3 Advanced Workout Techniques to Build Muscle Faster
Are you ready to take your workouts to the next level? Have you already made some good progress with beginners’ training methods? Basic routines with heavy movements are the key to long-term gains, but sometimes you’ve got to switch things up. Here are three advanced workout techniques that will help you build muscle faster!
- Antagonistic Supersets
You’ve probably heard about supersets, right? Most people do these by pairing two or more exercises for the same muscle group. You might torch your triceps with back-to-back extensions and dips, or fry your chest with flyes right after bench presses. However, an even more effective method for rapid muscle growth is to superset exercises for opposing muscle groups!
For example, you might do a set of rows for back immediately after completing a set of incline presses or dumbbell presses for chest. These exercises are antagonistic because they use the same joints in opposite ways. You use your arms and torso to push during the presses, and you use the same joints (but different muscles!) to pull during the rows.
Another good pairing would be pull-ups and military presses – pulling and pressing in the vertical plane. Or, you can train your arms with antagonistic supersets by performing back-to-back curls and extensions. This method works with tons of different exercises, as long as you pair movements that use the same joints and body parts in opposite ways.
The advantage of this technique is that you can get A LOT of quality work done in a short amount of time. While you let one body part rest, you can hoist some heavy weight with the opposing muscle group, allowing you to blaze through workouts when you’re short on time. As long as you can recover well enough, you can also train all of your body parts more often and achieve faster growth! Just remember that this will require a larger food intake and plenty of rest.
- Rest-Pause Sets
Even when you’re looking into advanced training techniques, you still need to focus on getting stronger. You’re not going to get a massive chest with a 135 bench or a huge pair of legs without a big squat! However, not all strength routines are created equal. For some seriously rapid strength gains, give rest-pause sets a try. A rest-pause set simply involves going to failure or near-failure, resting for 20-30 seconds, and then getting some more reps. You can repeat this process once or a number of times.
For example, you might normally get ten reps with 185 on the incline press. However, you can probably get another three or four after resting for a half-minute. Do those few reps, rest again, and it’s a good bet you can still eek out one or two final reps. Once all’s said and done, you’d get about five reps more than normal – a huge increase! Those extra reps will cause your body to quickly adapt by rebuilding the muscle bigger and stronger.
Just make sure you use rest-pause sets with the right exercises. It works well for bench presses, dips, and other pressing movements for chest, shoulders, and triceps – as long as you have a spotter. It can also be great for certain pull-ups and rowing exercises. However, you probably want to avoid using this technique for squats, deadlifts, and other exercises that heavily tax your lower back. Performing these movements while already fatigued can lead to serious injury.
- Improve Your Form
Whether you’re a rank beginner or a seasoned veteran in the weight room, you should always strive to improve your form. In some cases, this will simply make an exercise safer, but it can also make your favorite movements more effective for building muscle!
For example, you might feel your quads doing most of the work when you squat. You could widen your stance and focus on sitting back more in order to hit your hamstrings and glutes – muscles which are under-developed on most trainees. Squatting this way isn’t necessarily “better” in all cases, but it would be just what you need to target your weak points.
You might also have trouble working your chest when you do bench presses. To make your pecs do more of the work, you could take a wider grip on the bar and lower it closer to your clavicle than your lower chest. This would mean using less weight, but you’d get a lot more chest involvement out of the exercise.
Overall, form improvements are largely individual. As long as you’re staying safe with heavy weights, you need to make the adjustments necessary for your needs! If you’re a beginner who’s struggling to gain strength, then you’ll want to look for form-fixes that allow you to lift more weight and build more overall mass. If you’re advanced enough to have weak points and strong points, you want to manipulate your form to target your less-developed muscle groups.