Some of the variables and techniques that should be utilized are:

  • Full Range-of-Motion:  Muscle is made up of many segments like the links in a chain so it is important to work a muscle through its full range-of-motion so that there are minimal “weak” spots.
  • Rotation:  Muscle works in three dimensions and rotation is one of those dimensions, but it is often forgotten so some exercises should include rotational movements.
  • Interval training:  This is where the speed of the repetitions is changed.  Usually a person alternates between slow, medium and fast.  The faster you go the shorter the time spent at that speed level.
  • Pyramid:  This is when you start lifting at a lighter weight and increase the weight on subsequent sets.
  • Drop sets (or drop reps):  This is when you start with a heavier weight and decrease the weight either within the set or on subsequent sets.
  • Isometric Holds:  It is beneficial to incorporate some isometric holds in your training.  This helps to create strong stabilizing muscle.  Holds can be anywhere from a few seconds to minutes.
  • Slow eccentric (or negatives):  Slowing decelerating force through the second phase of a rep is a great way to increase strength.   If you cannot slowly decelerate force then you are lifting too much weight and weight should NEVER, EVER be dropped because you miss this important technique at the most important time in the rep (when the muscle is the most tired).
  • Slow concentric:  This is even harder than slow eccentric.  This is the first stage of the rep when you are producing force.  It is a great technique, but many people find it difficult to do.
  • Plyometrics or bouncing:  This is only for those whose joints are trouble free.  Anyone with any kind of degeneration or underlying problem should not do plyometric training which incorporates jumping or bouncing movements.  This is a great way to strengthen (especially for athletes) because it develops the highest level of decelerating strength.