If you want to fast forward your growth then these advanced brutal workout strategies are for you!
After you’ve been training for a while it’s important to ramp up your training methods; if you don’t, muscle growth will simply plateau or slow down to a tediously slow rate!
But fear not, there are a bunch of different training methods I’ll run through in this article which will help take your training to the next level, tried and tested on 100s of members in the 20 Week Scientific Mass plan!
Give each one of these a go and then stick with one for 2-4 weeks before changing. You can apply all of these techniques to every muscle group for rapid growth.
Ready to grow? Let’s go!
Advanced Workout 1: 60 Second Metabolic Sets
While lifting heavy for 5-10 reps is great and should make up a big part of your workouts, few people utilize or understand the importance of time under tension.
Time under tension, or time under load, is one of the key ways that you can stimulate new muscle growth. By extending your time under tensions to between 60 – 90 seconds you can initiate a series of cellular processes which will stimulate key hormones, muscle protein synthesis and cell swelling.
Even if you think you are already doing some higher rep metabolic work, chances are these sets don’t extend past the 45 second mark. For most people, each rep will last a maximum of 3 seconds even if you’re trying to control the weight and increase time under tension this rarely happens; therefore, even a 15 rep set at 2-3 seconds per rep, will only equal 30-45 seconds of time under tension.
These sets work extremely well as instead of counting reps or rep speed you just set a timer for 60 seconds. This forces you to have a complete 60 seconds under tension whether you slow each rep down and perform 15 reps or you keep a normal rep speed and end up doing 20+ reps. It’s going to hurt, it’s going to burn but it’s also going to cause major growth.
In your next gym session give this a go after you’ve completed 1 or 2 heavy exercises to start. Pick an exercise that you can lock into and just keep driving until the 60 second mark is up. For example, a hack squat or a leg press is a better suited exercise than a squat in this case, as you can be locked in place and just continually crank without fear of injury.
In addition, exercises such as machine chest press or some form of machine row will be superior to exercises such as a bench press where you may fear the bar getting stuck on the chest or bent over row where other supporting muscles such as your lower back may fatigue first.
To complete this, set a timer at 65 seconds hit start and then get to work- don’t stop until the 60 second mark is up. You’ll probably have to pick a weight 20%-30% less than your ten rep max, maybe even more depending on your muscular endurance and muscle fiber type.
Perform around 3 sets with around a 90 second rest period. As you are resting for 90 seconds it will get progressively tougher and you’ll probably have to drop the weight again for the 3rd set.
Advanced Workout 2: Metabolic Clusters 15+5+5+5
This variation is similar to a cluster set on steroids!!
Rather than going heavy and performing a few reps, resting and repeating this process a few more times, you’ll perform a whole 15 rep set followed by a quick rest followed by 3 mini sets of 5 reps. This will give you a 30 rep set total.
Similar to above this is going to dramatically increase time under tension; however, the shorter rest periods in between will allow you to lift slightly heavier and get a nice burn of heavy weights with high reps and high amounts of metabolic stress.
To perform this, pick a weight that you can normally lift for around 20 reps. Complete the first 15 reps, take a 15 second rest and then perform 5 more reps, rest again for 15 seconds, hit 5 more reps and then take a final 15 seconds rest before performing your last 5 reps. After you’ve finished this set, take around a two minute rest before hitting out two more sets.
Like above, I recommend that you pick an exercise that you are fairly safe in and locked down so you can really just focus on output.
Advanced Workout 3: Giant Sets
Giant sets are one of my favorite advanced training techniques for rapid fat loss and metabolic stress, helping the members of the 20 Week Scientific Mass grow muscle while even losing fat!
They work particularly well on muscle groups such as the legs and back as they are larger muscles and cross over more than one joint. This allows them to continually push through several sets back-to-back and still get a good amount of output, unlike biceps or a smaller muscle that may be extremely fatigued after just one exercise.
Try this on legs or back. Pick four exercises and get to work with 15 seconds rest between each exercise. For rep ranges choose around 10-15 rep range and make sure again that the tempo is nice and controlled such as a 3 second lower and a 1-2 second concentric push or pull. Here’s an example of a giant set for legs:
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Hack squats
- Walking lunges
Here’s a giant set example for back:
- Neutral Grip Pull Ups
- Upright Horizontal Cable Row
- Barbell Bent Over Row
- Straight Arm Dual Rope Cable Pull Down
As above, you’re probably going to have to drop the weight around 20% compared to what you normally lift for one set. After you’ve done the full set giant set, rest for 3 minutes and then perform 3 or 4 more. If you’re short for time, you can simply perform 4 to 5 rounds of this giant set and still get a hard, high volume workout in less than 30 minutes. If you’ve got longer, you can perform one or two heavy strength based exercises first, followed by 3-4 rounds of the giant sets to focus more on metabolic stress and higher rep work.
