Weight Training Intensity - Why You Need To Train
High Intensity To Build Muscle
ask me all the time what is intensity? How do you apply it to your
training? Do I really need to train with high intensity to grow?
Let me take a few moments to share with you my perspective on this
topic. You can define intensity in 3 ways, well actually 4 ways.
You can increase reps, increase weight, decrease the time in between
sets, or a combination of all 3 which would give you the 4th element.
It is difficult to have high levels of intensity, if your training
model is centered on volume training. I say that because most people
operate in this realm of intensity already. Let me give you
an example. Joe is a serious weight lifter and wants to put on size.
Joe has been training in a pyramid volume format for the past
6 months to 1 year. However, he has noticed he has hit a plateau.
Joe cannot understand why, when he trains, he does 4 sets 12, 10,
8, 6 and increasing the weight after each set. Based on what I said
in the beginning of this article, Joe is doing 1 of the
4 ways to include intensity in his workout. So why has Joe plateaued?
Muscle Confusion is a Real Concept That Should Not Be Ignored!
Now lets look at what Joe is doing a bit closer. True enough he
is increasing the weight on each set, but he also decreased the
reps so he added one intensity principal and took one away which
nets a return of 0! This is why most people who do volume training
will almost always hit plateaus. Earlier, I gave you the text book
definition of intensity, now let me give you mine. By using multiple
training principals, I can in effect stay in a constant state of
muscle confusion which will help me avoid plateaus thus
making my training far more effective!
Always Go To Failure!
Let me give you an example of this training. We are training back
in this example:
- Rear deltoid flyes with constant tension and working muscle
- Stiff arm pull-downs with pauses at the top of the
movement to failure.
- Lat pull-downs with a reverse grip, slow reps with
force negatives to failure.
Let's look at this set a bit closer. This 1st set is a giant set
with constant tension on the working muscles, pauses, and force
negatives (negs). In this first set, I am implementing 4
- Giant set
- Constant tension on working muscle
- Force negatives
Now, here is an important item to point out. Since I am going to
failure on every movement, there is no need to increase reps,
increase weight, or decrease the time in between sets. The
very nature of how I am doing this set already includes these principals
in the set. Technically, this back set has 8 training principals in
1 set (4 plus 4).
For those of you who have done volume training and increase
the weight on each set, you can imagine what an 8 training
principal set would do to you. That is why I do not do a lot
of sets per body part. For smaller body parts like chest, shoulders,
bicep, triceps, and calves, I will only do 2-4 total sets.
For back and legs, I only do 3-5 total sets (not per exercise)!
Is This Training Style Right For You?
Let me be perfectly honest here. Do you need to train like this
in order to maximize your gains? The answer is no! I know
a lot of guys who do not train hard and who are huge but most of
these guys have help in gaining that muscle mass. Besides, if you
are a competitor in whatever discipline, the very thing that
separates us from men and woman is how we train! I don't know about
you, but all things given equal, if you have two people natural
or not and one trains hard and the other does not, which one do
you think would get the first call out?
"YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF ARE YOU
A MAN OR A LION" - Brad Pitt, "Troy"