In an ideal world for those of us who want to focus on ‘’looking better’’ and train for aesthetics we want to be able to stimulate the muscles with minimum impact on the joints. In a sense, if you can achieve the physical appearance with less weight it makes sense to, right? This requires the tips which increase the level of stress on any given muscle with the same weight or potentially less. Below are 3 key areas you can focus on to increase tension on the muscle without needing to use more weight.
Negative & Isometric Phase
Repetition tempo is a fantastic thing; you can make a weight much heavier with a simple tweak. Increasing the time to 4 seconds opposed to 1 (maybe none) during the negative phase (the portion of the rep where you resist the weight) is going to make it much more challenging. The isometric phase at the bottom of the rep (end of the negative) is also another area you can pay special attention to. Look to pause here for 2-3 seconds before lifting the weight and you will instantly notice the difference!! Right away you have made the same weight feel dramatically heavier by increasing ‘’time under tension’’ which is one of the secrets many top trainers utilise.
The position you take during any given exercise will dictate to an extent how challenging that exercise is for you. Moving your wrist backwards whilst bicep curling will isolate the bicep heads much better, sitting upright opposed to back during leg extensions will do the same for your quadriceps. These are just two examples of ways you can make your workouts much more challenging simply by taking a different stance or position during a set. The possibilities are almost endless with this one.
Giant sets actually means ‘’extreme muscular pain’’ in iron talk, I kid you not!! The idea behind a giant set is to move from one exercise to the next with no break, completing a circuit. Like we spoke about in point one, the time spend under tension is increased massively which means the muscle is working harder yet the weight required is potentially going to be less due to the level of muscle fatigue.
If you have been stumped for ways to make your workouts more challenging try using some of these tricks to set those muscles on fire!