10 sets of 8 doesn’t really cut it if you want a physique that really stands out. Changing the reps and sets every now again isn’t really the level of intensity the Pro’s are on about either. But there are number of training methods that can have a huge impact on muscle growth. They do this by increasing muscle cell damage or metabolic stress, increasing the tension on the muscle as well as stimulating anabolic hormones that help drive greater muscle development in the long run.
This method does require an extra person to help you out as it involves the other lifter aiding you through additional reps after reaching complete failure in the concentric stage of the movement. Forced reps promotes greater muscle growth by greatly increasing the metabolic stress within the muscle cell, which causes a more anabolic environment. This was shown in a study where they tested the effects of forced reps during les press. The group that used forced reps had significantly increased growth hormone secretion leading the researches to believe that this is likely to lead of increased hypertrophy.
When looking at this from a non-hormonal and common sense perspective, if you are taking the muscle beyond failure then the muscle fibres of course are being broken down at a greater rate. Because of this they then can recover, grow bigger and stronger (Hypertrophy).
Like Forced Reps, Negative Reps are well an established training technique to boost muscle growth. Negative reps focus on the eccentric portion of the movement due to the average person being 20-50 percent stronger during the eccentric phase in comparison to the concentric phase. Because of this going heavy with Negative Reps causes greater muscle tension and muscle damage, which like the above increases muscle growth. It has also been well documented that using Negative Reps causes an increase in IGF-1 production which helps initiate muscle repair from weight training.
‘The Pump’ / Cellular Swelling
Now this method is controversial because muscles get bigger by being broken down through volume or load and the most of the methods in this article take this to next level. However there are many that believe the pump/cellular swelling creates increased muscle size and not just a phenomenal feeling with an ego boost. There has been a number of studies that show, the pump stimulates long term adaptations within the muscle for increased muscle growth. A study by Tanimoto et al showed that slow leg extensions with no rest increased substantial gains in muscle mass.
Sticks & Stones may break your bones but Bands & Chains make you massive!
Not only do chains look bad ass but variable resistance can rapidly increase muscle growth and strength gains. Applying variable resistance increase resistance as muscular force production natural increases. This causes greater velocity through the bar throughout the movement as a whole. This stimulates growth of the larger fast-twitch muscle fibre, allowing for greater muscle growth.
Time Under Tension
Say doing an exercise like a bench press, one rep equals one punch. So a long time under tension when doing bench press is like Mike Tyson in is prime honing in on a knockout. The longer you do that exercise potentially the more damage you can do to the muscle. Many studies have shown that if a set lasts longer, under maximum tension it leads to greater muscle growth. However the key is making sure tension is at a maximum during the set. If your set lasts 60 seconds but you are only able to reach full muscular contraction for the first 10 seconds, then not much is going to be achieved.