Posts Tagged ‘Intensity techniques’

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about using intensity techniques to boost your workout.  In this blog, I’m going to share with you a leg workout that I did this week incorporating a couple of these techniques.  This is just one example of how I design my workouts.  I am a huge fan of changing things up:  not only does this keep me motivated, but it definitely keeps me from getting bored.  I like to train legs twice per week focusing on Quads/Calves on one day and then Glutes/Hamstrings the other.  This way I feel that I can hit each part with enough intensity.  Ok, so here is a page straight from my workout journal (Quads/Calves) from yesterday morning:


  • Leg Extension warm-ups:  2-3 sets of 15 reps with a light to moderate weight to get the blood flowing
  • Front Squats (FULL range of motion):  2 x 12 reps (warm-up); 2 x 10; 1 x 8 (all done as straight sets) – then on my last “set” I did a drop-set immediately followed by 2 rest-pause periods of 10 secs:  so…1 x 8 (drop), 1 x 10 (rest), 1 x 10 (rest) 1 x 10
  • SUPERSET:  Leg Press and Calf Press (1 x 20, then 5 x 10 of each exercise):  I also concentrated on the negative/eccentric phase with the leg press, I made sure to “explode” the weight up under control and then slowly lower until my knees hit my chest
  • SUPERSET:  Hack Squat (close stance) and Standing Calf Raise (toes forward, in, out, forward) 4 x 15 of each exercise
  • Split Squat:  Straight sets:  4 x 15 each leg holding a weight plate
  • Leg Extension finisher:  (FST-7 style):  7 sets of 10 with only a 20 sec rest between sets

So, during just this workout I used straight sets, drop-sets, rest-pause, supersets, negatives, and FST-7.  The combinations are endless so use your imagination when planning workouts.  This took me about 60 minutes to complete.  To give me the boost and recovery I need for a workout like this, I am using Top Secret Nutrition’s new Pump Igniter pre-workout, either the BCAA Hyperblend or Hyperblend Energy intra-workout, and a shot of Creavar after.

I am definitely feeling the effects already…can’t wait to see how these legs feel tomorrow!  Now, where did I put that foam roller?

While it’s good to be consistent with your training, it’s also necessary to shake things up from time to time to continue to progress.  Some of the ways you can do this are by adding a few minor changes to the way you train.  To progress, you need to be challenged.  In order to challenge yourself, you can add some intensity techniques to your workout:

1.  Use Supersets, Compound Sets, Tri-sets or Giant sets:  Performing two or more exercises back to back with no rest.  You can either do opposing muscle groups (i.e. biceps/triceps) or the same muscle group (i.e. exercises for just the biceps).  Not only can this shorten your workout, but it can increase your calorie burn because your heart-rate remains elevated for a longer period of time.

2.  High Intensity Training:  This is where you will perform just one working set to failure.  Always complete 1-2 warm-up sets before employing this technique.  You can use this technique if you’re really short on time or you can pick one or 2 exercises toward the end of your workout and really get that “burn”.

3.  Drop Sets:  This one is a personal favorite of mine.  Complete an exercise using your normal weight (you can either do a specified number of reps or go until failure), lower the amount of weight you’re using and then continue with the set without rest.  You can do a single drop, double drop, triple drop, etc.  This is a great one to do on the last set of any exercise.

4.  Reverse Sets:  It’s common to perform, say, 4 sets of 8 reps; but instead, switch it up, go much heavier and perform 8 sets of 4 reps.  This works great when you’re trying to increase the amount of weight you’re lifting for a particular exercise.

5.  Don’t Count Your Reps, Time Them!  A typical set will last maybe 10-20 seconds with a common rep scheme.  Utilizing the principle of time under tension (TUT), time your set instead.  Pick a slightly lighter weight (one you think you can do for around 25-30 reps) but continue the exercise for 45-90 seconds.

6.  Tabata:  Best performed with larger compound movements like squats, deadlifts, etc.  You will be performing the set for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat for a total of 8 sets or 4 minutes.

7.  Negatives:  This is where you will be focusing on slowing down the lowering phase of the exercise.  Make sure the negative portion lasts for at least a count of 6.

8.  Forced Reps or Partial Reps:  This will require the help of a spotter; notice I said “help” – your spotter should only have to get you past the sticking point during the last few reps, not lifting the weight for you.  This will allow you to complete a few more reps than you would have been able to do on your own.  If you don’t have a spotter available, do partial reps:  complete as many full reps as you can and then when you are too fatigued to complete any more reps with good form, do a few reps in as much range of motion as you can at the end.

9.  FST-7:  Created by Hany Rambod, Fascia Stretch Training is done on the last exercise for the target bodypart.  7 sets will be completed for this last exercise with a rest time of 30-45 seconds.  This will really get the blood flowing!  If you don’t get a good “pump” from this, you did something wrong!

10.  21’s:  During this technique, you will be doing a total of 21 reps in the set:  7 reps in the lower half of the exercise, 7 reps in the upper half of the exercise, and then 7 reps performing the full range of motion of the exercise.  Again, here you will most likely need to lower the amount of weight you would typically use for a regular set.

Use these techniques to add some variety to your workouts or push you through a plateau.  Just don’t forget to make sure that you have the proper fuel and recovery (nutrition, sleep, and supplements).  I can’t wait to try adding the new pre-workout from Top Secret Nutrition (Pump Igniter)!  You can check it out here:

Remember that you can make your workout your own by adding one or more of these techniques or even adding them together (i.e. doing supersets with a drop set on the last set of each exercise).  Also remember that they should make your workout quite intense, so don’t abuse them either!