There are lots of ways to grow new muscle tissue, BUT some are more effective than others…
If you’re the type of guy who’s struggling to get bigger, or somebody who’s hit a strength plateau, or maybe you just want to mix up your training to make it more fun and interesting?
Then try out these techniques for some serious muscle gains…
Advanced weight training methods to make your muscles grow…
#1 Drop Sets
This is where you complete a regular weight training set, BUT then once you’ve finished… you immediately lower the weight, and go straight into another set…
For example, on a DB chest press…
1st set = 30kg x 10 reps
2nd set = 25kg x 10 reps
You can do 1 drop set, or multiple, for example…
- 1st set = 30kg x 10 reps
- 2nd set = 25kg x 10 reps
- 3rd set = 20kg x 10 reps
- 4th set = 15kg x 10 reps
There’s no limit to how many drop sets you can do, although typically most people will do 1-2 drops – it’s entirely up to you though!
In terms of how much weight you should reduce after each set? it depends, although as a general rule of thumb, somewhere between 10-25% per drop set.
One of my favourite drop sets is for shoulders, where I’ll do a DB side raise…
- 10kg x 10 reps
- 9kg x 10 reps
- 8kg x 10 reps
- 7kg x 10 reps
- etc, etc… all the way down to 1kg! So 100 reps! It’s brutal BUT gives you an insane shoulder pump.
#2 Rest Pause
This is a great way to add overall volume and bust through strength plateaus.
Typically most people will do one set and go to failure, BUT then rest for 60-90s before going into their next set.
With a rest pause set, you take the set to failure, rack up, rest for only 10-20s and then go again, trying to get out another 1-3 reps. It’s a great way of extending the set, and it will absolutely annihilate your muscles if done correctly.
An example of a rest pause set would look like this…
Bench press (65% of 1RM) x 8-12 reps
Do another 1-3 reps with the same weight
I like to do this on the bench press, right at the end of my chest workout. I typically only do 1-2 rounds, because it destroys my muscles.
World class bodybuilder ‘Dorian Yates’ used this training method, and so do many professional bodybuilders today! It’s a great way to slap on some serious muscle tissue.
Doing negative reps is where you load the bar up with extra weight (more than normal), and focus on a controlled eccentric lift (the lowering phase). You then have a training partner help you with the concentric (lifting part of the rep).
For example, on a bench press…
Usually you bench 100kg and can do 8 reps, however today you’re doing ‘negatives’ so you load 120kg on the bar…
Your partner helps you unrack the bar, BUT then you lower the weight down by yourself, taking at least 4-5s (slow and controlled), once you touch your chest, your partner then gives you a spot, helping to take off the added load as you press the weight back up to the top. Then once at the top, you go down into your next rep, and repeat the process.
You must have a spotter to do this, and somebody that you trust – otherwise you may get decapitated! lol!
You can also do this method with lots of other exercises e.g. BB curl, DB side raises, Skull crushers – to name but a few great exercises to use this training method with.
#4 Giant Sets
This is where you do 4 or more different exercises, one after the other for the same muscle group. For example…
Barbell squat x 10 reps
DB walking lunges x 20 reps
Hack squat x 15 reps
Leg extensions x 25 reps
Or something along those lines!
It’s absolutely hideous, and if done correctly will give you an insane muscle pump!
I first tried out this technique on a Milos Sarcev muscle camp, back in 2014. It was a 3 day course, and each day we trained twice per day (different muscle groups) – all we did each session was giant sets, and I couldn’t move properly for about a week after! lol.
You can do giant sets with any muscle group, here are some ideas…
- Chest (flat bench press, incline machine press, DB fly, cable cross over)
- Back (wide pull up, two arm DB row, deadlift, seated cable row)
- Shoulders (BB press, DB side raises, DB rear raises, BB upright row)
- Biceps (BB curl, DB hammer curl, cable curl, close grip pull ups)
- Triceps (dips, overhead DB extensions, BB skull crusher, tricep push down)
- Abs (hanging leg raises, sit ups, bicycle crunches, reverse crunches)
- Quads (back squat, leg press, leg extensions, hack squat)
- Hamstrings (BB stiff legged deadlift, seated leg curl, lying leg curl, DB ham curl)
- Calfs (donkey calf raises, single leg DB raises, standing machine raises, seated machine)
Arnold Schwarzenegger used to love doing supersets, especially for muscle groups such as the chest and back, biceps and triceps.
In a nutshell a ‘superset’ is where you do one exercise, and then go straight into another exercise. For example…
DB bicep curls x 10 reps, straight into dips x 10 reps
Typically (although not always!) supersets are done with opposing muscle groups, for example…
- Chest and back
- Biceps and triceps
- Quads and hamstrings
Here are some superset workout ideas…
Chest and back superset workout
- Flat DB press superset with Bent over BB row (8-12 reps) x 3 sets
- Incline DB press superset with Wide grip pull up (12-15 reps) x 3 sets
- Cable cross over superset with DB pull over (15-20 reps) x 3 sets
Biceps and triceps superset workout
- BB curls superset with Dips (10-15 reps) x 3 sets
- DB curls superset with DB skull crushers (10-15 reps) x 3 sets
- Cable rope hammer curl superset with Rope push down (15-20 reps) x 3 sets
Quads and hamstrings superset workout
- leg extensions superset with seated leg curl (15-20 reps) x 3 sets
- Hack squats superset with DB stiff legged deadlifts (8-12 reps) x 3 sets
- Leg press superset with lying hamstring curl machine (12-15 reps) x 3 sets
Supersets are great because you get an insane muscle pump. Other benefits include, quicker workouts, because whilst one muscle works, the other one is resting, you can go back to back, with little rest.
Using bands is a great way to change the strength curve of an exercise, for example on a deadlift…
On a regular deadlift, once you’ve completed the rep, and are stood up straight, there’s not much tension (compared with the lifting/mid rep phase), so adding bands to deadlifts is a great way to increase the resistance at the top of the rep…
You can also use bands on the bench press, and leg press machine.
Apart from just generally looking like a badass! lol! Chains are a great tool to use to mix up your training, and add in functional strength work. Most people use chains on exercises like the bench press, and squat. You can also use them on deadlifts, and dips (although you may get mistaken for Lil Wayne! lol! sorry had to crack that joke!).
If you fancy mixing it up, and want to build some huge muscle… then try adding chains onto one of your exercise in your next workout.
Word of Warning
The Advanced weight training methods I’ve mentioned in this post are incredible and will help you gain size and strength, however a word of caution…
Always warm up – I recommend doing 5 mins cardio, 5 mins foam rolling/mobility work, and then doing 1-2 weight training warm up sets, before going into your main session.
Dont over do it – these training methods should be used sparingly, and don’t combine too many in one session. My advice would be to try out one method each session e.g. Monday – do a drop set for one of your exercises, Tuesday – try a rest pause, Wednesday – giant set. Test the waters and see what your body responds to.
Thanks for reading, I hope this post helped!