Use intensity techniques. These are all ways of training past the point of failure. We don’t recommend doing them all at once or on every set, but once you’ve put in your time becoming fundamentally sound and strong in a movement, they can definitely help you take it to the next level.
- Forced reps: As you reach muscle failure, your partner steps in and provides with just enough assistance to keep the weight moving for another 2-3 reps.
- Dropsets: Once you reach muscle failure, quickly reduce the poundage by about 25 percent, and immediately continue on with the set to a second point of muscle failure.
- Negatives: Instead of lifting a weight, lower it slowly for 3-5 seconds. Your partner then lifts the weight back to the start position. This works because you’re stronger lowering a weight than lifting it.
Use supplements that boost training quality. Certain supplements have well-documented mass-building benefits, often because they help you train harder and delay fatigue. Here are four rock-solid choices:
- Creatine has been shown to boost strength and muscle mass when used in combination with strength training.
- Caffeine can delay fatigue during all types of training.
- Branched-chain amino acids have been shown to help speed up recovery after a tough workout.
- Whey protein should be a staple of your supplement stack as well, as it’s been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and lead to greater increases in muscle mass and strength.
Time your nutrient intake. When building muscle is the goal, the meals before and after your workout are the most important. Make sure both have adequate protein, but also carbs, which are going to help you power through an intense workout and jump-start the recovery process. Fats are less important at this meal, so focus on them at other times of day.