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Techniques You’re Missing to Add Muscle
Spring has finally sprung, temps are getting into the upper 60’s and on a good day, pushing close to 80. The sun is out, wind is light and clothes will slowly but surely get lighter.
But as the clothes come off, you’re noticing something. That winter bulk didn’t go as planned. You don’t have that size on your quadriceps you had hoped for. Those shirts aren’t fitting your arms well, your chest disappears when you raise your arms up. On top of all that, your back and shoulders give no illusion of width and dominance.
While there may be numerous reasons for this, the fact of the matter is that you have very little muscle where it counts and it’s May.
If that’s the case, then here are some methods to help you put on size. A little preface though, these are not for the faint of heart. If you’ve been doing high volume workouts for awhile, then you will want to take a week where you cut down on the volume or just take off completely.
Rest Pause Sets:
If you ever read a bodybuilding magazine or were around message board, you no doubt have heard of Doggcrapp Training by Dante Trudel. It was a high intensity, low volume program that put pounds of muscle on many trainees. Most notably Justin Harris, Steve Kuclo and Dusty Hanshaw. One of the main techniques used in the whole scope of the program was the inclusion of rest pause sets. A rest pause set is where you do your desired number of reps, take 45 seconds to a minute, get some more reps, another 45 seconds to a minute rest and then do more reps. After that third rest pause, the set is done.
This is what a set would look like for a set of incline presses:
225/10==rest interval==225/failure==rest interval==225/failure
In that rest pause sequence, you reach around two to three failure points. This stresses the muscle in new way, keeping it under a heavy load, but also increasing the rep count with the weight. This, over time, will equate to new muscle tissue. Another thing to note is that you keep track of your rest pause reps so you can beat them next time.
Note: Do not use rest pause on legs. Too big of a safety issue.
This is another technique that was around in the mid to late beginning of the 2000’s. Bodybuilding legend Milos Sarcev took giant sets, a technique from back in the OG “Golden Age” of bodybuilding and brought them back. However Milos put a big time remix on them and has people pushing beyond their absolute limits. But seeing as that you nor I hit the genetic jackpot for being elite level physique competitors, then let’s scale it back a bit
Tri sets are simply three exercises, back to back to back with no rest. Simple enough right? Problem is people use this as a reason to back off on weight and try to squeeze the muscle into oblivion. Seeing as that approach didn’t work for you all winter, lets try them another way.
Keep the weight heavy for the first movement of your tri set but for low reps. No lower than 8. For the second movement, lets lighten up just a little, but push the exercise to failure. On the last exercise, keep the weight at a moderate range and push to failure again. In this technique you’ve not only increased the work/rest ratio, but you have also included somewhat of an occlusion effect to get more more blood in the muscle.
This is a technique I’ve come to hate/fall in love with. Without getting to complicated, the negative portion of a rep is where the most muscle damage occurs. You’re actually stronger on the eccentric slope of a rep than the concentric. While you need both phases for muscle growth, the eccentric is one that can be manipulated for new gains in size in strength. Lets use the leg press for an example:
3 plates per side/ 8 reps with a 5 second negative, then go right into 10 reps with a normal pace and then go right into reps with a 3 second negative to failure.
In one set, you’ve set yourself up for a large amount of muscle damage, which depending upon nutrition, can lead to more muscle growth. Negatives can also be great set extenders as well.
Things to consider
The aforementioned techniques will absolutely put muscle on. They will also burn you into the ground if you’re not careful. Your overall nutrition will always play a roll, but pre and intra workout nutrition will also be of importance. Selecting the right products will put you on the right path. Below are my personal recommendations.
Pre: Arc Reactor by Granite Supplements and Impact igniter by Allmax.
Intra: Recovery Factor and Adamantium Aminos by Granite Supplements, Aminotaur by Project AD, EAA Pump by Rock Solid.
Don’t let another spring and summer with no depth or curves to your physique. Add in these techniques and flourish for pool season!