A reminder of 1-5 of 15

  1. Drop sets
  2. Mechanical Drop Set
  3. Rest pause
  4. Band Assist
  5. Band Resisted

6-10 of 15 “Salt and Pepper” Techniques for Strength and Muscle Growth

6) Tempo change

Many lifters become married to the 1010 tempo (one count up, one count down, video).  Some will occasionally throw in a slow eccentric or ‘negative’.  But why limit ourselves to these tempos?  They’re not written in stone and we can certainly benefit from switching it up.  Just like how we don’t want to use the same weight over and over for weeks on end, we don’t want to get stuck in just one tempo.  Along with slowing down the negative, we can slow down or have an explosive concentric portion.  Throwing in some pauses at either end of the movement will give an added challenge as well.  Try a 52×0 tempo, a 2022 or any number of combinations.

Example:  A squat with a 52×0 tempo takes 5 grueling seconds to get to the bottom, pauses in the hole for 2 seconds, then explosively pushes to the top.  

7) Post-Activation Potentiation

With this method we use a heavy exercise to “fire up” the nervous system for increased performance of an explosive movement.

Pick a compound exercise.
Perform 1-4 reps at < 80% of your one rep max.
Rest for .5 – 6 minutes.
Then perform an explosive variation of the same movement.
Example: Perform 3 reps of a squat at 85%RM. Rest 3 minutes. Perform a set of 5 squat jumps for max height.

The heavy load ‘potentiates’ the nervous system so you can get improved performance of the explosive movement beyond normal levels.

The tricky part is fine tuning the rest interval. If the rest time between exercises is too short, fatigue prevents optimal performance of the second exercise. Rest too long and the potentiation dissipates. You’ll likely have to experiment a bit to find the sweet spot of performance enhancement of the second power exercise.

8) Pre fatigue from isolation movement

With this method, we do an isolation exercise for a muscle group before a compound exercise that features that same muscle.

Example: Rep out a set of quad extensions right before a set of squats.  Afterwards, hobble over to the water fountain.

9) Post fatigue sets

After a compound movement, go right to an isolation movement for one of the muscles that was just worked.

Example: Right after a set of deadlifts, go to a set of glute/ham raises.

10) Forced eccentrics (negatives)

After hitting concentric failure on an exercise, take out the concentric portion (how you do this will depend on the exercise) and force a few more controlled negatives.

Example:  When you can no longer get your chin over the bar on a set of chinups, jump to the top and slowly control yourself to the bottom.

Continue to ‘pepper’ in a few of these techniques during your workout to bust through a plateau and add a little excitement! Happy training.