How to make exercises more difficult – Galway Strength and Performance

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How to make exercises more difficult

Basically everyone has to improvise their training at the moment. The biggest issue most people will face is not having anywhere near the normal amount of weights available to them that they usually do.

There followed methods that can be used to make exercises a lot more difficult, this may be especially useful when working with limited equipment during the current covid-19 lockdown.

Slow eccentrics – Eccentrics are when you are lengthening a muscle under load, it basically means when lowering a weight. 

Using 3-6 second eccentrics during any lift will make it a lot more difficult, using as little as 50% of your max weight can often be enough weight when using long eccentrics.

Pauses – Using pauses at various points in lifts can make them very difficult, particularly on big compound movements like squats, presses and deadlifts.

Using anything from 2-5 second pauses at your weakest point of a lift will not only increase difficulty but will also make you stronger through your weak point thus increasing your max. Double pauses can also be utilized here, for example you could do a 2 second pause at the bottom and midpoint(either on the way down or up) of a squat. 

Super-sets and Giant-sets – Supersets are doing two exercises back to back and giant sets are doing 4 or more exercises back to back without a break.

When doing supersets you can either do sets with muscle groups opposing each other such as pressing muscles (bench press) and pulling muscles (bent over row) or you could do two pressing exercises (bench press and push ups) or you could do a upper/lower exercise split such as squat and dumbell press, the options here are endless. The same rule applies to giant-sets, you just use more exercises. 

Pre-exhausting muscles – Typically you would use a single joint movement to pre-fatigue a muscle before using a compound movement that would also target the muscle you’ve just pre-fatigued. 

An example would be using a leg extension to pre fatigue quads before a big compound like squats. Chances are during lockdown you probably don’t have a leg extension lying around so id suggest doing 3-4 sets of hard lunges before doing squats. 

Cluster sets – During a cluster set you do a set rest period between reps during a set.

An example would be to do a set of 20 total reps, you could do 4+4+4+4+4 reps with 20 seconds rest between every 4 reps. The possibilities here are endless as far as rest and reps go so get creative, cluster sets can be very useful when you don’t have much weight available.

Hopefully this article will give you some ideas and can help you with your training during lockdown.

Matty Costello




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