Top 3 training method variations

By on January 8, 2019

We all know that doing the same workout can become repetitive and boring. This leads to lack of motivation and plateauing. There seems to be a set progression for gym goers and people only utilise a small number of training methods to vary their workouts.

Or they will just utilise the latest training method shown in the monthly Health & Fitness magazines so there is no set rhythm to the workout program.

What I am going to show you are three ways to vary your workouts and achieve a new level in your workouts. I use these variations myself and with my clients to great effect.

Variation 1: Negative Sets

Negatives sets are nothing new, they are underutilised in the gym and achieve a greater work level in the gym. This means achieving those goals and smashing plateaus. The negative set is very simple, and requires slowing down the eccentric (negative) part of the movement.

So with a Bench Press you will slow the lowering of the bar to the chest. This variation is also massively adaptive and can be slowed to almost any rate. We can break the movement down to 4 parts:

Eccentric or Concentric* – Pause – Concentric or Eccentric* – Pause

*Depends on the exercise Eccentric or Concentric part comes first.

Here is a Leg workout using the Negative Set variation.

Variation 1

Variation 1

Variation2: Pre/ Post Exhaustive Sets

We all know the difference between Compound (2+ Joint) movements and Isolation (1 Joint) movements. This utilises both of these exercises into a superset style workout. Pre-exhaustive utilises the Isolation before the compound and the Post-exhaustive is simple reversed.

This gives a great workout and will help develop a strong physique. Here are a few ideas for Pre or Post exhaustive pairings:

  • Bench Press & Pec Fly
  • Walking Lunges & Leg Extensions
  • Military Press & Lateral Raise

Like a superset you will transfer between exercises as quickly as possible to maintain the effect.

Chest Workout using the Post Exhaustive variation.

Variation 2

Variation 2

Variation 3: Intra Set Pause Sets

Probably the least utilised training method consciously, but we have all probably done it inadvertently in the gym while trying to get out that last rep.

Intra set pausing requires a short 5-10 pause during the set to give the muscle time to recover, which permits the recruitment of higher-threshold motor units.

This allows the nervous system to get a chance to recover before attempting another repetition.

If you consciously planned to rest in the advantageous part of every rep, you could plan to use a slightly greater load, which will lead to favourable strength gains. So those extra reps can be completed give maximum effect.

Always rest in an advantageous position as you can chose where to rest. With a Bench Press you can either rest before the concentric or after.

This exercise will give maximal effect with compound movements but can also be used with Isolation exercises too.

Finally, remember to let your body recover thanks to a post-workout shake.

Richard Powell

About Richard Powell

Richard Powell is a Personal Trainer of 3 years and owner of Silhouette Personal Training. He works with a wide range of clients including elite athletes. Opening his own Studio in 2014 to focus more on individual client needs in a focused environment. His sporting heroes are Mark Cavendish and Kris Gethin.