Advanced Workout 4: Intra Set Stretching
Intra set stretching is one of my favorite advanced training techniques that I’ve used successfully with lots of clients and within the 20 Week Scientific Mass.
Although the data is only just emerging on intra set stretching, the mechanisms make a lot of sense and it has been used successfully in animal models and in practice by top bodybuilders for several years.
To maximize intra set stretching you want to pick an exercise which places your muscle group in a fully lengthened position.
When performing intra set stretching you’ll perform a normal fairly high rep set such as an overhead tricep extension for 10-15 reps. As soon as you’ve finished, rather than resting you will hold the exercise in the lengthened position and let the load stretch your muscles for 30 seconds.
While the muscle is being stretched you want to constantly focus on driving, which will keep the muscle contracted and remove the load on the joints (which would defeat the purpose of the exercise and not be good for joint health).
Perform around 3-4 sets of this with around 60 seconds rest in between each set. This is a great finisher, I recommend you give it a try at the end of your workout for an intense and cell swelling-like effect.
Here are a few exercises that I have found work best for intra set stretching for each muscle group:
- Triceps: Overhead Rope, Cable Tricep Extension
- Bicep: Incline Dumbbell Supinated Curls
- Chest: Cable Flys, Dumbbell Flys
- Back: Lat Pull Down or Horizontal Cable Row
- Legs: Leg Extensions or Leg Press. Perform the normal set and then sit in a kneeling position and lean back to stretch out the quads.
- Calves: Machine loaded or leg press calf raises followed by holding 80% of the way down.
- Hamstrings: Hamstring curls followed by holding at the top of the hamstring cable, that way the leg is fully lengthened.
- Shoulders: Dumbbell Lat raise or Dumbbell overhead shoulder press, followed by holding at the bottom of the dumbbell
- Shoulder Press: With the wrist and dumbbell slightly outside the elbow
Advanced Workout 5: Same Muscle Super Sets
While people normally associate super sets with pairing opposing muscles, a more advanced technique is to actually form a super set (i.e. two exercises back-to-back without rest on the same muscle group).
This works well when you use two different exercises to target opposing areas of the muscle and strength curve. An example of this is completing two leg exercises, one being quad focused working hip extensions and the other focusing on parts of the quad that connect down into the knee and overload knee flexion.
A good example of this is a leg press with your feet placed high on the plate so that you’re focusing more on flexion on the hip rather than the knee joint. Following this, you could go straight to seated leg curls which lock you down and really overload the VMO and the knee flexor muscles.
Another good way to use this paired muscle super set is for muscles that you want to overload with different movements. For example, using the lats or back you could start with an exercise such as a horizontal row which really overloads the shoulder position and then go straight into an exercise such as a straight arm pull down where you are leaning over and overloading the lengthened position.
To perform each exercise, perform exercise 1 and then take 10-15 second rest while moving to the next machine and go straight into this exercise. After this take a 60-120 second rest and then repeat for 3 or 4 sets.
Of course, as with the other advanced techniques, performance will be slightly decreased when compared with doing a straight set, therefore, for the second set, you’ll probably need to drop the weight by 20% compared to what you would regularly use.
Rep ranges can vary, the first exercise can be quite heavy as you are still fresh, possibly anywhere from the 6-12 rep range and then you can make the second set more metabolic working a 12-20 rep range.
Here are some more examples:
- Biceps: Start with an EZ bar spider curl, leaning face down on an incline bench which overloads the top / shortened position. Then move into an incline DB curl which overloads the opposite part of the strength curve i.e. the lower or lengthened part, while also causing large amounts of muscle damage from the weighted stretch!
- Triceps: Start with a lying dumbbell tricep extension where you are focusing on driving the hands back over the head as you extend up, again overloading the shortened position. Follow with an overhead dual row cable tricep extension. By focusing on a full stretch at the bottom, it can really overload or lengthen the stretch position and again, cause large amounts of muscle damage!
- Chest: Start with a compound move such as DB press or a Bench press followed by a cable or dumbbell fly.
- Hamstrings: Start with a stiff leg deadlift which overloads the stretched position. Follow this with a lying leg curl which overloads the shortened position.
- Shoulder: Start with an overhead DB shoulder press that overloads the middle and lengthened part and then move into a DB lateral raise which again overloads the shortened position.
Time to Grow
If you really want to turn up the growth then these advanced workout strategies are for you!
If you’ve been hitting the iron for some time, there’s no way you will grow like you did at the start. If your gains are slowing then you must employ more advanced workout, diet, calorie cycling and supplement protocols.
If you want to get 25 highly advanced and scientifically proven workouts which incorporate all these advanced methods and many more, then take a look at 20 Week Scientific Mass.
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