Drop, Giant and Super Set Workouts
While you’ve been looking at variations in the amount you lift and the way you lift, something you might not have been putting much stock in is the intensity of your lifting.
Supersets are a combination of more than one motion, designed to hit one muscle group more than once, or opposing muscle groups. These are performed one after the other without rest. The idea is that you carry out more than one exercise in one foul swoop, getting your heart rate up while burning fat along the way while working your muscles.
Moving into one move from another is the key. By focusing on one muscle you will achieve muscle failure. By working for opposing muscle groups you’ll last longer, allowing the last muscle to rest with the next set that works the opposing muscle.
Next up, you have drop sets, which many consider being the most effective form of intense workouts. Theses involve doing a set until you achieve muscle failure and then drop the amount of weight you’re lifting for the next set, repeating this and reducing the amount for each set. Many prescribe three is a good number to see that you don’t overdo it and also so that you can start heavier.
Giant sets are a little rarer as they involve a continuous, no rest circuit of four or more moves for one body part. As you can imagine, giant sets are designed to increase the intensity by placing an excessive burden on a muscle group to see it reach its boiling point, while simultaneously getting up your heart rate and burning fat.
If these are old news for you, the ‘drop-superset’ is sure to have the intense edge you’re looking for. This combines the two workouts – and, essentially, could also feature an element of giant sets. For these, select two (or more) exercises that work the same muscle and do one after the other, choosing a moderate weight to begin and a fixed number of reps to hit (let’s go with ten). The superset should achieve near muscle failure. With a minimal pause, you should then repeat this at a lighter weight but the same number of reps, and then again without resting.
To help you shape your own drop superset workout, here are some exercises you could apply to each area:
Chest: Flyes-bench, incline dumbbell presses-cable crossovers
Shoulders: Upright rows-shrugs, Push presses-Arnold presses, lateral raises-shrugs
Back: Lat pulldowns or chins-bent-over rows
Biceps: Barbell curls-incline dumbbell curls
Triceps: Skull crushers-dips, pressdowns-behind the back dips
Quads: squats-leg extensions, leg presses-leg extensions
Hamstrings: Leg curls-stiff deads
Calves: seated calf raises-standing calf raises
Abs: Crunches-Reverse crunches, Incline knee tucks-crunches
For intense lifting methods, it’s wise to consider them an end to a workout session, or at least when the targeted muscle is not going to be required for another exercise in the same session (or within 24 hours). Intense lifting works hand in hand with the right rest and nutrition. Given the high intensity nature of these workouts, you need to ensure you compensate with protein and calories following your workout.