Our Favourite Intensifiers
Some of our favourite intensifiers:
✅Drop Sets - Take your set to failure, then immediately drop the weight and bang out some more reps. Common mistake on these is NOT dropping the weight enough. A good rule of thumb is to drop by 25% and match reps. So if you fail at 12 reps on a movement, dropping by 25% should give you the ability to just get another 12 reps out. Repeat that math for any further drop sets.
✅ Iso-holds - Isometric holds just means you pause the rep for a few seconds at some point through the movement. Think pausing for 10 seconds halfway through a leg press or a bicep curl. Brutal if done toward the end of a set. Set the hold at wherever in the rep you’re able to keep the most tension on the muscle - this will usually be in the middle of the rep (eg halfway point on a hamstring curl) or the top of the concentric (eg the top of a cable bicep curl). Try adding multiple holds at different points of the rep for a couple seconds each 😰
✅ Partial reps - Take the muscle to failure through a full range of a movement, then instead of stopping the set continue just moving the weight as far as you can each rep. As the muscle fatigues you’ll cover less ground each rep making the partials smaller and smaller. Keep going until you’re barely bringing the weight though a couple centimetres of range.
✅ Rest/pause & Cluster sets - similar on the surface but different beasts. With rest/pause sets you‘ll take the muscle to failure, then rest for 10 seconds, bang out a couple more reps (however many you can manage), rest 10 seconds, repeat til dead. Cluster sets are similar but generally we’re talking abut heavier weights with Clusters, and using the method as a way to increase strength density rather than pure volume. Basically you’ll do a number of reps (say between 3-8) but NOT TAKE THE MUSCLE TO FAILURE. You’ll then rest 15-20 seconds, do another 3-4 reps, rest another 15-20 seconds, and repeat. This is a good method to use on heavier compound movements where a rest/pause will likely just lead to injury, as on a Cluster set we’re not taking the muscle to failure in that flirts set.
✅ Stretch-holds - slightly different to iso-holds in that we’ll take the muscle to failure on a movement, then immediately take the muscle out to its largest stretch point (think cable flys to failure, then bringing the cables right back to the stretch point) and holding that stretch point while exerting tension through the muscle. Almost like you’re contracting against that stretch without bringing yourself out of the stretch position. Fun and mental.
Try some of them out in your program, just don’t get excited and do them with every movement because you’ll be crashed out and considering taking up yoga instead within the week 🤷🏽♂️
Strength Lab - Personal Training, Body Transformation Coaching and Competition Preparation
Personal Training Camberwell, Melbourne