Before you can go more hardcore, you have to open your mind and psych up to push yourself to new limits. Here are seven ways to get into hardcore hypertrophy heaven.
1. Drop-set bench dips
Support yourself between two benches, set parallel, hands on one, feet on the other. Start with four 25-pound (11kg) plates on your lap. Do as many reps as you can; each time remove a 25, and keep repping. On your last set you can use just your body weight and rep out. That will torch your triceps with a killer growth burn. As you improve at this exercise, increase the weight – go for four 35s (16 kg) and eventually four 45s (20 kg). When you get scary strong you can use as many plates as possible.
2. No weight to extreme weight in seconds.
Always perform this exercise with three spotters. When you squat, start with just the bar. Do one rep, then have a spotter on each side add a 45-pound plate. After you squat the 135 lbs (61 kg) for one rep, have the spotters add another 45 to each side. Now squat the 225 lbs (102 kg) for one rep. Keep adding 45s until you peak. If you’re less advanced, start off with just the bar, and have the spotters add 25- pound plates to each side for each rep.
This technique will take your training to new heights. You can also use it on the bench press. Raw-bench- press world-record holder, Eric Spoto would bench the bar and then have his spotters put on 135 (61), 225 (102), 315 (143), 405 (184), 500 (227) and 600lbs (272 kg). Then he’d go back down to 500, 405, 315, 225, 135 and the bar. Now, that’s a powerful bench workout!
3. How many pull-ups can you do in 10 minutes?
Many people do the standard four sets of 10 when it comes to pull-ups. To make it more intense, see how many you can do in 10 minutes. If you can do 100 pull- ups in 10 minutes, challenge yourself to see how fast you can do 100 pull- ups. If you’re a less experienced lifter, feel free to use a pull-up machine for some supported assistance. You shouldn’t perform this technique every single week, but if you’re up to the challenge, it’s good to try it every so often if you dare.
4. Partials-to-full-rep bench presses.
Get on a bench press, bring the bar down 25 per cent of the way, and press the weight up. Then bring down the weight halfway, and press it up. Then bring it down 75 per cent, and lift it again. Follow with a full rep. Depending on the weight, you should be able to do two to six of these stage reps — but always have a spotter. This tactic will help you overcome sticking points and shock new chest growth.
5. Antagonist supersets.
Take a pair of light dumbbells — I like 35s (16 kg) — and do incline dumbbell presses, five reps. Then immediately do five pull-ups. Go back and forth without stopping for 15 minutes. When you pass the 15-minute mark, take a 10-minute break. Then do flat-bench dumbbell presses with the same dumbbells supersetted with pull-ups for another 15 minutes. Make sure you maintain proper form and alignment. Adjust your time if necessary. Using these supersets, I eventually worked up to 574 reps in 30 minutes.
6. One-arm preacher curl drop sets.
Do one-arm dumbbell preacher curls in drop-set style.For example, start with a 55-pound (25 kg) dumbbell, and get eight. Immediately grab a 35-pounder (16 kg), and go for eight more. Grab a 15-pounder (7 kg) and rep out — try to get at least eight. Now do the same thing for your other arm. This will challenge your biceps more than just using 35-pound dumbbell curls for the standard three sets of 10.
7. Close-grip bench presses with boards.
Load the bench press bar to 135 pounds (61kg)—a 45 (20 kg) on each side of an Olympic bar. Have spotters put a large board on your chest running vertically, and do close-grip bench presses for five reps. Rack the weight and have your spotters remove the large board and put a medium-size board on your chest. Bench the
135 for five again. Rack it and have your spotters put a small board on your chest. Hit 135 for five again. The last step is to bench the 135×5 without a board. This sequence will challenge your triceps in new ways! Once you get the hang of it, you can up your poundage.
Try some of these techniques. Have fun, kill each workout, and grow.