Doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions every time you visit the gym is like going on holiday to the same place every year; It can get quite repetitive and pretty boring.
There are so many places to go on holiday around the globe and weight training is the same, you just have to go and discover different training methods and you will not only enjoy yourself, but also find more beneficial ways to weight train.
This article will give you the knowledge you need to change up your resistance workouts and start noticing some drastic improvements. I will explain each training method and who they would be useful for, so you can implement them in to your workouts and have a greater understanding of various types of weight training methods.
Super sets are one of the most popular weight training methods used in gyms. A personal favourite of mine and many others. Super sets allow you to get workouts done relatively quickly compared to just concentrating on one exercise at a time.
What are super sets?
Super sets in short are basically doing two exercises back to back and then resting. There are two types of super sets – Antagonist and Pre Exhaust.
Antagonist is the friendlier of the two and is where you complete two opposing muscles such as a leg curl for your hamstrings, followed by a leg extension for your quadriceps.
Pre exhaust is the sneaky one however it is highly effective. This is where you perform an isolation exercise such as a pectoral fly to work the pectoral muscle, followed by a bench press that still works your pectorals with the assistance of your tricep.
Who are super sets good for?
Super sets are good for any form of weight training however this training method is generally used in hypertrophy training or muscular endurance training. Go and give them a go and don’t avoid the pre exhaust ones as they are effective in overloading the muscle.
Tri sets are very similar to super sets. I would say they are a step up from super sets and are rarely used unfortunately. Once again this training method has the intentions of getting the workout done or overloading the muscle dependant on how you use them.
What are Tri sets?
Tri sets are the use of three exercises continuously before rest. Similar to super sets you can do three exercises for the same muscle group or you can do three exercises that are working separate muscles such as a bench press for the chest, bent over row for the back, and lateral raises for the shoulders.
Who are Tri sets for?
They are beneficial for both hypertrophy training and muscular endurance training. I would say that if you are to use them for hypertrophy training then use three exercises that focus on different muscle groups. If you are using them for muscular endurance then use three exercises for the same muscle group.
Another firm favourite is the drop set. A great weight training method and one that is highly effective.
What are drop sets?
Drop sets consist of doing your normal repetitions for your chosen exercise. When you can’t complete any more you then rest while decreasing the weight. Once you have decreased the weight, you begin your next set. When you can’t do anymore you then drop the weight again and begin your next set.
There are many variations of drop sets such as stripping. Stripping is where you start off with your normal weight on the barbell, two people then take a weight plate off the bar and you then complete your next set. You continue this until there are no weight plates on the bar.
Another variation of a drop set is whats known as down the rack. This is where you start off with your normal lifting dumbbell weight and you then work your way down the dumbbells until you can’t do any more of a specific weight.
Who are drop sets for?
Drop sets are great for all. They will help you in your strength training, help you to build muscle, and can also be used for muscular endurance benefits.
Partials are a method that can help provide strength through a particular range of movement. Normally you would advise exercises to be completed through the full range of motion however there are benefits of this weight training method.
What are partials?
Partials consist of only completing part of the range of motion of a particular exercise. Strength is increased through that particular part of the movement. This can help develop strength in an area where you get stuck during the full range of motion such as the bottom half of the bench press.
The most well known partial training method is 21s. Generally used on a bicep curl, you complete 7 reps of the bottom 50% of the range of motion, followed by 7 reps of the top 50% of the range of motion, followed by 7 reps of the full range of motion.
Who are partials for?
Partials are a great exercise for building strength so this exercise is ideal for anyone looking to improve their strength of a particular movement.
They are not only ideal for people in the gym lifting their maximum weights, they are also perfect for people with a weakness in a joint or muscle such as the elderly or someone taking part in rehabilitation of an injury.
Partials such as 21s can be used at the end of your gym session to fatigue/fail the muscle which can be beneficial for hypertrophy and endurance training.
For forced repetitions you would need to make sure you have a training partner or spotter.
What are forced repetitions?
Forced repetitions consist of lifting a heavy weight that the participant can not complete on their own. With the use of a spotter or training partner, they push through the final repetitions with the spotter taking off some of the workload by assisting with lifting part of the weight.
Who are forced repetitions for?
Forced repetitions are best used for strength training or power training. This is due to the participant needing to lift a heavy weight that they would struggle to lift for many repetitions.
This training method can also be used for hypertrophy training however there are better ways to fatigue the muscle for this style of training.
Negatives are not a common training method however they do hold their position as an effective weight training method.
What are negatives?
The exerciser slowly lowers a very heavy weight to the start position of the exercise. For instance, on a bench press the exerciser will lower the bar down towards their chest as slowly as possible. When the exerciser gets to the bottom phase of the exercise then a training partner or spotter will help lift the weight back up to the start position.
Who are negatives for?
Negatives are best used to develop strength so they would be beneficial for those of you who are doing strength training as part of your weight training routine.
Most people don’t know what an isometric contraction is and many people don’t use this training method.
What is an isometric exercise?
An isometric exercise is a contraction against an immovable resistance. Strength is increased at a specific point of the movement.
Who are isometric exercises for?
Isometric exercises have their place in the weight training world. There are two main uses for them, one is for people who have had injuries and require joint strengthening exercises. The other is for powerlifters who get stuck in a certain part of the range of motion.
Maximal load is not for the faint hearted. It requires a strong mentality, self motivation, and the belief that you can move anything.
What is maximal load?
Maximal load is basically lifting the maximum weight you can lift for a small number of repetitions. This is generally used for 1-4 repetitions. Anything after this and you are not lifting your maximal load. Maximal load training is normally used for weightlifting exercises such as the bench press, clean and jerk, squats, and deadlift.
Who is maximal load for?
It is generally used by athletes such as powerlifters, weightlifters, and athletes looking to improve their strength. There are no hypertrophy benefits through maximal load training so it should just be used for strength and power training.
Diminished rest weight training is a bit of an alternative style of training. Rather than focussing on increasing the weight you are lifting, you instead focus on decreasing the time you rest for.
What is diminished rest?
Diminished rest weight training consists of lifting your normal weight. Once you have completed your set you then take say 90 seconds rest before your next set. In your next weight training session you lift your normal weight but then take 80 seconds rest in-between each set. This will raise the intensity of your weight training session as you are taking less recovery each time you visit the gym.
Who is diminished rest for?
I would say that diminished rest is best used for people working on muscular endurance training. There is also a place for it during some hypertrophy sessions however I would say that it is most effective for those of you toning up and working on your muscular endurance.
Hopefully you have the knowledge to go and mix up your weight training sessions. Let us know your favourite weight training methods and which ones you find effective for yourself.