Every lifter reaches a strength ceiling at some point in time. Even though progressive overload is a primary tenet of lifting weights, there are other types of progression. You can continue to make progress by upping the intensity. In this article, we’ll look at the Top 4 Intensity Techniques and the best 5% supplements to use with these techniques.
Technique # 1 - Rest-Pause
Most likely the first intensity technique that comes to mind is forced reps. There are a few shortcomings to this technique. To start, it requires a training partner. Not only that, your partner has to know whether they are helping too much or not enough. That said, many of the most common intensity techniques are variations of forced reps. Rest-Pause is a great place to start.
There are several versions of Rest-Pause. The most common looks like this: as you fail on your set, take a 5-10 second “rest-pause”, then knock out a few more reps to failure. Take another 5-10 second rest and knock out a few more, continuing until you can't complete another rep.
Let's look at some of the other variations:
- Variation # 1 - Use 75% of your current max poundage for 10 reps. For example - if you bench press 225 for 10, use 170 lbs. Do 10 reps, rest 10 seconds, do 9 reps, rest 10 seconds, do 8 reps, and so on to one rep.
- Variation # 2 - Use a weight on the bench press that allows 3 reps. Do 1 rep, rack the bar for a 10 count, do 2 reps, rack the bar for a 10 count, and so on until you hit 10 reps.
Technique # 2 - Drop Sets
Drop sets are similar to rest-pause. The difference is you aren’t resting at all, instead, you’re dropping weight to keep your set going. While many lifters use a partner, you can do this technique alone. Since we used the bench press in our rest-pause example, we’ll use a chest press machine for this example.
Here’s how it looks. Start with a weight you can do only 8 reps with. When you hit failure, set the pin down a couple of notches and knock out as many reps as you can. Drop the pin again and keep your set going as long as you can. We’re only talking about 3-4 reps at the most. All of this is 1 set. If you’re really hardcore, keep dropping the weight until you’re down to 1 or 2 plates on the weight stack. That’s about 8-10 drops. Don’t try this on the regular bench press unless you’re using a power rack with the safety pins set to catch the weight. You will also need at least 1 training partner to pull a plate or 2 off each side.
Technique # 3 - Static Holds
This technique may not be as common as the others on this list. The idea here is to hold the weight at a point - or several points - along the range of motion. For this example, we’ll use the EZ bar curl. The primary problem with a free weight curl is that the tension drops off at the top of the exercise. With this technique, you’ll stop the curl ⅔ of the way up, before the tension drop, and hold the bar for a 6-10 count. Then lower the bar and repeat.
A variation is to stop the bar on both the concentric and eccentric phases of the rep and hold the bar for a 6 count. Finally, as you’re performing a slow 4-6 second eccentric phase and your biceps are fully stretched, hold the bar for a 10-15 count.
Technique # 4 - Supersets
This technique is done by doing 2 exercises back to back with no rest in between. You can do 2 exercises for the same muscle group or different muscle groups. For example, EZ curls superset with Incline Dumbbell Curls, with both sets done to failure. Another example would be EZ Curls superset with Skullcrushers.
Plus, you can do pre-exhaust or post-exhaust supersets. A pre-exhaust superset is done by performing an isolation exercise and then going right into a compound exercise. This pre-fatigues the target muscle. An example would be dumbbell flys followed by bench presses. With post-exhaust, you’re reversing the exercise order. Bench presses followed by flys. The idea is the same, to fully exhaust the target muscle. Finally, you can combine supersets with any other technique listed here. So for example, you could do a superset that also included rest-pause and static holds. Then, after all that, drop weight and keep going. Brutal!
What 5% Supplements Should I Use?
The most obvious 5% supplements would be your choice of 5% pre-workouts. Stack Full As F*ck with Kill It, Kill It Reloaded, or 5150. For variety and convenience, try our new 5150 Stick Packs. This type of training lends itself to great pumps. By adding Full As F*ck to your 5% pre-workout, you can get mind-numbing pumps! Here’s another option. Try Full As F*ck with Core Energy, Core Nootropic, and Core L-Citrulline 3000. Talk about maximum energy, focus, and pumps! Of course, you’ll want to follow up your workout with a protein and carb source such as Real Carbs + Protein. Now that you’re armed with this information, nothing can hold you back!