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3 Techniques to Increase Muscle Intensity and Enhance Your Muscle Gains

  Apr 10th, 2012


Video Transcript:

What’s up guys? Craig Leonard from here.


I wanted to film a short video for you to talk about muscle intensity…


When we think about intensity we’re usually talking about how hard we’re training at the gym, how focused we are, and things along those lines. But what I want to talk about is muscle intensity.


So we’re going to talk about the intensity that’s actually placed on our muscles while we’re training and how we can actually use that intensity to maximize our growth and development over time and make sure we’re getting the most for all of our hard work training every week in the gym.


There are three techniques I like to use to make sure that my muscles are fully engaged and that I’m applying the maximum amount of intensity while I’m training.


The first one is resting for shorter periods in between sets…


A lot of people like to rest 2 or 3 minutes in between each set in order to give their muscles and their mind time to recover and be prepared for the next set.


Well, the problem with that is it’s too long. It gives your muscles time to almost fully recover from the previous set, so you don’t get any carryover in intensity and muscle stimulation that you would if you rested for shorter periods.


So, what you want to do is shoot for sixty to ninety seconds in between sets – no more than that. It can be hard to do that at first if you’re not used to training so quickly and with that kind of intensity.


Your cardiovascular system might need to catch up because this is a fast way to train, and if you’re not used to it, you’ll get out of breathe a little bit. But, just be intentional about continually reducing the amount of time that you’re resting in between sets.


I don’t recommend resting for any less than sixty seconds because at that point your muscles aren’t recovering enough to really be able to perform a decent number of reps for each subsequent set.


What you want to do is reduce the amount of rest you’re taking between each set. That’ll increase the intensity on your muscles and you will notice improvements in growth over time.


The second method is continually increasing the number of reps you’re using for each set…


Let’s say you are doing the bench press and you’re using two hundred pounds and that’s the weight that you like to use. If you’re not going to be intentional about increasing your weight, you want to at least be intentional about increasing the number of reps that you perform.


A good systematic approach that you can use is having a set number of reps you like to shoot for – let’s say five – and continually shoot to go higher.


A lot of guys, they go to the gym and they say, “Okay, I want to do two hundred pounds for five reps on my bench press”. That’s what they shoot for. They hit five reps and they’re done.


They maybe could have pushed out 7, 8, 9 reps, who knows? But, they stop at five because that’s just what they wanted to do.


When you do that, you’re cheating your muscles out of some serious growth. So, you want to make sure that you’re pushing your muscles to the limit and essentially training to failure for every set you perform to make sure that you’re applying maximum intensity to your muscles.


So, you want to be intentional about increasing the number of reps that you’re performing.


The third method that you want to apply is increasing the amount of weight that you’re using…


This method can actually be used to compliment the second method, which is training with a higher number of reps.


So, when it comes to increasing the weights that we use…


What I like to do is if I have a target rep range.


So, I start with five and say, “Okay, I want to shoot for five reps with a certain amount of weight”. And as I get stronger, I’m increasing the number of reps that I’m performing, but I don’t want to go any higher than eight.


Because, if I go any higher than eight I’m just going to get lactic acid build-up. Lactic acid prevents the muscles from contractions and has been shown to prevent muscle growth.


So you want to stay out of that kind of a state whenever you can.


So, I’ll have a maximum of eight and I’ll continually use the same amount of weight from five reps, all the way up to eight.


Once I can do eight, I load the bar up with another five or ten pounds and that’ll drop me back down to say five or six reps.


I then continually lift that new weight until I can do eight reps and then I add another five or ten pounds to the bar and I continue with that progression.


It keeps your muscle working, it keeps them confused, it doesn’t allow them to adapt at any point in time. They’re continually growing larger. You’re forcing them to grow and over time this leads to amazing results.


And I can vouch for that in my own experience.


I hope that you’ve found these three tips to be helpful. I know they’ve been a great help to me in my own experimenting and figuring out what works.


These three methods work. So I hope you apply them. I look forward to hearing about how they help you to increase your muscle gains.


Again, this is Craig Leonard from I’m adding new content just about every day, so I encourage you to head over and check it out.



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