In one of the following parts; increasing the load

In the world of fitness, athletics, and physical
training there are several different resistance training strategies and techniques
that an individual can use to achieve their fitness goals. These goals can be
aesthetically driven to improve the way that the person looks, related to
improvements in strength, or endurance performance. These strategies are
usually made up of one of the following parts; increasing the load or weight of
the exercises, increasing the volume of repetitions being performed, increasing
the amount of time that the muscles are under tension, or making changes to
work through the body’s ability to adapt to changes over a relatively short
period of time. The strategies that will be covered in this essay will be super
sets, forced repetitions, pyramid system, and periodization methods. These
strategies all have the ability to help the body make progress towards strength
and muscle growth goals, and can often be used in tandem to lead to help
achieve these goals. But, which of these strategies is the best for making the
fastest and most sustainable progress? It is important to evaluate, and assess
what type of the training strategies listed are the most effective in helping a
person achieve their fitness and training goals.

            Supersets
involve utilizing two exercises and working from one to the next with little or
zero rest in between exercises. This training method can be very effective
because minimal rest increases the production of lactate and lowers pH levels
in the blood. This activates the anterior pituitary to release human growth
hormone. The increase in lactate also results in testosterone release in the
body. The resulting anabolic hormone production can lead to muscle growth while
helping to keep body fat lower in the process. Supersets also raise the intensity
of exercise, which is a factor that can substantially enhance muscle
hypertrophy and improve the body aesthetically. Supersets may even lead to
increased strength, improvements in joint health, and promote left-right
symmetry due to the working of opposing muscles (Catanzaro, 2012). Antagonist
super sets are used to train a muscle, or muscle group, and then directly
working the opposite muscle or muscle group. A classic example of this is
working the biceps along with the triceps, since it seems to come pretty
natural to most of those training, but chest and back, and quad and hamstring
supersets are also effective. This strategy helps to save time in the gym, and
there are more benefits that are due to reciprocal innervation. In reciprocal
innervation, as one muscle group is trained, the opposite muscles relax, which
aids in muscle recovery. There has also been some proof that the flow of blood
to the trained muscles is increased, which means more will be able to be lifted
and resulting in greater improvements in each move (Snape, 2017). Another type
of super set is the agonistic super set. This type of super set trains a single
muscle group, which can lead to muscle growth by exhausting them. Traditional
examples of this include the dumbbell bench press and dumbbell fly super sets
for the chest, and the hamstring curls along with Romanian deadlift for legs. Another
way to complete this type of training is by performing mechanical drop-sets,
which changes the grip or mechanical orientation of the working muscle. An
example of this would be working supinated dumbbell curls and hammer curls.
This can help improve the mass gains made by exhausting the muscles. This is
done by lessening the amount of rest between exercises, which does not allow
the muscles to fully recover. It could be most effective to use agonist super set
training for large muscle groups such as the quadriceps or chest. It has been
found that smaller muscle groups typically do not progress as well to agonistic
super set training (Snape, 2017). There are other ways to employ the same type
of training with other slight tweaks to this set up, such as using three
exercises for tri-sets.

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            Forced
repetitions are another strategy used to help improve muscle growth. A rep is forced
when the person lifting the weight achieves muscle failure during a set and has
someone to spot them, assisting in pushing through the regular point of failure
which helps to recruit the work of more muscle fibers. This is in addition to
the fibers that are typically used. The recruitment of the additional muscle
fibers helps to simulate more overall muscle growth and muscle mass. Additionally,
it is important to understand that forced repetitions are used to force the
muscles to grow. The muscle is being shocked by the additional stress, which
means that forced repetitions are a training technique that should not be
implemented into every exercise performed within a particular workout regimen. Instead,
this strategy should be used sporadically, and not for every set performed
(Heyer, 2006). When free weights are used for forced sets, it is important that
the workout partner spotting the person working out has an understanding of the
philosophy of forced repetitions and what is trying to be achieved. The spotter
should force the muscles to accommodate additional weight, without doing the
lifting for the person who is training (Yates, 2005). So, what does this training
strategy do? In positive failure it forces the muscles being trained to press
through a plateau, even to a small extent, which then necessitates the
recruitment of additional muscle fibers, which would have otherwise been
dormant.  This same idea is true when talking
about negative failure, however muscles can work with a larger load during the eccentric
portion of a lift, allowing for even better strength gains (Goettsch, 2013).  According to the American College of Sports
Medicine, “by pushing to the very brink of failure in an exercise, the amount
of blood and muscle tension increases, thus promoting muscle growth” (ACSM,
n.d.). This strategy is used to really place the muscles under additional
stress while pushing through muscle failure for the exercises performed.

