Bodybuilding Workout Technique Chart

This page was designed for you to have some different workout techniques at your disposal in order to increase exercise intensity.  Increasing this intensity will make you stronger as well as bigger since you will keep your body guessing and growing all of the time.  There are several simple ways to increase exercise intensity.  One way is just taking less time with the workouts.  Simply taking 30 seconds in between the sets as opposed to 1 minute will dramatically make the workout more intense.  Another way is to time your workout and do more exercises in the same amount of time you were exercising before.  This will also increase workout intensity.  The second main way to increase intensity is by simply doing more weight during a workout with a given exercise.  More weight means more intensity.  Now I will go to the more advanced training principles: 
Supersets are two or more exercises performed in a row without stopping.  For extra intensity, you can even do three exercises without stopping known as tri-sets.  It takes a while to build up the endurance necessary to do a lot of supersets, but this kind of conditioning develops in time if you keep working at it.  You can use supersets to train two different body parts-Bench Presses combined with Chins, for example-or you can do a number of exercises in a row for the same body part.  You will be surprised how a muscle which seems to be totally fatigued will still have a lot of strength remaining if you demand that it perform a slightly different movement.  To do this, however, you need to start with the most difficult movement, with each succeeding exercise slightly less demanding-Bent-Over Rows, Seated Cable Rows, and One-Arm Rows are a good combination.  Personally, I have always liked to use supersets to train opposite body parts simultaneously-chest and back, for example.  This gives you a tremendous pump as you perform the alternating pushing and pulling movements, yet gives each muscle group involved the minimum chance to rest and recuperate.  Other good parts to perform supersets on are the triceps.  I like to do skull busters supersetted with close grip bench presses.
Drop Sets/Strip Sets
When I was first learning about bodybuilding training it was obvious to me that when you come to the end of a set and seemingly cannot do another repetition, that doesn't necessarily mean the muscles involved are totally fatigued, only that they are too tired to lift that amount of weight.  If a plate or two is removed, you can do more repetitions.  Take another plate off, and you can keep going even longer.  Each time you do this, you are forcing the muscles to recruit more muscle fiber.  This training principle is called the Stripping Method.  You should never use the Stripping Method at the beginning of an exercise when you are fresh and strong, but only for your last set.  Since the changes in weight must be made quickly so that the muscles don't have time to recuperate, it helps to have a workout partner ready to slip plates off the bar or move the pin in a machine weight stack.  For example, you might do Bench Presses with the heaviest weight on the bar you can handle for six reps.  Say that weight is 300 pounds.  After you have failed, your partner would quickly strip off weight so that you could do more reps with 250 pounds.  I don't recommend going too low, however, unless you are training for maximum definition, because you won't grow by handling weights that are too light.  Many bodybuilders use this principle in a different way by working their way down a dumbbell rack as they do more sets of an exercise and get more and more tired.  

Drop sets are another of my favorite ways to shock the body.  It involves doing an exercise with say a set of dumbbells, putting them down, picking up the next lighter weight, and doing another set without stopping.  This is actually a dumbbell variation of the Stripping Method.  For example, I would do Dumbbell Presses starting with 100-pound weights and going to failure, then immediately setting them down and continuing with 90-pound dumbbells.  My muscles were too tired at this point to press 100 pounds, but the remaining unused fiber could still lift the slightly lighter weight.  Again, when the 90-pound weights got too heavy, I would go down to the 80s, then the 70s, and so on. Each time I went down the rack I reached a little deeper into the available muscle tissue to shock and innervate the muscle more thoroughly.  There are a number of ways of varying this technique; for example, using the dumbbells on a rest/pause basis-doing the exercise until exhausted, putting down the weights for ten seconds, then forcing out additional reps-or working your way up the rack as high as you can, then back down, doing fewer reps with the heavier weights and more reps with the lighter ones.  Another good exercise to use drop sets on is the leg extension machine.  I sometimes do triple drop sets on this exercise.  I would start by doing a set of 10 on leg extensions with 130 lbs. then immediately drop the weight to 110 lbs. and do another set of 10 then immediately drop the weight to 90 lbs. and rep out as many as I can.  You can bet that this will kick your ass.  Try it if you don't believe me.  You will be sore for at least 3 days to the bone after doing this one.

Whenever you lift a weight using the contractile force of your muscles you perform what is defined as a "positive" movement; when you lower the weight, uncontracting the working muscle, you perform "negative" movement.  Negative repetitions actually put more stress on the tendons and supportive structures than on the muscles themselves.  This is beneficial because you want tendon strength to increase along with muscular strength.  To get the full benefit of negatives in your normal workouts, always lower the weights slowly and under control, rather than letting them drop.  To work harder at negatives, first try cheating a weight up that would otherwise be too heavy to lift strictly and then lower it slowly and deliberately.  Your muscles can lower a heavy weight under control more than they would actually be able to lift in the first place.  At the end of a set, when your muscles are very tired, you can have your workout partner give you a little assistance in lifting the weight, and then do strict negatives on your own.  Negatives are excellent to add strength to a weak bench press.  You can also use negatives for adding size to biceps by emphasizing the downward movement.  Raise the barbell at a normal pace, then take a five count to lower the weight emphasizing the negative portion of the movement. 
During your one-minute rest period between sets, don't just sit around watching your training partner do a set.  Continue to flex and contract the muscles you are training.  This not only keeps them pumped and ready for more action, but is in itself a very beneficial kind of exercise.  Flexing is a form of isometric exercise, and isometrics  involve very intense muscle contractions.  Bodybuilders who are posing, flexing, watching himself in the mirror, are not doing so out of vanity.  They are engaged in a very important part of the workout.  You get the same kind of benefits from really hard sessions of posing.  John Parillo is a big proponant of stretching after a set on given exercises.  He calls his method fascial stretching.  The purpose of this stretch is to stretch the skin as to allow more room for muscle growth.  It also keeps the muscles warm in between sets.  I personally think this is a great way to achieve some new growth if you are stuck on a plateau for a while.
Instinctive Training
If you are a beginner bodybuilder and are attempting to master exercise fundimentals and create a basically sound muscle structure, it pays to follow a set program.  But after you have been training for a longer period, you will find that your progress will increase if you learn to perceive and understand your body's individual responses to training and vary your workouts accordingly.   If you usually began a back workout with Wide-Grip Chins, you might decide instead to begin with Bent-Over Rows and finish off with Chins.  This is trusting your instincts to help guide you through a workout.  Occasionally, you might abandon your normal workout and do something entirely different: instead of German Volume Training for chest; for example; do fewer, very heavy sets or a lot of sets done rapidly.  Your body has its own rhythms.  It is different from day to day, and that the more advanced you become, the more you need to be aware of these variations and cycles.  Let me caution you, however, that this awareness does not come overnight; a year or more of training is usually needed before you can begin to profit from making these occasional instinctive adjustments in your program.
This system is elaborate because you do a series of half reps in the lower range of motion, a series of half reps in the upper range of motion, and then a series of full reps.  You can use any number of reps for this type of set.  You can do 10-10-10, or 8,8,8 or any combination as long as you do the same number for each of your half reps and full reps.  Traditionally, many bodybuilders have used seven reps -hence the name "21's": 3 x 7.  The extra stress generated by this kind of training comes about because you have to stop the movement right in the middle, and this forces the muscles to exert themselves in ways they are not used to.  Making the muscles do things that they are not used to will help spur them on to new growth.  This type of exercise is typically done on the biceps or you can even experiment with this on the squat rack with a lower weight than you would normally use. 
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