by Ben Greenfield
There is a principle in exercise called SAID. It stands for specific adaptations to imposed demands, and it means that our bodies eventually adapt to the demands we place upon them. For people who lift weights, that means you must constantly change or alter your routine in some way in order to burn more calories, make your weight lifting workouts harder, and get better results.
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How to Get Better Results from Weight Lifting
But there is far more you can do to make a weight lifting workout harder than simply add more weight. So in this article, you’ll learn ten quick and dirty tips for getting more work done, burning more calories, and making your muscles feel it more.
Tip #1: Bouncing
Rather than taking a pogo stick to the gym, bouncing actually involves doing mini-reps at end ROM. Yes, that last bit of lingo may require some explaining. “ROM” stands for range of motion, and end ROM refers to the very end of the range of motion. For example, the end ROM of a body weight squat is when your knees are bent, at the very bottom of the motion. At this point in the squat, you could do 5-10 “mini-reps” or very short, bouncy squats, and then stand. Bouncing works for push-ups, crunches, lunges, curls, and just about any basic movement.
Tip #2: Explosions
Pyromaniac readers, please settle down--this has nothing to do with dynamite. For explosions, hold a movement in the toughest position, then explode quickly up and down, then back into toughest position. For example, when you get to the bottom of a push-up, you can hold for 1-2 seconds, then push-up as fast as possibly (your hands can even leave the ground) and land back in the bottom of the push-up.
Tip #3: Quarter Reps
For quarter reps, you do your exercise normally, but in the very middle of the movement you stop, do a quarter rep, and then continue. For example, while performing a lunge you would stop when your knee is halfway bent, stand halfway, then continue through the lunge, which basically turns every 1 rep into 1.5 reps. I suppose quarter reps could also involve lifting rolls of quarters, but I don’t imagine that activity could possibly burn too many calories.
Tip#4: Ladder Reps
For ladder reps, do 5 mini-reps in the bottom range of motion, 5 mini-reps in the middle range of motion, and 5 mini-reps in the top range of motion. For example, during a body weight dip, you would do 5 reps with your elbows bent at the bottom of the dip, 5 reps in the middle of the dip, and then 5 reps at the top of the dip.
Tip #5: Stripping
Contrary to how it might sound, stripping does not involve taking your clothes off at the gym (although pole dancing cardio classes are increasing in popularity). Instead, stripping involves lifting a weight until you cannot perform any more repetitions, decreasing (or stripping) the weight, then continuing with the same exercise for as many repetitions as possible. In a single set, you can strip the weight to your heart’s content, until a tiny, embarrassingly small weight is making you grunt and groan.
Tip #6: Supersets
In a superset, you perform an exercise set immediately after a different exercise set, with no rest in between. There are three different types of supersets.
First: In the first, you do a set for one muscle group, such as leg extensions for your quadriceps, then with no rest, do a set for the opposing muscle group, such as leg curls for your hamstrings.
Second: In the second, you perform both sets for the same muscle group, such as chest flies followed by chest presses.
Third: Finally, you can do a giant superset, in which you perform 3-4 back-to-back exercises for the same muscle group, such as triceps pushdowns to narrow grip push-ups to dips to triceps overhead extensions.
Tip #7: Super Slow Sets
As you might guess, in a super slow set, you perform your repetitions in a very slow controlled manner. Though super slow training can be a waste of time to do all the time, if something like a regular push-up is very easy for you, try to do a push-up with a four count down and a four count back up. See what I mean?
Tip #8: Forced Repetitions
Forced repetitions are exercises that are assisted by a training partner, or spotter. They are typically performed with a much heavier weight than you could normally lift on your own, or significantly more repetitions than you could do by yourself. As you reach failure, your spotter helps you, or forces you, to complete the set.
Tip #9: Negatives
In a negative set, you slowly lower a heavier weight than you would normally use, and either “cheat” to raise the weight back up, or have a partner help you. For example, if you are trying to increase the amount of weight you can bench press, you would slowly lower a very heavy weight to your chest, then have a spotter grab the bar and assist you in pushing the weight back up to the starting position.
Tip #10: Cheating
Speaking of cheating, believe it or not, this is actually another strategy. Although attention to good form is usually recommended when you are lifting weights, cheating may involve rocking back and forth with your body, arching your back, or using an extra part of your body to perform an exercise. For example, if you are pressing a weight overhead with one arm, you may jump, arch, or use the opposing arm to help you out just a bit.
Now that you know how to bounce, explode, cheat and strip, you have no excuse not to get more results from your weight lifting. Do you have other strategies that you use to make your workouts harder? Please share them on the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page!