Our muscles adapt to the same exercises after period of time. It’s like you start to run for a 1 mile 3 times a week. After few months or even weeks it would become easy. The same is with our muscles. Once they get used to the same work and loads, they stop to grow. And that’s when we should use some shocking methods. By incorporating them into our workouts we can give them this extra stimulation to grow.
The most common shocking methods:
- reverse pyramiding
- drop sets (descending)
- ascending sets
- rest-pause method
- partner assisted repetitions
- cheated repetitions
- double negatives
Normally our sets look like:
6 reps – that means that we do 12 reps, add some weight and do 10 reps, add more weight and do another 8 and so on… It’s called a pyramid scheme.
Reverse pyramiding scheme look totally opposite:
We start form the heaviest weight – 6 repetitions, lower the weight, 8 reps, lower the weight and do 10 reps and again lower the weight and do 12 reps…
My favorite shocking method – set of two different exercises done without rest. Examples of supersets:
- Barbell Bench Press supersetted with Dumbbells Flys – you’re doing set of Bench Press first and straight after set of Dumbbell Fly’s – no rest in between
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press supersetted with Incline Barbell Press – great for upper chest
- Overhead Press + Side Laterals – great for a shoulder width
Drop sets or descending sets
Looks like reverse pyramiding except there’s no rest between sets. Another great and painful method. Double drop set – 8/10/12 will look like:
8 reps, lower the weight , no rest
10 reps, lower the weight, no rest
Try it on your own with Lateral Raises and you will discover pain in your delts like you never had before.
Opposite to descending sets. Instead lowering the weight you add more but you have use lighter weight that you usually do.
Let’s say you’re doing Dumbbell Shoulder Press : start from a weight you can easily do 15 reps and do 12, with no rest grab heavier dumbbells and do 10 reps, add weight again and do 8, add again and do 6. Your shoulders will be on fire after that.
One of the most brutal shock. After you reached a failure on any exercise, take a rest – something like 10-15 seconds and try to perform another 3 reps. For example:
On your last set of Barbell Bench Press you do 6 reps and can’t do any more. Put the barbell away, don’t get up, take short rest , no longer than 20 seconds and try to lift it again. As many reps as you can. Really brutal and effective.
Partner assisted repetitions
I’ll give an example on a Bench Press again. Ask your partner to stand behind you. After reaching a failure don’t put the barbell away but tell him to help you on a way up for another 2-3 repetitions.
Use your body to create a momentum to lift your weight up. It allows you to do few extra reps after you reach the failure or use heavier weight than normal: when doing Barbell or Dumbbell Curls use whole your body to lift the weight up and then slowly down. Don’t use this method all the time, you meant to train your biceps not your back like that.
Imagine that you’re doing Concentration Curls. After first repetition use other hand to lift the dumbbell up and then slowly lift it down with one hand do another rep without help and again repeat the pattern. That’s the double negatives.
There’s much more shocking methods, but I think listed here the most important ones. Try to use any of them with a muscle group that you’re struggling to develop and you’ll discover how effective they are.