Insane Gains: 53 Ways To Improve Your Workout Intensity

M&S Writers
Written By: M&S Writers
January 4th, 2014
Updated: June 13th, 2020
Categories: Articles Training
87.6K Reads
Kick your workouts up a notch and increase your muscle gains with these 53 tips, advanced training techniques and plateau busters that are proven winners.

Want to kick your training in the back end? Here are 53 potent and fresh ways to increase your training intensity and potential gains. Give them a try and let us know which of these methods you liked the best.

#1 - Try paused squats instead of regular squats. Sink into the hole, count one-thousand-one and then complete each rep.

#2 - Try a burn out set after the hard work has been done. Pick a weight you can do about 20 reps with, and try to get to 40-50 total reps using rest-pause methods.

#3 - At the end of a set of curls, try using a little English (cheap reps) to squeeze out that last little bit of intensity.

#4 - Get crazy and try the German Volume Training protocol of 10 sets x 10 reps with only 60-90 seconds of rest between sets.

#5 - Extend a set by quickly dropping the weight by 20% and hammering out a few more reps.

#6 - Destroy your traps with power shrug hell.

#7 - Put together 3 kick ass playlists on your iPod to help keep your motivation high while also giving yourself some variety.

#8 - Pause rep your bench press sets. Bring the bar to your chest, count one-thousand-one, and press.

#9 - Do a 30 minute blast. Using a weight that is 70% of your one rep max for an exercise, do as many reps as possible within a 30 minute time frame. Rest as needed, but try to keep the pace brisk. 

Barbell Curls

#10 - Have a long weekend without much to do? Try an old school specialization blast. Every hour on the hour go perform 2-3 sets x 8-10 reps. Use an exercise that requires a minimal warm up ritual. Keep rest periods between sets brisk, and make sure to eat plenty of food.

#11 - Take your abdominal training and core strength to the next level with the use of planks and ab wheel rollouts.

#12 - Work each muscle group and/or lift in a myriad of rep ranges each week, from as low as 5 reps per set to 15-20 reps per set, or even higher.

#13 - Swap in snatch grip deadlifts. They are a potent deadlift variation and are a must try.

#14 - Crush your bicep workouts by supersetting chin ups (palms toward face) for as many reps as possible with standing dumbbell curls or EZ bar curls.

#15 - Overload your bench press with the use of a Slingshot, Ram or similar bench press assistance device.

#16 - Add chains to your deadlifts to make lockouts more difficult.

#17 - Use your hips. Focus on driving your hips forward to complete both squat and deadlift reps.

#18 - Finish each set of skullcrushers with a 20-30 rep pump set of close grip bench presses using the same weight.

#19 - Improve your grip strength by performing static barbell holds in a squat rack. Set the pins high so that the barbell doesn't drop far if it slips, and try to perform 3 sets of static holds with heavy weight of 30-60 seconds each.

#20 - Pick a deadlift weight between 70-80% of your one rep max and try to do as many quality singles as possible within a 10 minute time period. Rest only long enough between reps to regain your senses, breath, and ability to perform a rep using good form.

#21 - Train your hamstrings, back and triceps hard. You can never have enough strength and size in these muscle groups.

#22 - Stop guessing at how much protein you're eating per day. Set a minimum intake level and make it happen.

#23 - Try a 10 minute rest-pause set of leg presses. Load up a weight you could perform 20-30 reps with and go to town.

#24 - Give one and one half reps a try. Alternate between a full rep for an exercise, then a 1/2 rep.

#25 - Try a 6 set chest finisher, alternating between 10 rep sets of dumbbell flyes and 10 rep sets of cable crossovers. Rest only 15 seconds between each of these sets.

Bench Press

#26 - Need a fun change up? Try cluster set training.

#27 - Giant sets are a crazy-intense way of amping up your workouts. They typically involve 4 exercises for a given body part performed with minimal rest between sets.

#28 - Stubborn calves? Try standing barbell calf raises (holding the bar in front of you) using 8 rep sets. Keep adding weight when you can, making those calves brutally strong.

#29 - Try the 28 method - 7 regular reps, 7 upper half reps, 7 bottom half reps, rest slightly and drop weight from the bar and perform 7 slow reps.

#30 - Try "21s" on your barbell curls.

#31 - Blast your legs with the one hour quadzilla leg destruction workout.

#32 - Set aside the typical 8-12 rep sets on one arm dumbbell rows and hammer out 2 sets of 30-40 reps per set.

#33 - Try Dorian Yates' style all out, one set per exercise training.

#34 - Join a real gym; a hardcore, old school barbell gym where you can use chalk and deadlift.

#35 - Give non-linear periodization a try using the popular Density and Strength training approach. You train rest-pause style one week, heavy, low rep sets the next.

#36 - Try using forms of cardio that involve resistance, such as sled pulls, tire flips, walking with a weighted vest, kettlebell swings, etc.

#37 - Boost your pulling power and traps strength with the highly potent combination exercise of low rack pulls and power shrugs.

#38 - After bench presses, blast your chest and triceps with 5 sets of 20 reps on flat bench or incline dumbbell bench presses.

#39 - Try sets of alternating intensity. For example, switch between 3-5 rep sets of heavy benches, and 8-10 rep sets of lighter bench presses.

Cable Curls

#40 - Insert 20 rep squats into your routine for at least 8-12 weeks.

#41 - In you are using a moderate volume full body workout switch to a higher volume split, or vice versa.

#42 - Attack each week with the mentality that you are going to make every body part from head to toe as strong as possible.

#43 - Can't do pull ups but feel lat pull downs aren't cutting it? Add inverted rows into your training routine.

#44 - Try old school variable split training.

#45 - Stop letting a weak grip hinder your back training. You are in the gym to destroy your back, not your grip. Use straps or Versa Gripps if you have to. If your grip is a concern, add in grip training work.

#46 - Using heavy, low rep sets? After they are done drop the weight by 10% and perform a series of triple or 5 rep sets.

#47 - Train like a bodybuilder from the 1950s, 1970s or 1990s.

#48 - What's the best biceps builder? Don't rule out chin ups. They are a great choice.

#49 - Stop wasting sets. Maximize every set by pushing it for as many reps as possible, stopping each set when you think you might fail on the next rep.

#50 - Give the 10 set x 3 rep protocol a try for squats, bench press and deadlifts. Go heavy, and add weight when you can.

#51 - When building up to heavy singles, doubles or triples, move up using 10% single rep jumps.

#52 - Stop avoiding the challenging exercises. Choose the easy route and your body will reflect that choice. 

#53 - Have a lagging body part or lift? Try an 8-12 week specialization program.

2 Comments
yanivb
Posted on: Sat, 01/11/2014 - 09:14

what is little english or chip reps for curls(3#)?

J
Posted on: Sun, 10/26/2014 - 13:38

Creative way to say cheat without saying cheat! It's all good and using " a little English" is done everyday in gyms everywhere.