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Are you looking for a way to cut time in the gym while still building muscle? Have you hit a plateau and can’t figure out how to get back to the Path of Glorious Gainz? Then you’re in luck.
However, if you’re looking for a way to justify a low pain tolerance, a lackadaisical work ethic, or someone to tell you, “It’s okay, keep spending the entirety of your training session taking selfies and chatting up everyone, you can still make gains” then…
Well, find an influencer to show you some more glute kickbacks or something.
This article will only help those willing to put in the work. And it will help them mightily.
In this article, I will bestow upon you divine knowledge, passed down from generation to generation. It is the knowledge of the ancients. Those great warriors and scholars who forged their physiques with iron, and with fire. The gym is our forge. Our muscle groups, the weapons. And we are our own body-smiths.
Where most smiths fall short is in failing to adhere to the standard principles of craftsmanship.
But not you. You know better — I hope. Read on and let’s hone our craft to forge the ultimate weapons…our own physiques.
Many heroes have found themselves precisely where you are now, lost and wondering if their biceps and booties will ever grow again. (You are not the first and you won’t be the last) The noobie gains have long abandoned you, and if we’re going based on RPG mechanics, every new level reached seems to require one hundred times the XP as it used to. This is natural. It’s how this simulation we call life works. Has to do with game balance or something.
Anyway, up until this point, you’ve been training as a regular player. Let me know if any of these sound like you:
And…I won’t go on and list every D&D Class as an example. You get the picture. What it’s time you learn is that, although there are many ways to reach your true physical potential, such as:
There’s one way that’s been proven time and time again…
Training to absolute failure, and then beyond. Tearing the muscles down, so that you can effectively repair them with quality nutrition, supplementation, and rest. Thus, making them grow back bigger and stronger.
It’s a simple Path, but it’s not an easy one. At face value, tearing down muscles might seem easy. You simply lift heavy weight. But even if a weight is heavy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to tear muscle fibers. That’s achieved when we push our muscles past their threshold.
It requires perseverance, knowledge, and (perhaps most importantly) barbarian-like tenacity.
To truly reach your max-level potential, you must Rage. Now, obviously, given what I’ve just stated about the Barbarian and their Rage, it’s clear that the best time to use your Rage is when training. But there’s more to it than that. You must know how to effectively use this innate primal power within. Such knowledge is what I grant.
Lifting a weight until muscle failure, then decreasing the weight by a percentage, and without resting in between, continuing the exercise. Can be performed any number of times within a single set.
Pin-loaded Leg Extension Example:
Note: the rep ranges are to be used as a guide for how heavy to go. This does not mean that, should you hit 12 reps, to drop weight and continue the set. Only decrease weight upon hitting muscle failure.
When two or more exercises are performed back to back without rest in between. This can be a great way to deliver more blood into the muscles, train (muscular and cardio) endurance, as well increase positive muscle micro-damage.
Alternatively, you can superset two exercises that effectively target different muscle groups. Arnold used to train chest and back in this fashion, performing supersets such as Bench to Wide Grip Pull-Ups. This is a beneficial tool when crammed for time, or when you seek to increase heart rate.
Tri-Set: Exactly what it sounds like. Three exercises combined for one total set. This method was largely popularized by Vince Gironda and the first Mr. Olympia, Larry Scott, who attributed much of his insane bicep development to performing the following exercises in tri-set fashion:
Giant Set: Not quite a circuit, but close. Perform anywhere from 4-7 exercises for one muscle group back to back, without rest. This is an excellent way to push past failure, test your resolve, work muscular endurance, and train for cardio using weights.
Some notable coaches who have effectively utilized this training technique would be Arthur Jones and Milos Sarcev, and even Dana Linn Bailey at times, all with epic success.
In fact, Arthur Jones was renowned for pretty much breaking the arrogance out of athletes, regularly causing them to vomit during their workouts. Which is perhaps why Giant Sets aren’t done very often, because if done with the right intensity (all exercises taken to failure), they give a whole new meaning to the word brutal.
Sample Legs Day Giant Set (4-5 sets of 10-15 reps with 2-3 minutes of rest between)
Rest-pause training breaks down one set into several subsets, with a short rest between each.
Ultimately, there are two ways to perform rest-pause sets, and how you perform them will be dependent on your overall goals.
The first is a great way to get yourself accustomed to working with heavy weight, however, it doesn’t involve training until failure, and seeing as how this article is all about taking your workouts to Chaos Level Intensity, we’ll focus on the second one.
Rest-Pause training for hypertrophy purposes involves taking a set to absolute muscle failure, resting 10-15 seconds, repeating the exercise using the same weight as before, then again. It is absolutely brutal.
Inherently requiring a spotter, this high intensity technique is a mighty tool for maximizing the efficacy of a set.
Essentially, forced reps are performed after you’ve hit muscle failure, or if your training partner is adept, at the exact point you are reaching failure. At this point, the spotter will pick up on the necessary slack, lifting an increasing percentage of each remaining rep for you, allowing you to complete the set.
When performing forced rep training, it’s beneficial to slow tempo on the negative portion of the repetition. For example, let’s say you are performing barbell bench, and the negative portion would take about 3-4 seconds, increase that to 6 seconds to do more micro-damage.
Take note that, like most intensity techniques, this is advanced. Don’t trust just any spotter to help you with forced reps, especially on a movement like barbell bench, because if they screw up. Well, it’d be less than ideal.
Furthermore, certain exercises simply don’t work for forced reps. Like, deadlifts or barbell rows. That would just be silly. In fact, if you’re doing forced reps for back, try them with cable exercises since it’s pretty easy for a partner to help you complete those extra reps.
Another fantastic way to extend a set to failure and then beyond, partial reps can be done with most exercises. Simply take the exercise to muscle failure, then continue repping out until you cannot move the weight past, like, an inch or something.
A lot of people go wrong with partial reps because, well, for one, far too many trainers don’t hit optimal range of motion to begin with (note I said optimal not full, because some exercises simply don’t require full ROM, but that’s a different beast). But the most common mistake is switching to partial reps before you reach muscle failure.
An example, using barbell curls:
Words of Caution
This type of training is exceptionally taxing on your muscles as well as your CNS. As such, drop your overall volume. Thing is, most people don’t actually achieve muscle failure when they lift, and true failure is freaking rough. It does significantly more damage to the working muscles than traditional training.
By adding in these techniques, aiming for failure with every set, your body will beg you for an extra rest day. Don’t be a moron. Listen to it. Just understand that if you’re training hard enough, your body will thank you for the extra rest day.
It’s already been stated that you will require more rest when applying these high intensity training techniques. There’s more to it than that though.
In order to truly succeed with building muscle and burning fat while training all-out you need to supplement accordingly. Here are the five supplements that are critical for enduring and recovering from these sorts of workouts:
Now that you’re all fully stocked on the necessary supplements and knowledge, get out there and rage.