Build Muscle Fast With 3 Unconventional Methods | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Build Muscle Fast With 3 Unconventional Methods

May 2, 2013 | Joe Giandonato

Must See Strength Training Videos

If you mistakenly lock your training mindset into a system of sets and reps, your program will become stagnant. To build muscle fast, you need to focus on other aspects of your training.

Varying your sets and reps is important, but you must also consider other factors. Changing your rest periods, training density and tension should all be factored into your training.

Rest Periods: Mixed Circuit Training

Traditional circuit training calls for a series of resistance exercises performed in succession with a minimum amount of rest, in an effort to build muscular endurance. Mixed circuit training calls for a variety of modalities—including barbell, dumbbell, bodyweight, plyometric and cardio exercises—to increase the challenge on your muscles and improve other espects of your fitness.

Mixed Circuit Training Guidelines

  • Exercises that require a high degree of technical proficiency should not be heavily loaded. For example, barbell exercises should be loaded with less than 25% of your max
  • Exercises should never be performed to failure, and the number of repetitions should be kept low to ensure proper form
  • Rest time may be reduced between individual exercises and circuits to intensify the workout; however, work-to-rest intervals should be kept at 1:2 or greater. For every 30 seconds of work, rest for 60 seconds

Mixed Circuit Training Workouts

Repeat three or four times and rest for up to 60 seconds between exercises.

Density: Timed Workouts

Varying your training density involves altering the amount of work performed in a prescribed block of time. Simply set a time and begin your workout. Try to increase the number of reps compared to your last session by reducing your rest time. Doing so stimulates muscle growth and keeps your heart rate up, which will build endurance and burn calories.

Timed Workout Guidelines

  • Do not rush through a workout.
  • Maintain a steady pace throughout the workout, but allow adequate rest time between sets.

Sample Timed Exercises

Week 1

Week 2

  • Hex Bar Deadlift x 21 reps @ 75-85% max within 20 minutes

Tension: Timed Sets

Renowned powerlifting coach Louie Simmons popularized timed sets, because they force the muscles to remain under tension for longer periods of time, which is one of the keys to muscle growth. They also improve muscular endurance and joint health.

Timed Set Guidelines

  • To ensure maximum tension, perform movements just shy of the lockout and above the starting point of the lift.
  • Exercises that are technically difficult should not be heavily loaded. For example, barbell exercises should be loaded with less than 70% of your max; and dumbbell exercises should be performed at 75% of your standard workload.

Sample Timed Set Exercise

Nearly any exercise can be performed in a timed fashion.

Photo: stopwatch.turbosquid.com

Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
Must See
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 545,614
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 35,266,879
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,223,911

Featured Videos

Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Recover Faster With this Simple Technique Views: 11,358
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 187,524
Abby Wambach Power and Stability Workout Views: 300,640
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 846,993
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 704,420
Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling
Views: 1,170,744
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 880,883
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 19,694,795

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Surprise Sets; great finisher workouts f you're looking to add some variety to your training program, Surprise Sets are a great way to change up a...

4 Exercises From NFL Players to Build True Game Speed

Prevent Volleyball Shoulder Injuries With These Exercises

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Build Awesome Arms With This 15-Minute Workout

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

3 Keys to In-Season Baseball Training

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

When Not to Try Unstable Hockey Training

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Train Like a Pro: Peyton Manning's Core Workout

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

Get a Full-Body Workout With Just 2 Exercises

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Save Your Shoulders With These Barbell Landmine Exercises

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

The 3-Minute Total Arm Pump

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Can You Survive This Insane 100-Rep Push-Up Challenge?

Train Like a Pro: Corey Kluber Baseball Strength Workout

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

What Happens When You Do The Same Exercise Every Day?

The Best Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

Train Like a Pro: Damian Lillard's Basketball Core Workout

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?