Whether you are new to bodybuilding or already months or years into it, it pays to understand the actual techniques that you can use to reach specific results.
There always has to be a system if you want consistency in the way your workouts affect your body. In this post, we’re going to examine the different bodybuilding techniques that are frequently used in the industry, and what they mean for you when you use them.
1. Accentuated Eccentric Workouts
This technique focuses on eccentric or negative phase of movement.
When you curl a dumbbell for example, you usually pay a lot of attention to how you fight gravity to lift the dumbbell from waist level to shoulder level.
With accentuated eccentric workouts, you pay closer attention to the ‘weaker’ phase of the movement, where the muscle is more challenged – the eccentric phase.
Technically, you can lift more because your muscles are only fighting the descent due to gravity.
So if you can only lift fifty pounds per hand during dumbbell curls, with accentuated eccentric workouts, you will be able to build up your strength more quickly and lift more with your one rep max set.
Some people might say: well, wouldn’t that mean that you are only performing half of the actual movement? Yes, technically that is true, but the thing is, your body doesn’t know that.
All that it knows is that it is fighting against a higher weight or resistance on the eccentric movement. The additional tension that your body feels will signal to your body to release more chemical compounds in the bloodstream that will help heal and build lean muscle tissues. This is what we want – more muscle-building processes, and ultimately, more muscles.
To try out this technique, ask two spotters to help you out on the shoulder press machine or any other rack or machine that you want to use.
Shoot for going 20%-40% above your known one rep max resistance.
Ask the two people to help you lift the additional resistance, but work alone when lowering the weight. Repeat as many times as your body can take.
You will have a little help going up, but the eccentric phase will be all yours.
2. Drop-Set Workouts
Drop workouts were used by legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger to build massive amounts of muscle in shorter periods of time during season.
What’s interesting about this approach is that it emphasizes both training to exhaustion and using reduced resistance so you can do more reps.
Here’s how you can apply drop workouts:
1. Begin with two sets where you are near your maximum. Keep the reps low so the resistance will be set as high as you can. The final set should be extremely challenging to complete, taking out all your endurance and physical strength.
2. When you’re done marauding your muscles with your first two sets, it’s time to lower the resistance. Reduce the weight by 25% and do more reps – as many as you can. When you reach exhaustion, drop by another 25%. Continue until you’ve doubled or tripled the amount of reps from your initial baseline of two sets.
What this technique does is it triggers the release of additional metabolites in your body, and these metabolites signal for more muscle growth in particular areas of strain.
Essentially, you will be signaling to your body repeatedly that you need more muscle “here and here” because there is additional strain that needs to be dealt with.
3. High Repetition Workouts
With high repetition workouts, the emphasis will be on the volume of reps and not on the level of resistance itself. The science behind this technique is that with higher weights, you only hit the fast-twitch muscle fibers, and neglecting the slow-twitch ones.
Studies show that by reducing the weights or resistance during workouts, you will be able to focus more on your slow-twitch muscles because of the longer duration of the workout and the extended time that these muscle fibers have been exposed to physical tension.
Does this mean that you have to let go of the heavier sets from now on? Not at all. The higher resistance works on the fast-twitch muscles, but you just need to pay attention to the slow-twitch fibers.
We recommend that you simply add this tweak to your workout system once or twice a week. Work with lower resistance to get that volume up. Sets with higher reps will definitely benefit you if you are after symmetry and bigger muscles in specific areas.
If you’re still unimpressed, here’s another benefit: when you expose muscles to longer periods of strain, protein synthesis increases, and this greatly improves the formation of actual lean muscle tissues. In the end, the experts say that you will have bigger, thicker, more durable, and more impressive muscles.
4. Paired Workouts
Paired workouts are often done to add strain to associated muscles and keep the tension going in those target regions. The idea is you are going to perform two workouts or movements back to back without stopping, and the target should be opposing muscle groups. Quads and hamstrings, for example, can be attacked effectively via paired workouts.
The science behind paired workouts is the concept of reciprocal innervations, where it is believed that the associated or opposing muscle groups are readied by the previous movement of a nearby muscle group. So with extra pump and strain, you may get better results in the end because the target muscles have already been primed by the previous sets and reps.
5. Work-Stretch Sets
Work-stretching is using light weights to extend muscles so they would ‘pop’ and trigger the process called splitting.
With muscle splitting, you are essentially turning one muscle fiber to two, and so forth.
Hyperplasia is encouraging the body to begin producing more independent muscle fibers, so there is visible growth in certain parts of the body.
Though there still has to be more studies to determine the effectiveness of this technique, there is definitely no harm in trying.