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Advanced workout methods

Advanced workout methods
In this advanced workout methods article, I’ll be covering some of the ways in which you can push that little bit harder in your workout routines. If you are looking for that extra bit of edge and feel you are at a level where you could benefit from extra stimulus then this article can help.

For those experienced trainers who want to see if they can push for more, then there are many advanced training methods that can be employed. I have to say that in my opinion many of the following methods are too much for a natural trainer and/or the more mature trainer in most circumstances. Most of these are more suited to the genetically gifted or those that take performance enhancing substances, who can push much harder and recover quicker. However sometimes when you hit a plateau you may want to either have a rest or sometimes just try pushing a little harder. Here I’m simply just going to introduce you to and list with a very brief description some of those more popular advanced techniques that you may like to lookup if you feel the need.

Actually I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out, that while you may see some large bodybuilders and professional athletes on Youtube or in magazines working their butts off to extreme intensities, it must be stressed that a natural average trainer must train in a completely different manner in order to stimulate growth and also be able to recover. Don’t be tempted to watch them train and copy their workouts and intensities, it will just run you into the ground and you will see no results or end up with an injury or making yourself ill.

Here are some popular advanced workout methods


Sometimes a muscle can feel hard to target and with some multi-joint exercises it doesn’t really feel like you are working the targeted muscle. This is where pre-exhausting a muscle comes in. By using an isolation exercise that you can feel, you can target a muscle first, so you can pre-exhaust it before moving onto the compound exercise to hit it with a heavier weight to stimulate more strength gains and muscle building.


This is where you lift a weight from the start position to the halfway point and then pause and return to the start and repeat for 7 reps. The next 7 reps will be from the halfway point to the finish point. Finally you then do 7 full range reps.

Assisted reps (forced reps)

Essentially this is where you reach failure on your last rep of an exercise and then instead of stopping there, a workout partner then helps you to complete several more reps. (very advanced and not recommended for most trainers).

Compound sets

This is where you do two exercises back to back for the same muscle group without resting between the two exercises.

Staggered/trisets/giant sets

This is where you work several muscles one after the other. i.e. you may work your back, move onto your calves then maybe another muscle before returning to do your back again. (This method is however great for HIIT/circuit style training).

Descending Sets (drop sets)

Here you use a weight for a set, then on your next set you reduce the weight and do the same reps and so forth. Each set is taken until momentary failure.


Here you start the exercise with a heavy weight in what is usually the finished (fully extended) position. You then slowly lower the weight down to what would normally be the start position. However you then have a workout partner assist you with returning the weight to the top again before doing your next negative rep. You would normally use a much heavier weight than on a full range of motion rep, hence the additional stress placed on the muscle.


Used for developing speed and explosive power. The basis for this method is to do an exercise from a stretch to contraction as fast as possible, such as jumping up from a squat position or pushing your upper body off the ground with a push up and landing back on your hands, lowering your body back to the ground before repeating.

Pyramids sets

Here you take a weight you can do for say 10 reps to failure, your next set may be 8 reps, then 6 reps, then 4 reps.

Rest Pause

Here you take a heavier than normal weight and do a few reps with it. You then rest a few seconds (can be anywhere between 10-45 seconds), then do a few more reps, rest, then do more reps. These are essentially like mini sets within one set.

 A few more ways to add a change to your training

The following advanced methods are useful for a number of reasons and I’ve added them here for you to consider for those reasons mentioned in their description.


This is essentially static contractions, where your muscle exerts its effort against an immovable object with the muscle not changing its length. This is a great way of stimulating a muscle when you are unable to lift a weight normally for whatever reason. Just as a side note, the lifting of a weight or your body where the muscle contracts is a concentric contractions and the lengthening of the muscle is an eccentric contraction.


Becoming ever more popular, calisthenics is using your own body weight to build muscle, strength and endurance. It can also help with burning body fat and improve flexibility and mobility. You do not require equipment for basic exercises like press ups, handstand presses, dips, squats, lunges and abs exercises and minimal equipment for pull ups/chins.


Some of these methods are a lot for a natural trainer to recover from, so be careful in their use. Pre-exhausting, compound sets and calisthenics are certainly worth a look at for most people looking to add that little bit of extra zing to their workouts. While the others need to be considered carefully before being applied or just used for a very short period and possibly just a couple of workouts here and there. As a side not, training to failure isn’t for everyone, and not recommended for the casual or even regular semi serious lifter.