Shock Methods are training techniques that are used to increase the intensity of a training session. There are methods that are great for fat loss and others that are great for hypertrophy. Hypertrophy training does not require you to train your muscles to complete failure each workout as this can lead to diminishing hypertrophy results. By using Shock Methods sparingly and intelligently you can truly ramp up your hypertrophy results.
I have listed 2 of my favourite Shock Methods I like to use (myself and my personal training clients) for their hypertrophy training. My suggestion is to only use these methods 1-2 times per week as they will really tax the nervous system and will require a greater amount of recovery. I would also suggest doing these at the end of the workout once the primary heavy lifting has been completed, to ensure the risk of injury is low.
A Drop-Set is done by completing your normal set and then following it by dropping the weight and continuing to perform additional sets without resting. An example of this would be completing 12 reps on a Leg Extension for 70kgs, then dropping the weight to 60kgs and performing another set of a given amount of reps.
There are different ways you can perform Drop-Sets. There is the standard Drop-Set which I gave as the example above. You can also perform Drop-Sets to failure where you start at the highest weight you can and perform as many reps as possible, then continue to drop the weight by 1 plate at a time until you reach 0 and perform max reps each time you drop the weight down.
I find this works well on cable or machine exercises as the high volume of work and stress can take its toll on the joints if done with free-weight exercises. Mechanical drop-sets is another great drop-set technique where you perform an exercise at its most disadvantageous position to failure, then move into a more advantageous position to continue performing reps. A great example of this would be performing a Cable Bar Bicep Curl standing 4 steps away from the cable machine. You would perform as many reps to failure and then take 1 step towards the machine to continue performing reps – this will allow you to keep using the same weight an overload different parts of the strength curve of an exercise to achieve maximal hypertrophy.
2. VARYING TIME UNDER TENSION
Varying Time under Tension can be applied many different ways; essentially it is performed by completing your reps with varying tempos throughout the set. A way I like to do this is to perform 1 rep at an extremely slow tempo such as a 5,3,5,3 tempo, followed by 2-3 reps of a very fast tempo like a 10 x 0. You can play around with the tempo and rep parameters as you see fit but the end result will be a great hypertrophy session using this technique.
Hypertrophy training isn’t about training each set to failure and annihilating your muscles every time you step foot into the gym. There needs to be a plan in place that is designed to see you progressively overload particular training stimuli. Whether it’s increasing training volume, frequency, or intensity, but utilising an intensity technique sparingly can yield great benefits for hypertrophy, provided it is done intelligently.