When it comes to building muscle, do you often look for the fastest approach? If you are reading this blog post, I would assume that you probably haven’t found the fastest approach or are looking for a better way to achieve great results.
Often when people suggest to you what they think that the best approach to building muscle fast, they will typically suggest the approach that they follow, but there isn’t necessarily one single approach that can accomplish great gains in itself.
Often the best way to approach building muscle and doing it as quick as possible comes down to following more than one single approach.
Today’s post we are going to take a look at some different training approaches which I personally feel that you shouldn’t single out one and only do that one.
I believe that it is best to follow more than one approach at a time and switch your approach to building muscle frequently so that you are not training the same way month after month.
When I say standard sets, I am not talking about lifting your partner and hoisting them over your head LOL, I am more directly talking about following a standard approach to lifting where you do standard straight sets which have been the backbone of training ever since the beginning of weight lifting.
The old standard way of doing things are standard sets where you set a weight at what feels comfortable for you and lift it for as many reps as you can, set the weight down and rest for usually 30 to 60 seconds.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a great way to build muscle and it gives you an ample amount of time to recover between sets. This is the way I have spent the majority of my time weight training is by using standard sets.
After a while we get to a point where it seems like our results that we are working towards have come to a standstill if you do things in the same old way day after day, but in this post I will be covering different structured processes in your weight training that will spice up your workouts and help you with receiving better results.
The standard way of weight training through performing standard sets will fatigue your muscles and break the muscle tissue down which is what is needed in order to build muscle, but in the principles that I will be outlining throughout the rest of this post are a way of intensifying your training and stressing the muscles at a higher intensity.
Super sets are a great approach to building muscle and stimulating more than one muscle group at a time. Super sets can be done where you are pairing like muscles together, or opposing muscles. For example shoulders and triceps, or you can pair opposing muscles together like biceps and triceps.
One area that I frequently use super sets personally is on arm training day. I find that super setting biceps and triceps together is a great approach to getting a full pump to the arms.
For example, a typical super set that I might follow for arms could be skull crushers paired with incline dumbbell curls, or bench dips paired with hammer curls. When creating your training program, don’t be afraid to be creative and work areas of your body into doing super sets that may be lagging behind.
To give you an example of a super set program that I would typically follow for training biceps and triceps together, you can check it out here.
- Alternate dumbbell curls with overhead dumbbell extensions, 5 super sets
- Incline dumbbell curls with bench dips, 5 super sets
- Hammer curls with dumbbell kickbacks, 5 super sets
You can use your own choice of exercises instead of the ones I supplied here in this program. Once you have performed five super sets for each set of exercises, this should be the equivalent of 15 sets for biceps and 15 sets for triceps totaling 30 sets for arms, your arms will definitely be feeling pumped after this one.
As you can see in the photo below, make sure to tense your muscles at the flexed position, this will also help with increasing your muscle pump and increase in the hardness of your muscles.
Tri-sets are another great approach to further stimulating your muscles where you are pairing three different exercises together to form one set.
When doing tri sets, you could do your leg training performing tri-sets. For example, you could start your tri-sets out with doing squats, leg presses and stiff leg dead lifts. Or you could do leg extensions, leg curls and lunges together to form a tri-set.
Another example of performing tri-sets could be doing opposing muscles, for example, you could do wide grip chins, reverse grip chins and hanging shrugs.
A typical program that I would follow for tri-sets I have outlined below that I generally do as a shoulder workout.
- Dumbbell presses
- Side laterals
- Rear laterals
I perform these three exercises back-to-back without resting in between to form one tri-set. I will do a total of five tri-sets which would be the equivalent of 15 regular sets for shoulders.
Giant sets are similar in approach to super sets and tri-sets. Super sets you perform two exercises back-to-back without resting in between, and tri-sets you perform three exercises back-to-back without resting in between.
Giant sets you perform at least four exercises back-to-back per set without resting in between. Giant sets are a great way to build muscle as well as endurance.
An example of doing giant sets could be performing four exercises back-to-back for shoulders without resting. First you could start out with a set of dumbbell side laterals immediately followed by a set of dumbbell front laterals immediately followed by a set of dumbbell rear laterals immediately followed by a set of dumbbell upright rows.
When performing giant sets, you don’t necessarily need to stick with doing all your giant sets for the same muscle group, you can do giant set exercises together for opposing muscle groups.
For example, you could do bench presses, barbell rows, skull crushers and lunges together to form a giant set, just be creative and you can group your exercises together to target areas that may be lagging behind.
