6 Training Techniques for Muscle Growth

The purpose of this post is one objective; to extend time under tension (TUT) to increase chances of muscle protein synthesis (breakdown of muscle and repair to induce muscle growth). Brad Schoenfeld wrote a detailed article on T-Nation regarding TUT. These techniques are among my favorites to use with my athletes and some of my more advanced clients.
I like to take one or two techniques and use it for two weeks to a month. Any further than that and you might lessen the effectiveness of the technique.

Cluster sets
For strength: You want a weight you can do 3 reps.
Prescribed amount of sets: 5
2 reps-rest 20 seconds; 2 reps-rest 20 seconds; 1-2 reps-rest 90-120 seconds

For size: You want a weight you can do 8 reps.
Prescribed amount of sets: 4
4 reps-rest 15 seconds; 4 reps-rest 15 seconds; 2-4 reps-rest 90-120 seconds
That’s one cluster set.

 Rest/Pause Sets
After each set is completed, take 15 deep breaths and do another set with the same weight. The reps aren’t the important component here, just the extended time under tension.
Use good form and stop one rep before your form breaks.

Three sets of 6, with increasing weight on each set, rest 2 minutes between sets. On the final set, do a rest/pause set of 6+6+6.
Rest 15 seconds in between each of the final sets of 6.

20/10 Drop sets
On the final set of an exercise, perform the prescribed set of reps. After the final set is completed, rest 15 seconds. Drop 20% of the weight and pump out as many reps as possible. Rack the bar. and rest for 15 seconds Drop another 10%. Go for as many reps as possible then rest.

Antagonistic supersets
Pair one muscle group (quads, hamstrings, chest, lats, shoulders, biceps, triceps) with an antagonistic muscle group (respectively, hamstrings, quads, back, chest, triceps and biceps; there’s really no clear alternative to delts so pair it with a non-specific group or do calf work).
Superset these together and use a similar rep scheme as the first exercise.

Multi-joint + isolation super set
Use a multi-joint compound movement (squat, bench press, deadlift, rows, overhead press, etc) and superset it with an isolation movement (respectively, leg extensions, flies, lying or seated leg curl, straight arm pulldown, lateral raises).
Use a heavy compound rep scheme of 3 to 5 reps, and pair it with hypertrophy based reps 8-15.

Good training,

Chris Marzarells