One of the ways for us to look at progression in our training sessions is to change the intensity. Intensity refers typically to how challenging we find an exercise. However, there are a number of ways that we can change up the intensity in the gym.
The first is that we can increase the weight. Increasing the weight is likely to make the muscles work harder to produce more force in order to lift the weight.
We might also look at implementing a superset or a mini circuit. This is where we take two or three exercises or sometimes up to four exercises and perform them one after the other without any rest in between. Typically a superset might be performed on opposing muscles (like chest and back), or for more advanced individuals might be used on a single body part.
Following on from this we could also perform a drop set. A drop set is performed when we complete a certain number of repetitions with a weight on any given exercise, and then decrease the weight slightly and perform more repetitions without any rest time.
Another way to increase intensity in the gym is to perform a pre or post exhaust. What this means is we take an exercise which isolates a specific muscle (for example, a cable fly) and then straight after take a compound exercise (like the bench press) to fatigue the muscles.
The final method we will look at when looking to change intensity is to change the tempo of a given exercise. To change the tempo of an exercise, we might perform the movement with a slow contraction and a slow stretch, or we might perform a small hold (2 – 3s) by squeezing the muscle at the end of the movement.
Why not try incorporating some of these great techniques a try in your next workout and see how you find them?