If you’ve been weight training for a few months, you might be looking for new ideas on how to get the most out of your workouts. Sure, you know about the beginning principles of progressive overload, muscle confusion and isolation, but isn’t there more?
There certainly is. Here are seven weight training principles for intermediate lifters.
Supersets involve grouping together two exercises for opposing muscle groups, like your back and chest. Do two back-to-back sets, one of each exercise, with little or no rest between them. Supersets will help speed up your workout and enhance overall recovery.
A tri-set is doing three exercises for the same muscle group without resting between the sets. Since you hit your muscles from three different angles, tri-sets are an excellent shaping technique. They are also great for increasing vascularity (having prominent, visible veins).
- Compound Sets
A compound set is basically a superset for the same muscle group. For example, instead of pairing your chest exercise with a back exercise, you would do two chest exercises in a row. Rather than enhancing recovery, compound sets will pump your muscles to the extreme.
- Holistic Training
Holistic training involves a little knowledge of muscle physiology. Different parts of muscle cells respond better to different levels of exercise. For instance, muscular fiber proteins respond to heavy loads, whereas mitochondria (basically, a cell’s energy system) respond to high-endurance training. If you want to maximize the total muscle cell, do a variety of repetitions in your exercises, from high weight and low reps to low weight and high reps.
- Cycle Training
Doing the exact same workouts every week for months on end can get tiring. Yes, it’s good to follow routines to gain mass and strength, but if you cycle your training protocols, you can keep your workouts fresh and fun. Every now and then, lower the weight, increase your reps, and rest less between your sets. Not only will cycle training change things up, but it’ll also help you avoid injuries.
- Quality Training
In quality training, you gradually reduce your rest time between sets, yet still do the same total volume of work. Quality training is great for muscle definition and vascularity.
- Split System
If you’ve been training your full body for a few months, then you can increase the intensity of your workouts by dividing them between your upper and lower body. For example, on your first workout day of the week you would do exercises solely for your upper body, and then the second workout day you would do exercises solely for your lower body. The split system enables you to work both halves of your body harder and longer.
Just making a few changes to the way you work out can have you seeing results faster, and help you push past your body’s current limitations. By putting these intermediate principles to work, you can get even more out of your exercises.