Just when you think that you can hardly lift another pound for one more rep of your last set, that’s when you need to give it just a little more. This’s the point when real muscle growth can take place if you are up for the challenge. That is the idea behind forced repetitions – one of the best ways to gain muscle size and strength. Here’s when a spotter or personal trainer can come in handy to help you unleash the brute inside of you!

Forced repetitions are based upon the idea that when you lift weights, the final few repetitions of your last set are the most beneficial, because at this point the muscles targeted are being pushed to exhaustion. While one guy does the lifting, his partner places his hands in the proper position to help him finish one or two more reps he couldn’t have completed on his own. If you’ve got a partner you can count on, try this program once a week. Using this strategy daily is too much and may result in overtraining and injuries like tendonitis.  Here’s an example of a forced reps exercise for each muscle group.

Barbell Squats:  Grasp a barbell on the upper back, with feet shoulder width apart. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground, pause, then rise to starting position. At the end of your last set, have a partner stand behind you with hands around your torso and have him assist you in completing 2 more reps. Make sure to keep you back straight and your toes pointed outward as you squat down.

Triceps Skull Crushers: Lie on a bench and grasp an EZ curl bar at arms length over the chest. Lower it to just above the forehead, pause then return to starting position. For your last set, have a partner stand over you and help you raise and lower the bar for 2 more reps.

Biceps Partial Curls: Grasp an EZ curl bar with arms bent at 90- degree angles. Curl up until biceps meet forearms, pause, then lower to starting position. For your last set have a partner face you and help you curl 2 more reps.

Barbell Bench Press: Lie face up and grasp a barbell with arms bent at 90- degree angles. Press it overhead, pause, then return to starting position. At the end of your last set have your partner stand over you and help raise and lower the bar for one or two more reps.

Pull Ups for Shoulders, Back: Grasp and overhead pull up bar and pull yourself up so that your chin is at or above the bar, pause, then lower yourself. At the end of your last set have your partner grasp your feet and help you do just a couple more reps.

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Tom Bonanti is a personal trainer and licensed massage therapist (MA40288) with his own one on one training studio in Ft. Lauderdale www.pumpnincgym.com. Contact Tom with questions regarding fitness and nutrition trainertomb@aol.com or call to schedule a free fitness intake massage (954) 557-1119.