So when we are looking at resistance training, we should always be looking at progressively overloading ourselves. What this means is being able to increase the intensity over time by ensuring that we continue to put additional stresses on our bodies as they adapt tot the training program.
Now the 1st thing people go to when looking at increasing intensity is to add some weight. Which is fine, but maybe this shouldn't always be the 1st thing to jump to.
Lets take a look at how we can increase the intensity without adding any additional weight.
I would say the next step would be to look at the amount of reps.
A rep is how many times you perform the movement in 1 stage (set)
As an example if you are squatting with 40kg for a set of 8 reps you could increase that number to 10 reps.
Adding reps instead of weight is a brilliant way of increasing your confidence in the movement before adding additional weight.
We already know that you can comfortably move this weight around so adding in a couple more reps may be just the trick you need.
If ever you are unsure about adding additional weight, please ensure that you have a spotter with you to assist.
Moving on from adding additional reps we can then look at the tempo of the reps.
Now every exercise can be split into 4 parts.
1- Concentric - This is the movement of the exercise where the muscles we are working are contracting to help us reach the end point.
2- The "end point" This is actually just half way but is called the end point as it is the furthest point that we can move the weight in the exercise.
3- Eccentric - This is the 2nd movement part of the exercise and is when we start to use our muscles to return the weight to the start point. Slowly releasing the tension on the already contracted muscles.
4- Start/End - This is the point where we have finished the rep and have returned to the neutral point.
Now we know this, how can we put this into work?
If ever you have seen a workout tempo it would look a little something like this:
These number represent the amount of time spent during each section.
a "0" represents no time at all and should never be seen on step 1 or 3.
The higher the number the slower the movement should be. Having a slower movement will mean that the time that the muscle spends under full tension is increased, therefor increasing the intensity of the workout.
The last real big way of increasing intensity is to increase the ROM (Range of Motion)
The ROM is basically a measure of how far the body travels through 1 set.
As an easy example I will use the squat to explain.
Lets say that your squats are hitting good depth, quads parallel to the floor. You then have a couple of options.
Option 1 is to lower your depth in the squat to what is known as "ass to grass". Now this isn't always possible, depending on the persons mobility.
So there is another way...
Option 2 is to increase the movement of the rep by adding in another half rep.
What I mean by this is to hit your lowest depth in the squat then start to return back to the start point, but half way up you stop, pause and return back down to your full squat.
All these options of increasing the intensity are done without the use of extra weight.
Give these ago.