16 Fast Muscle Building Tricks

  1. Drop Sets
  2. Clusters
  3. Pause Reps
  4. Rest-Pause Reps
  5. Giant Sets
  6. Negatives
  7. Heavy Negatives
  8. Super Slow Negatives
  9. Pre-Exhaust
  10. Negative Pre-Exhaust
  11. Post Exhaustion
  12. Mechanical Drop Sets
  13. Forced Reps
  14. Cheat Reps
  15. Peak Contraction
  16. 1½ Reps

1. Drop Sets

To do the drop set trick,

Here's a video of Mike Rashid doing a bench press drop set ↓

He starts off benching 405lbs for 6 reps, then drops down to 315lbs for 6 reps and finally drops down to 225lbs for 7 reps

Drop sets help you build muscle faster by making you DO MORE reps even after your muscles are so fatigued you can't do another rep.

2. Clusters

To do the cluster trick,

Cluster trick done with bench press

3. Pause Reps

Pause reps are where you pause for 2-to-5 seconds between the negative & positive parts of any exercise.

Pausing makes your muscles do 100% of the work without any extra help from momentum. The more your muscles work = the bigger & stronger they'll get.

Example of pause reps

Pause reps will be a good fit for you if you're afraid of getting injured with heavy weights or if you don't have access to heavy weights.

4. Rest-Pause Reps

To do the rest pause trick,

Rest-Pause Trick Example

5. Giant Sets

Giant sets are when you do at least 2 exercises back-to-back with very little rest between exercises for the same bodypart(s) - for example,

For bigger triceps you could do a set of dips, close grip bench presses and overhead triceps extensions in any order with very little rest between exercises.

Giant Set for Shoulders

Giant sets should be done at the end of your workout for the last 1-to-2 sets or as the only sets you do for a bodypart(s) because they're so intense.

Tip → Increase the intensity by doing a drop set for each exercise in the giant set → High Intensity Training trick

6. Negatives

What exactly are negatives? Negatives or negative reps are the part of any weight training exercise where you're not doing any work → For example,

Focus more on the negative

Do more reps

Stop doing negative reps once you can't make it last longer than 5 seconds.

7. Heavy Negatives

Heavy negatives are where you only do the negative part with a heavier weight that's 90-to-130% of your 1-rep max

The weights you use for heavy negatives will be too heavy for you to do the positive or the pushing or pulling part of the exercise by yourself. You'll need some type of assistance (as shown in Videos A, B & C below) to complete the rep to keep doing more heavy negative reps.

A. With a training partner

B. By Yourself

C. Unilaterally on a Machine

If you can't make the negative rep last longer than 5 seconds then the weight is TOO Heavy or its time to end the set.

8. Super Slow Negatives

For super slow negatives you do each negative rep for 15-to-60 seconds using lighter weights less than 70% of your 1-rep max

Example of super slow negative

Stop doing super slow negatives once you're unable to make each rep last longer than 15 seconds.

9. Pre-exhaust

To do the pre-exhaust trick,

The pre-exhaust & post-exhaust tricks works best for lagging body parts or any muscle you're having a tough time making bigger.

Examples of the pre-exhaust trick,

10. Negative Pre-exhaust

To do the negative pre-exhaust trick,

Negative pre-exhaust example

11. Post Exhaust

Post exhaustion is the pre-exhaust trick done backwards. You do the compound exercise first before you post-exhaust or continue working the target muscle with an isolation exercise for 12-to-25+ reps.

Post-Exhaust examples,

12. Mechanical Drop Set

To do the mechanical drop set trick… You change your form, stance, position or the angle of an exercise to gain a mechanical advantage that allows you to do more reps → For example,

Mechanical drop set done by changing the angle of a bench

Mechanical drop set done by changing hand position

13. Forced Reps

To do the forced reps trick,

Examples of Forced Reps

To do forced reps if you're alone,

Do Uni-lateral exercises like one-arm bicep curls or one-legged leg extensions where you use the non-working arm or leg to do forced reps with the working arm or leg.

14. Cheat reps

To do the cheat reps trick,

You cheat a little bit by using bad form or extra momentum after you're unable to do anymore reps in near perfect form at the end of a set.

Example of Cheat Reps

Stop doing cheat reps once your form is so bad that all you are doing is bouncing, swinging, or using mostly momentum to move the weight.

15. Peak contractions

To do the peak contraction trick,

You contract, squeeze or strongly flex the muscle you're working at the end of each rep for at least 2 seconds to make each rep more intense → For example,

When you do a bicep curl… Contract or squeeze your biceps hard for at least 2 seconds at the top of the curl.

Example of Peak Contraction

16. 1½ Reps

The 1½ Reps trick is another way to make every rep more intense like pause reps or negatives

Example of 1½ Reps

High Intensity Training

High Intensity Training or HIT is when you combine 2 or more of the 16 fast muscle building tricks on this page into ONE SET.

For example… Combine pause reps, forced reps & drop set tricks into 1 long high intensity set like this,

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