            Pyramids
involve choosing a number of repetitions and lowering the number of repetitions
on each subsequent set. A pyramid workout regimen is a really simple method of
resistance training. An exercise is chosen, along with the number of repetitions
that the individual is going to start with, and a weight that can be used for
the entire pyramid, and the pyramid program is started. For example, if this
strategy were to be used for the bench press, then the person exercising could
start with ten repetitions, then take a short rest and complete nine repetitions
of the bench press while working their way all the way down to one repetition
or the final predetermined repetition number (King, 2014). Pyramid training is
a very versatile method of exercise that can be used for bodybuilding, strength
training, fat loss, and athletic training. Some additional benefits of pyramid
training are that it can be done with any type of training equipment, training sessions
are short and intense, sessions can be managed by the amount of weight lifted, the
amount of time trained. This technique can also be used for muscle growth,
athletic training, fat loss, or all of these factors. Pyramid training can also
be completed with another person, multiple people, or alone (King, 2013).
Pyramid training is another way to help an athlete, or anyone who is one a
training regimen, push through training plateaus by starting with a weight and
continuing to perform repetitions that are outside of the traditional
repetition ranges performed in most training regimens. This regimen is
effective because of its versatility and ability to be completed quickly while
creating the challenge needed to promote muscle growth and strength gains.

            Finally,
there is a training method that relies on periodization programming in order to
expedite gains in muscle size, athletic performance, and strength. Utilizing multiple
changes within a training regimen is the key to this technique. Instead of conducting
the same training regimen every month, training is changed at set intervals or time
periods to allow the body to work harder, while still allowing time for appropriate
rest periods. It is important for anyone who is conducting resistance training
to alter their strength-training program by adjusting the following variables;
the number of repetitions per set and number of sets performed, the amount of
resistance or weight used, rest periods between sets, the order and type of exercises,
and how fast exercises are completed. This type of program is also used to push
through plateaus, or to help individuals see progress at a faster rate by changing
variables within the workout regimen to “keep the body guessing” and avoid the
rapid adaptations that the human body can make to muscular stress (American
Council on Exercise, 2009).

            While all of the exercise strategies
are used to promote muscle growth and increases in strength, it does take some
assessment for an individual to decide which method they think will be the most
effective for them. All of these strategies are advanced training techniques
and may not be ideal for beginners who may be better served focusing on the
basic training movements to improve their central nervous system function,
strengthening stabilizer muscles, as well as strengthening their connective
tissue. Although all of these strategies have the advantages of changing training
to increase gains in strength and muscle growth, they do come with some
disadvantages as well. Super sets, if not performed properly, have a slight
increase in potential injuries. Forced reps can lead to an overconfidence in
the person training, leading to them attempting higher resistance lifts without
a spotter. With forced repetition training and pyramid training there is the
potential for there to be a missed opportunity for maximal tension on the
muscles. In the case of forced repetitions, this is due to the fact that the
spotter is lifting too much of the resistance off of the person training (Yates,
2005). In pyramid training it can be caused by the fact that the weight is not
enough to get maximal muscle strain throughout all of the sets. Periodization
can also pose injury risks if the changes are done in a way that can be
performed using proper form.