Next I have a good workout set up for you below that will be incorporating giant sets. This giant set program will be working your chest and back together.
- Bench presses
- One arm dumbbell rows
- Dumbbell benches
- Lat pull downs
With these exercises, you will want to move as swiftly as you can between exercises so that your rest is at a minimum, you should try to keep it at a minimum of 2 to 3 seconds between exercises.
If you perform a total of 5 giant sets, this would be the equivalent of 10 sets for chest and 10 sets for back.
If you want to take it up a notch and increase your overall sets, you could do 4 giant sets with these exercises listed above and 4 giant sets of alternate exercises for chest and back, which would be the equivalent of 16 sets for chest and 16 sets for back.
Pyramiding is where you start out with a weight that is reasonably lighter and you increase your weight each incremental set until you reach your peak, then you can reduce the weight each set to finish out your sets in a workout.
Some exercises simply work better when pyramiding than others. For example common exercises that work great for pyramiding are the bench press, squats, dead lifts and overhead presses.
There are many other great exercises that work good for pyramiding, but typically it seems that the best exercises that work great for pyramiding are exercises that are performed with a barbell.
You can still do pyramiding in your training with dumbbells, but personally I always find that it does an incredible job when doing exercises that require using a barbell.
I have an example outlined of a good pyramid when incorporating the bench press. For example if your maximum bench press is 300 pounds, you will want to start out with a weight that you can do approximately 10 reps and work your way up to a heavier weight from there.
- 135 pounds for 20 reps as a warm-up
- Set 1, 225 pounds for 10 reps
- Set 2, 245 pounds for 8 reps
- Set 3, 275 pounds for 4 reps
- Set 4, 300 pound max
- Set 5, 275 pounds for 3 reps
- Set 6, 225 pounds for 8 reps
This is just an example, your own personal weight and reps may be at a different level but you get the basic idea to base your own workout on.
Stripping method / down the rack
The stripping method is a great approach to further stimulate your muscles more than what you would in a normal set.
The stripping method is where you finish doing a given exercise until you can’t do a single rep more, and then reduce the weight slightly and immediately continue doing another set as far as you can push yourself and continue this process for 4 to 5 sets.
When performing the stripping method, this is typically followed when you are doing exercises with a barbell. The best approach to use for the stripping method is to have two training partners, one at each end of the barbell ready to strip a weight off as soon as you are done lifting it.
This type of training is a great way to fatigue your muscles quicker than you would with a different approach such as pyramiding or giant sets.
Another approach that is similar to the stripping method but you don’t need training partners to help with stripping the weight off and you don’t need to spend excess time between sets taking weights off yourself.
The down the rack approach is done using dumbbells, once you have reached your limit for repetitions with a given exercise, immediately set a pair of dumbbells down in the rack and grab the next lighter set and rep out with that as far as you can go.
A great example of doing down the rack could be dumbbell curls. For example start out with a set of dumbbell curls using a pair of 40 pounders, once you have completed your reps, immediately set the weights back in the rack and grab a pair of 35 pounders.
After you have finished with the 35 pounders, immediately set them back in the rack and grab a pair of 30 pounders. You can continue to go down the rack as far as you want, the further you go, the more exhausted your muscles will become.
If you are not accustomed to following this approach your muscles will more than likely be stiff and achy the next day which is surely a good thing, because this will no doubt mean more muscle growth.
If you go all out with this type of training approach, especially if you are not used to it, you might end up like this guy laying on the floor after finishing your sets.
There are many great approaches to building muscle and you don’t necessarily need to follow the same approach all the time, if you do, your muscles will likely grow tired of doing the same thing repetitively and not respond after a while.
Often it is a good idea to follow more than one of these methods in a single training session. For example, you can do super sets and after you’re finishing your final super set, you can finish off the muscle that you are working with the stripping method or the down the rack approach.
When creating your training program, use your imagination and get crazy You can really get in a crazy muscle pump from your workouts when you use these approaches to your training and combine different approaches together.
Something that I find is helpful with giving me energy before my workouts so that I can take my training to the next level with these weight training approaches is to eat a healthy diet that supports my energy level.
I find that foods such as pasta and rice are great carbohydrate sources and will help with increasing my energy for my workouts. It is also a good idea to supplement your diet with pre-workout drinks which will give you an extra burst of energy for heavy training.
To check out one of my product reviews for pre-workout energy drinks, simply click on this link and purchase a product through one of my affiliate programs.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave me a message in the box and I will be happy to get back to you as soon as possible.