I have a technique for you to add to your arsenal, it’s not a new technique but it’s one that is very effective.
Instead of doing the standard 3×8-12 or 5×5, you will be doing sets for a specific time (you can play with the variable number of sets or length of the set depending on your preference).
You could call this interval training with weights.
Here is how you do it:
– Load exercise with 40-80% 1RM (I mean a solid 1RM with good form, no sloppy maxes). Hypertrophy can be stimulated with as little as 30% total load of 1RM (higher loads will help recruit more muscle fibres but the lower ones will tribute to total volume/mechanical fatigue, both stimulate growth), however where this will be a good from 1RM and not an all out 1RM stick with 40% as your starting point, I will link some of the recent work of Brad Schoenfeld for you to look at below:
– Set a stop watch for 30 seconds minimum to 5min max (you could do more than 5min but that would be brutal), you can match the rest 1-1 or 1-2. Recently studies have confirmed that 60-90 seconds rest (meaning 1-2 if you did 30 second sets) are optimal for increasing HGH, Testosterone, IGF1 and oath such anabolic hormones if hypertrophy is your goal, the longer the rest means more Test production/higher levels but less HGH. You can find info on the link below and also other studies:
– Rep out until the time is up. Use a tempo of 4-0-1-0 as a starting point, you can manipulate this as you see fit. 6-0-6-0 is a nice/nasty one for hypertrophy. Read this:
The method is simple and works well with compound and isolation movements, not to mention it saves you time in the gym (depending on the program structure). I would suggest 1-2 compound movements with 1-2 isolation movements for each body part. It helps increase HGH, Testosterone, MU/Muscle Fibre recruitment and much more. If you want to know why this works (constant tension & volume principles) then take a look at this post:
Now when it comes to the set timing I have said 30 seconds to 5min, the reason for this is because the minimum amount of TUT (time under tension) to stimulate hypertrophy is around the 30second mark with a load of 80-85%1RM according to various studies, however low loads that have more total TUT are also as effective – take a look at this link for more info:
When it comes to the 5min sets I would not go above the 60% loading and use a rest-pause style (1 rep, 2-3 deep breaths, repeat until time up, keep a focus on cadence or the reps too – 3-0-1-0 for example).
Here is an example program based on a 3 day per week body part spilt:
*On main compound lifts use a work to rest of 1-2, on accessory lifts use 1-1.
Pull Day –
– Deadlift: 1x3min, 1x2min, 1x1min – 70-80% Load
– Pull Up: 3×90 seconds
– Row: 3×90 seconds
– Curls (bar or DB) 4×75 seconds
Push Day –
– Close Grip Bench: 3x2min – 70-80% load
– Press: 5×60 seconds
– Cable Fly: 3×90 seconds
– Skull Crusher: 3×90 seconds
Leg Day –
– Squat 1x5min, 1x3min, 1x2min 40-80% load
– RDL 3x3min
– Hamstring Curl 3x1min
– Calf Raise 2x4min
On paper this doesn’t look like much but I can tell you from experience that this is no easy workout. The guildeine program above is merely an example not gospel. When it comes to press you will still need to adhere to the principles of overload and aim to add a little bit of weight to the bar where you can.