumbbell rows. Or they can all hit the same muscle group, such as front raises, lateral raises and rear delt flys for shoulders.
3. GIANT SETS This is 4 exercises paired together and completed in a circuit like fashion, with little to no rest in between exercises, and only resting between each set. This is usually done with exercises for the same particular large muscle group, such as; lat pulldowns, seated rows, straight arm cable pulldowns and single arm machine row to target areas of the back.
4. DROP SETS Usually done on the last set of an exercise (but can also be done on each set), once hitting failure at the end of the set, immediately dropping down to a lighter weight, around 20-30% lighter, and carrying on until failure once more. Usually one drop set might be enough, but can also be done with multiple drops. This works best on machines/cables where the pin stack can be quickly changed, can also work well with dumbbells.
5. REST PAUSE SETS This allows you to get more reps out with the same weight. Once you have completed a set close to or at failure, rest for 10-15 seconds, then carry on again with the same weight to get a few more reps out. This can be done once or multiple times.
6. CLUSTER SETS This is completing a small number of reps numerous times per set, in order to achieve much higher reps with a weight you wouldn't be able to complete that many for in one go. Usually cluster sets are 4/5/6 reps, you would complete that small number of reps, rest for about 5 seconds, and then go again, repeating until you have done around 5-6 clusters (depending what rep number you went with), this completes 1 total set. The lactic acid will be high so you will feel a huge burn with these
7. PARTIALS A full range of motion is always encouraged, but partial reps can also be very useful to continue and extend a set, keeping a muscle under tension in a certain part of it's range, once the top part of the range has failed out from fatigue. E.G. On a lateral raise, once can no longer get the arms to the top of the range (without swinging), then carrying on pushing the arms outwards, even to a small degree at the bottom.
8. NEGATIVES The eccentric phase of an exercise (the part where you lower the weight back down), is usually the slower and more controlled part of the exercise. After all, here is where the muscle will be stretched and micro tears occur for the muscle to repair and grow upon. But by simply making this part of the exercise much slower, the muscle is kept under even more tension as it stretches, and that same weight your used to will instantly feel 5x heavier. When lowering the weight, try counting down around 6 slow seconds on the way down, complete another rep, and repeat this slow negative lowering on each rep for the whole set.
Adding just one of these in will make you feel the difference. Give it a go and enjoy the extra gains!