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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Working past sticking points


Sticking points can be one of the most frustrating things a weightlifter, powerlifter or bodybuilder can go through. After months of intense training there can be nothing to show for it in the way of size or strength increases. How do we work past a sticking point?

Using the barbell curl as an example, the bar usually stops at midpoint in a maximum attempt or during a training set. This is due to the extreme leverage swings during the lift. The maximum resistance level is experienced at this point. This limits the amount of weight that can be used during the exercise even though additional resistance could be used at other zones.

There are several methods to break through sticking points. I will highlight some here.

  • Partial zone reps
Load the bar as heavy as you can and complete 6-8 reps at the middle zone of the curl , making sure you go to muscular failure.
Do 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps.

  • Lighter training
Lighten up the weight on the bar and increase your rep count. Do 2-3 sets of  10,12 and 15 reps if you have been doing sets in the 6-8 rep range. Your body gets used to doing the same old routine even if you have been training with maximum intensity, so change it up frequently to boost new growth.

  • Train helper muscles
Take a break from barbell curls and focus on increasing the strength in your forearm muscles using grippers, ball squeezes, wind-ups and reverse curls. By taking off  from direct work on the barbell curl and focusing on related muscles you allow your biceps to fully recoup and bring up the strength on a muscle that assists you in the barbell curl. You will see new strength when you return to the barbell.

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