Productivity is a driving force in the world of weight training and building muscle. Each workout session must be geared towards achieving something great which in turn will accumulate into something magnificent. The overall effectiveness of your weight training depends on a few key factors which include but are not limited to sound nutrition, proper rest, correct supplementation, intensity and a training program that has scientifically and anecdotally proven to be superior in nature to other approaches (i.e. Max-OT). When these key factors are in place, and your efforts seem to be far greater than the reward, something has to change. Most people will change their diets or change their training style when all that is needed are a few minor tweaks to the program for progress to continue. Here are three of my favorite training tricks that should re-ignite the gains train for you and send you on your way to Gainsville.
Use the 2 1/2 Pound Plates
Any progress, whether big or small, is progress nonetheless. The smallest improvements in strength gains and ultimately muscle gains are what you should be after if you’re in this game for the long haul. It is for this reason that I encourage you to make use of the loneliest plate of them all at the gym; the 2 1/2 pounder. This little guy often gets overlooked for the bigger, more ego driven heavier plates such as the 45’s when people start loading up the bar. Rather than doing that, why not put one of these little plates in between all of those big plates when you’re putting on the weight as it will add more resistance to your lifts but not so much so that it will defeat you rather than help you.
Let’s say you’re doing leg presses, and you’ve been stuck at 10 plates per side for a couple of weeks now, and you can’t seem to get any stronger. This road block may be a by-product of your physical capabilities, or it could be a mental thing, either way, adding on another plate just isn’t happening for you. This is where the less daunting, less intimidating 2 1/2 pounders come into play. With 10 45’s per side you can add 8, 2 1/2 pound plates in between each plate per side upping your total of weight used by 40lbs! That’s a lot using only a little plate and will make all the difference in the world for you.
Add in Variable Resistance to Your Weight Training
Now I’ve written about using variable resistance as a tool in your training before, and I truly believe this strategy can help you break through plateaus and add to your overall efforts in the gym. Moving a weight from point A to point B is how we overload our body to induce hypertrophy, but moving a weight from point A to point B that constantly changes as we progress through the set adds a little more stress and subsequent intensity to our workouts.
A very simple approach for adding variable resistance to your training is by using resistance bands on your lifts. One of my favorite chest exercises is the incline hammer press. I’m able to use a lot of weight on this lift, and I really feel it in the upper pecs. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask) I’m at a point now where I can max out the machine with 45lb plates leaving me no room to add more weight. This is where those resistance bands come into play.
By looping one end of the band around the bar where the weights go and the other end around the post where you would replace your weights, you create a situation where when the weights are pushed up, the slack of the band is picked up, and as you straighten your arms at the top of the movement, the band has to stretch as well which is where you get your added resistance.
As you get stronger, all you have to do is switch to stronger bands never having to abandon an exercise you really enjoy due to your gains in strength.
Let Your Training Partner Picks the Weight
This may seem like an odd approach to training, but in the past, this method of training has proven for me to be an unbelievably effective strategy. Quick story; the very first time I bench pressed 3 plates per side (315 pounds) I didn’t even know I had done so. My training partner at the time said he would get the bar ready for us for our heavy sets while I went to get a drink at the water fountain. Before I left he told me just to psych myself up on the way back, don’t even look at the weight, just get on the bench and let loose. So that’s exactly what I did.
Having been keeping track of my lifts and having trained with this guy for quite some time, I expected there to be 275 pounds on the bar which is what I had been working with lately and was trying to get more reps in at that weight. Anyhow, I got set, got a lift off and proceeded to do 5 reps with what I thought again was 275 pounds. I was happy with that because it was an extra rep for me at that weight. Low and behold my training partner starts laughing and congratulating me for what I had done which I appreciated until I saw what was on the bar. 3 plates was not even in my realm of thinking at that point but apparently only because I had mentally put that road block in place.
Had it not been for him loading up the bar with that weight I would never have known my true capabilities in the gym. This is why I highly suggest if you have a training partner that you can fully trust, allow them to set your weight for you and just worry about getting in the rep count you need to get. You’ll be surprised at just how strong you are when you eliminate the unconscious mental road blocks you have put in place for yourself.
There’s just one more very important tip, or strategy that I highly suggest you put into play for yourself if gains are on your list of priorities and getting the most out of your workouts is priority number one, and that’s supplementing with Beta-X.
With Beta-X, you will be able to push more and produce more work during each set once your body has become saturated with this crazy awesome supplement. Usually, when people stop a set, it’s because the good pain sets in and it’s too much for them to handle, well Beta-X will delay that process and allow you to complete more work during your working sets! “Forced reps in a bottle” is exactly what you’ll get and I make sure I have this product in my intra-workout shake every day I train. It has proven to be priceless for me and my training because I like to go real hard in my workouts and this product has allowed me to up my game even more so which has significantly added to the overall effectiveness of my workouts.
I can’t stress it enough to you that little tweaks to your current plans are all you need to bring about major changes in your progress. And by employing the strategies above, I think you will see a marked improvement in your training. Try them, see what happens and keep an open mind with this whole bodybuilding thing we do and remember; you’ll never grow if you always stay in your comfort zone. Happy training my friends!