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Are You Training Hard Enough To Build Muscle Mass?

Are You Training Hard Enough To Build Muscle Mass?

4 Loading Strategies for
Ramping Up Intensity and Gains

Oh, we’ve all been there. Call it “The 3 x 12 Blues.”

What’s up for today? Bi’s and tri’s. You load up the triceps pushdown with roughly 70% of your one-rep max and here we go. One, two, three, zoning out, zoning back in, eleven, twelve.  You step back, waiting forty-five seconds, a minute, bouncing on your toes to look busy, and then go again. The magic twelve. Same as it ever was.

Maybe you can see yourself in one or more mirrored walls at the gym. How long has it been since you’ve looked any different? Why aren’t you growing?

Maybe it’s because muscles love routine. They love routine because it allows them to adapt to the scheme and stop growing. Now it’s probably true that you’ve been adding volume gradually over time, but that’s only half the story. Static rep schemes and low-intensity pace are undermining your opportunities for growth even as you add plates to the bar. Consistency is the hobgoblin of muscle mass increase.

Traditional mass programs adhere strictly to high volume with low to moderate intensity, grinding high-rep sets to near failure. This old school pump-and-burn strategy misconstrues the true role of volume for building muscle mass. While it’s true that high-volume sets and high-rep workouts will disrupt homeostasis enough to elicit a hormonal response and trigger short-term growth, it’s the accrual of high-intensity volume over a shorter time frame and less reps that solidifies a muscular frame. In short, you have to raise intensity and shock your muscles.

So, what to do? Here are four strategies that you can implement right away to keep accruing stress and packing on high-intensity mass.

1Cluster Sets

This strategy is a cross-over; it meets the end of high intra-workout volume and intensity. The key, however, is the intensity. Cluster sets build intra-set and intra-workout volume while maintaining work at a high intensity. Greater volumes of work with high intensities build bigger muscles. Cluster strategies allow for that work because the volume is interspersed with short rest periods. Here’s an example cluster strategy contrasted against a straight-set, high volume loading approach.

Bench Press Cluster
4 x 3-3-2 (each dash signifies 10-15 seconds of rest)
Total volume: 32 reps
Intensity: 80%-85% of 1RM

Bench Press Straight Set
3 x 12
Total volume: 36 reps
Intensity: about 70% of 1RM

While a straight set strategy of similar volume produces more reps, the cluster set strategy promotes work at higher intensities. We lose a few reps in the cluster strategy, but the work at 80% of 1RM incurs more hypertrophy producing stress than work at 70% of 1RM.

25 x 5 Assistance Exercises

Lifters have been using the five-sets-of-five strategy for decades, but for some unknown reason it’s fallen out of favor in recent years. We have no idea why. Like cluster strategies, five sets of five promotes work at high intensities (a five rep max for a given lift is typically between 85% and 90% of 1RM). Twenty-five reps is also a fair amount of volume. Rather than finishing your main exercise and immediately bumping your accessory exercises up to sets of ten, stick with sets of five and keep moving heavy weight.  

3Reduced Rest

Lifters often disregard the rest period as a training variable worth manipulating. This is a mistake. Cutting rest while keeping intensity up creates a serious disturbance that elicits a strong hormonal response.

Here’s your programming option. For four weeks try keeping your volume and intensity constant while reducing the amount of rest between sets each week. Start out with ninety seconds of rest and progress down to forty-five seconds. By the end of the month you’ll have created an internal environment that’s primed for growth.

4Olympic Lift/Powerlift Complexes

This theme is easy to follow: grab heavy weights and move them fast. The Olympia/Powerlift complex recruits high-threshold motor units, the ones that grow the fastest. Completing them is simple; pick an Olympic lift and load it with light to moderate weight, follow that with a powerlift loaded at higher intensity. Complete the Olympic lift (two or three reps is sufficient) rest for thirty seconds to one minute and then hit the power movement. A good combination here is the hang clean and the bench press. The violent pull and shoulder external rotation of the clean followed closely by the strong push and shoulder internal rotation of the bench press builds colossal and stable shoulders.

Supplemental Support for Super Intensity

Ramping up pace and intensity while also adding volume is a major challenge. Letting fifteen seconds turn into twenty and twenty-five seconds between sets is especially tempting when you’re dealing with heavier payloads. The temptation to employ movement “cheats” is ever present as well. Who’s gonna know, right? Well, your muscles will know. They want nothing more than to stay exactly as big as they are right now.

This is where a top-notch thermogenic energy catalyst can work wonders. BetaStax Elite from BioQuest has long been the #1 choice for workout warriors looking to jack up focus, intensity, and work output during their sets. BetaStax Elite contains a complex of advanced energy-supporting co-factors designed specifically to deliver a smooth, vitalizing surge of energy that will power you through your higher-volume, higher-intensity, swiftly paced sets with laser-focused intensity and perfect form. You’ll feel that vigorous up-surge within minutes too, due to BetaStax Elite’s unique Liquid SpeedCap™ delivery system. And it will last for hours without the energy crash or jitters so prevalent in lesser energy-support formulas.

Even better, BetaStax Elite will support fat loss at the same time. Its key active ingredient, PureWay-Slim®, has been shown to be an exceptionally powerful transformational agent. Indeed, in clinical testing PureWay-Slim® has been associated with significant reductions in body weight, waist and hip circumferences. In a comparison of clinical studies, the PureWay-Slim® blend found in BetaStax Elite achieved more weight-loss in two weeks than other leading weight-loss compounds achieved in eight weeks. BetaStax Elite has also been further amplified with the addition of two more ultra-potent botanical extracts to provide optimum effect via even more pathways of weight-loss support.

Would you like a little male hormonal support with your amped-up energy levels? Then another BioQuest product, the ultimate testosterone-charged pre-workout technology AndroFury is just what you’re looking for. AndroFury also contains a high-impact complex of advanced energy-supporting co-factors, as well as key potentiators of increased endurance, enhanced muscle pump, and sharpened mental focus, plus essential aminos to support recovery.

In addition, AndroFury’s key active ingredient, a full-spectrum protodioscin-rich botanical super compound clinically validated to modulate and optimize endogenous testosterone levels, will help to ramp your power and aggression into the stratosphere. Maxed-out testosterone levels are absolutely essential to optimizing pace, intensity, work output and recovery (as well as supporting a host of other overall wellness factors) and AndroFury will pave the way for enormously productive workouts that will trigger renewed and significant muscle growth. AndroFury is the workout warrior’s secret weapon.


Variety and speed are key. Don’t allow yourself to fall into repetitive, boring ruts. Keep things heavy and cluster your sets. Five sets of five is always a powerful size builder and rest periods can’t be ignored as a authoritative size building variable. Olympic lift and Powerlift complexes recruit mass-building high-threshold motor units. Supplement wisely. Mass isn’t a battle that’s quickly fought. It’s a war that requires persistence and dedication. Now hit the floor and do it.

Read more about BetaStax Elite here.

Read more about AndroFury here.

Use as directed with a sensible diet and exercise program that includes reduced caloric intake and increased physical activity. Consult a health care professional before beginning any weight loss program. Read and follow all product label instructions and warnings thoroughly before use. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.