Increasing Intensity in the Gym – Looking Like a Lunatic in the Process

One thing that really annoys me in the gym is when I am busy lifting weights quite happily and having a great little workout, when someone comes over and tells me I’m ‘doing it wrong’ and that I need to ‘correct’ my technique.

The reason this annoys me is that in most cases the person is simply looking for opportunities to flaunt their minimal knowledge, and 90% of the time they’re about as strong as a noodle. The point is that I’m rather muscular these days, and this I think should be proof enough that I know what I’m doing.

The problem is the way I look when I’m lifting weights though – I lean back, I swing my body and I look like I’m going to burst a blood vessel. In short I look like I’m over doing it, but in fact the reality is that I’m the only one in there usually who is doing it enough.

When you go to the gym the aim is to create microtears as it is these that will cause your muscles to grow in size and strength (the muscle gets bigger when it is healed by the body). To accomplish this you need to go beyond what the muscle is capable and not just lift weights in a comfortable or ‘routine’ manner. That’s why you need to find ways to push yourself further than your usual limit and that’s why I end up bending over backwards – literally – in the gym.

Following are a couple of Joe Weider’s training principles for intensity – strategies he noted down after watching the all time greats like Arnie and Frank Zane, which can help you to go further and to get more growth out of a single session.


When I lean backwards, it’s because I’m cheating. The idea here is that you do as many repetitions as you can with perfect technique, but then once you can’t do anymore comfortably, you start to swing your body or contort yourself in order to help generate momentum and complete the move. Yes it is better to have good technique in a rep, but I’ve already done my moves that way, these cheats are instead of giving up and carrying on is always better than giving up.

Drop Sets

Drop sets mean carrying on doing repetitions past failure by lowering the weight. So you might grab a 30 kg dumbbell and do just four reps, but then you instantly put it down and pick up a 20 kg one to do five more, and maybe a 10 kg one straight after that. This way you can keep on going and continue to use what little juice your muscle has left.  Again it will look to others as though you just picked up too much to begin with – but what do they know?

Super Sets

Super sets mean replacing your usual resting period with more exercises of a different kind – normally those that will compliment the first lot. So for instance you might interchange between bicep curls and tricep kick backs in order to train both sides of the arm and to keep the heart rate up.

Giant Sets

Giant sets are essentially sets that don’t have any real structure – where the only real aim is to keep going until the muscles really hurt. To this end you might include supersets, drop sets and cheats as well as burns and flush sets and other Weider Principles.

Brian is an expertee in giving abs workout tips on his blog and likes to share good tips with health enthusiasts. He has been writing on health/fitness on his blog to help folks to get the genuine effective workout tips.

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