Basic dumbbell exercises are great for building muscle. However, sometimes it's good to add variety to even the most fundamental movement to keep your workouts from growing stale.
One of the best methods we use at Performance U is Iso-dynamic training, a technique that will blast your muscles and help you make serious size gains.
What is Iso-Dynamic Training?
Iso-dynamic training involves holding an isometric contraction with one arm, while the other arm moves through a dynamic movement. You switch sides during the same set.
Check out the video below, which shows an Iso-Dynamic Shrug.
Since your arms are doing two different things, dumbbells are ideally suited for this type of training. However, you can use other pieces of equipment, like kettlebells and even some machines.
Here are my three favorite exercises we use in our Performance U training system for bodybuilding—another one being the Shrug shown above.
Iso-Dynamic Biceps Curls
Iso-Dynamic Shoulder Raises
Using Iso-Dynamic Training: 5-4-3-2 Rep Pyramid
OK, so you know some of the exercises. Now you need to put them to use.
Our favorite rep scheme to follow when using Iso-dynamic training is the 5-4-3-2 pyramid. It's easy to remember and takes into account that your muscles will fatigue as you move through the routine. You also finish with the double-arm (bilateral) version of the exercise so you can use a little body English to fight through the fatigue.
Here's how it works:
Perform five dynamic reps on your right side while your left side does the isometric hold. Then switch and perform five dynamic reps on your left side while your right side does the isometric hold.
Repeat that same process, but only do four dynamic reps with each side. Repeat again, but now do three reps with each side.
To finish, perform two standard reps with both arms.