Building muscle is notoriously difficult, and anybody who tells you otherwise is either blessed with god-like genetics, or they’re talking complete nonsense. To build muscle, you need a great deal of patience, you need knowledge, you need self control, and of course, you need the will to succeed. If however, you thought that building muscle was simply a case of drinking a protein shake here and there, and curling a few dumbbells, you are in for a shock. Talking of shocks, if you’re muscle growth has reached a plateau, here are 5 muscle shocking methods you may wish to consider.
GVT, or German Volume Training, is a hugely popular training principle that places an emphasis on high volume training. More often than not, you will select two exercises, often for two muscle groups, and you will perform ten sets of ten reps with the exact same weight. To get a rough idea of the weight, aim for around 60% of your total 1 rep max. At first it will feel easy, perhaps even too easy, but by the time you reach your sixth or seventh set, you should quickly begin to feel the burn.
Pyramiding is another fantastic way of shocking the muscles, whilst keeping things fresh in the process. With pyramiding, you basically begin with a lighter weight and perform a higher number of reps, and then for your next set you will go slightly heavier, and perform less reps. You then repeat this process until you have typically performed 3 – 5 working sets. You can however, begin with a heavy weight and low reps, and do things in the reverse. Some even pyramid down and then back up again.
Running the rack
Running the rack is a term used by bodybuilders to basically describe the process of working your way up or down the dumbbell rack, with a particular exercise. Say for example, you begin with dumbbell lateral raises, you will choose the heaviest weight on the rack you can manage, for your chosen amount of reps, and as soon as you finish, you will move on to a lighter set, and repeat until you have made your way down the rack, to the lightest set of dumbbells available. Running the rack is fantastic for getting an impressive muscle pump, plus it is a great way of mixing up your training and shocking your muscles into new growth. The key is to move from one set of dumbbells to the next, with very little rest in between sets.
In terms of hypertrophy via shocking the muscles, you simply cannot go wrong with negative reps. Sometimes known as eccentric training, this process actually lengthens the muscle and pushes it further past the point of failure. So, as an example, when bench pressing, once the barbell has been un-racked, when you lower it down to your chest, this is the negative aspect of the lift, and it lengthens and stretches your pec muscles. Rather than lowering it quickly however, you should lower the bar very slowly, as if you are trying to prevent it from touching your chest at all. When you reach the bottom, you hold for a second, and then press the bar before repeating as necessary.
Finally, if you’re looking for a fun and relatively simple way of shocking your muscles now and again, make sure you include drop sets in your routine. Drop sets are when you will finish a final working set on a certain exercise, and will then reduce the weight and perform X amount of reps, before reducing the weight, performing the same amount of reps again, and so on. The key is to have virtually no rest between each drop set. If done correctly, you can fully exhaust your muscles and force vast quantities of oxygenated blood into them in the process, creating impressive muscle pumps.