Are you a hardgainer who’s itching to put on size? Then add these tweaks – minus more time – to your program.
By Joe Wuebben
You know the saying “less is more”? Well, it applies to building muscle, too. Carelessly piling on weight and doing more work can be a one-way ticket to overtraining and injury. A smarter way to add 3cm to your arms or bulk up your legs: Train with these simple gym-rat-tested techniques that don’t require you to spend more time in the gym, just more effort. But the pay off is big.
1) Reverse Pyramids
Most pyramids begin with the lightest weight/highest reps and move to heavier weight/fewer reps – so, a 15-rep first set, 12-rep second set, etc. Reverse pyramids start with the heaviest weight/fewest reps, when your muscles are less tired, and end with the lightest weight/most reps. More overload means more growth.
2) Forced Reps
To achieve more reps in a given set than you can physically do on your own, have a spotter help you eke out a few more after reaching failure. This causes your muscles to adapt and grow stronger to meet the beyond-failure demands. Limit yourself to one to two forced-rep sets per workout. This method is easiest when you’re training with a partner; ask a stranger if necessary.
Dropsets work best on machines that let you quickly decrease the load. After reaching failure on your last set of an exercise, immediately drop the weight by 20-30% and continue till you fail again with the lighter weight. Do two sets, then call it quits.
You’ll train beyond failure without using a spotter or lightening the load. Once you fail or break form, rest 10 to 20 seconds, then go to failure again.
Related: Superset: A Beginner’s Guide