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In my last article, I write about strength training protocol and training variables. I also gave three alternative workout routines to a typical bodybuidling straight-set routine.
If you missed the article, you can read in the following link. Even if you read it before, I suggest you re-read the articel to brush up some terminologies.
In this article, I'm providing four more alterante workout routines that you can change up to get out of your fitness rut.
Variation #4 Pyramid Set
DB Bench Press: 55 lbs x 12 reps, 60 lbs x 10 reps, 70 lbs x 6 reps, 2-0-1 tempo, 2 minute rest
Dumbbell Flyes: 40 lbs x 6 reps, 30 lbs x 10 reps, 25 lbs x 12 reps, 2-0-1 tempo, 2 minute rest
Comments: DB Bench Press loading pattern is a regular pyramid method. Start with lower-weight/higher-rep set and progress to heavier- weight/lower-rep set. Dumbbell Flyes loading pattern is an inverted or reverse pyramid scheme. Start with heavier-weight/lower-rep set and progress to lower-weight/high-rep set. There are also more complicated double pyramid and flat pyramidloading patterns.
Variation #5 Tempo & Tension Manipulation
By simply changing the tempo , it makes a lot of difference in the time under tension (TUT) on your muscles. Tempo (rep speed) refers to how quickly you lift the weight (concentric or "positive" phase) and lower the weight (eccentric or "negative" phase).
The 3-point tempo prescription of 2-0-1 means that you take 2 seconds to lower the weight, zero second pause at the bottom (stretch), and take one second to lift the weight. A more complicated 4-point tempo prescription adds the 4th digit for the time to hold (contracted) at the top of lifting.
For example, a "3-0-2" tempo prescription on the original straight set routine would make a huge impact on how you feel on the muscles and muscle growth. You'll probably start to feel that kind of unbearable muscle soreness by the 8th rep. You're struggling through the last two reps. That's the difference!
Variation #6 Anabolic/Anaerobic Conditioning
By reducing the rest interval between sets (say from 1 minute to 45 seconds), you'll be able to improve your anabolic conditioning and anaerobic fitness. You only rest till you're "almost" recovered and go for the next set. You don't wait around for 3 to 5 minutes till fully recovered.
Watch out for this routine as it's very taxing to your mind and body. You probably have to reduce the weights, too. So check out your ego.
One extreme example of this variation is modified Olympic Power Training Routine . Anaerobic conditioning and performance is achieved by training and pushing VO2 max and lactic acid or lactate threshold .
Variation #7 Periodization
I covered this topic before about periodizing your training program . After a few weeks of dedicated and consistent training, you've gained some muscles, become stronger, and are able to lift heavier or more reps. That's, you're adapted to the workout routine. You need new stimulus to continue to build strength and grow muscles by progressive overloading .
Why not try 3 sets x 12 reps at 45-second rest interval or 4 sets x 8 reps at 90-second rest interval, even on the same weights and exercise combination?
Get in the Program and Stay on It
Aren't you having enough yet? The list of variations can go on if you start to add more or different exercises to work on chest muscles. There are also other training methods such as tri-set, giant set, drop set, forced rep, super slow rep, "negative" focused rep, etc. You see, there are a lot more variations available for changing up your weight training routine than you can imagine. You'll never be bored with weight training.
One mistake made by many beginners is that they change their workout routine too often. Some keep changing their programs or routines in every workout or evey week. They try all sorts of fancy body part split routines they can find in the books, body building magazines or from their gym buddies.
No Program Hopping
You have to stay on and complete one program for a prescribed period, be it 3, 6 or 8 weeks. Do not try a different variation in every workout; otherwise there is no accumulated, consistent and positive training effect on the muscular, neurological and hormonal levels. It also needs to be designed and integrated into the longer training macrocycle as periodization .
Each variation has its purpose and effect. Define your training goal first. Pick one variation of your current workout routine and stay on it for at least three weeks. It may help you break your training plateau. You may see new strength gain and muscle growth in no