There’s a cache of training tactics you’re probably not doing and by doing so are shortchanging your gains. Many of them will be familiar to you if you spent the smallest amount of time training, but by combining two techniques you’ll place tremendous stress on your muscles and force them to grow. These are the most powerful duos you need in your routine today to be better tomorrow.
Deadly duo 1: Supersets with a drop set
A superset involves doing two exercises one after the other, for either the same body part or for antagonistic (opposing) muscle groups. So, for the former, you’d superset push-ups with bench press if you wanted to give your chest a particularly brutal workout. To kick it up a notch you can combine this with a drop set where you do 6-8 reps on the exercise, then reduce the weight by 60% and do another 6-8 reps. It’s best to use a machine or easily adjustable exercise for the second exercise or you create lag time between the drop set and can limit the intensity. When done right, this will obliterate any energy stores you have in your muscles.
Best superset and drop set combinations
For chest: Barbell bench press superset with flys drop set
For back: Barbell bent over row superset with lat pulldowns drop set
For shoulders: Dumbbell presses superset with front raises drop set
For quads: Barbell back squat superset with leg extensions drop set
For hamstrings: Deadlift superset with hamstring curls drop set
For biceps: Barbell bicep curls superset with cable rope curls drop set
For triceps: Close grip bench press superset with drop set
For abs: Sit-ups superset with weighted crunches drop set
Deadly duo 2: Partial reps with negative reps
To understand what you need to do, you’ll need a breakdown of each technique, starting with partial reps. For these, you’d only complete a repetition through a limited range of motion, either the top, bottom or middle of a typical repetition. For negative reps you’ll focus on lowering the weight very possible for the count of 5-7 seconds. This is a huge catalyst for muscle growth as it comes as a tremendous stress to your muscles. Since there will be a lot of adjustments being made to the weights used, you should focus on doing this using a machine. To start off you’d do the partial rep, then bang out a full range of motion rep, lower that rep very slowly for the count of 5 seconds, then repeat the partial rep again. You’ll be able to use more weight for both the partial and negative rep than you would for regular reps, so don’t be scared to go heavy.
Best machines to use for each body part:
For chest: Bench press machine or Pec Deck
For back: Lat pulldown or seated row
For shoulders: Seated shoulder press
For quads: Leg press or leg extensions
For hamstrings: Hamstring curls
For biceps: Cable rope curls
For triceps: Cable triceps extensions
For abs: Cable kneeling pulldowns
Deadly duo 3: Explosive reps followed by timed reps
At the start of your set, you’re always fresh and full of the power so this is when you’ll need to do your explosive reps. This involves completing your rep as quickly as you can, then immediately doing the next rep. Trouble is, your explosive lower typically declines when you progress past repetition number 5, so it’s best to leave a little in tank and stop at repetition four. Next on the agenda is timed repetition where you look at a clock and stop counting, choosing instead to keep doing reps until the clock says stop. For muscle growth, your body part should be placed under tension for roughly 40 seconds so this should be the minimum amount of time you should do your timed rep for. Warning: this is not easy by any stretch so it’s best to schedule this duo at the very end of your workout as a finisher, rather than starting with it and not being able to continue your session.
The best explosive rep and timed reps combinations
For chest: Clap push-ups and regular push-ups
For back: Clap pull-ups and lat pulldowns
For shoulders: Medicine ball wall throws and dumbbell shoulder press
For quads: Jump squats and bodyweight squats
For hamstrings: Jumping split squats and hamstring curls
For biceps: Barbell curl throws and banded bicep curls
For triceps: Explosive parallel bar dips and regular dips
For abs: Medicine ball ab throws and plank
Deadly duo 4: centurion sets followed by forced stretching
What exercise do you think you can do 100 uninterrupted reps on? There aren’t many but it’s still worth a try. The concept is simple, complete 100 reps of a relatively easy exercise, bodyweight calf raises for example, then immediately afterward stretch that muscle for a full 60 seconds. Stretching a muscle can actually yield some growth by allowing more flexibility in the fascia that encapsulates said muscle. The stretching part may come as a very welcome source of relief because the 100 reps is a real grit your teeth affair thanks to the immense pain you’ll feel. The rewards are a workout you’re guaranteed to feel the next day and a new found endurance that’ll resonate throughout the rest of your workouts.
The best centurion set and stretching combinations
For chest: Kneeling push-ups and chest stretch
For back: Lat pulldowns and back stretch
For shoulders: Lateral raises and shoulder stretch
For quads: Bodyweight squats and quad stretch
For hamstrings: Single leg deadlift and hamstring stretch
For biceps: Light dumbbell curls with bicep stretch
For triceps: Light tricep extensions with tricep stretch
For abs: Crunches with abs stretch
Let us know how you did with this workout!
But in the meantime, here's a quick tip on how to boost your endurance so you can keep progressing!