Arnold Shock the Muscle for Growth
Before we go into any detail on Arnolds rather passionate plea to shock the muscles into growth, we first need to make something perfectly clear. The shock principals and techniques listed below should ONLY be used when you discover that you've hit a plateau. Normal straight sets are all a muscle requires before it needs to be "shocked" out of its training plateau.
To continue growing muscle you need your body to always be adapting to new stimuli and there are countless different ways of changing these stimuli, by we are only going to discuss 4 different movements today that have been used by bodybuilders to shock the muscles into growth for the last 60 odd years.
1. Drop Sets:
Drop sets are when X weight are taken with dumbbells or weighted barbells doing as many reps as possible. When the point of failure is reached, you then strip off a little bit of weight and do another set as many as possible. Ideally these sets are done without taking any rest between sets.
Drop sets are not for the faint of heart, this is real pain and requires some real mental toughness. If you doing them properly it'll burn the targeted muscle like it is hell-fire. Beginners who have never done drops sets before should start off slowly and never do more than only one of the movements listed below on any single workout.
2. Super Sets:
Super-setting is usually how a bodybuilder/weight trainer would start to shock the muscles. A super-set, is when two exercises are done immediately after each other without taking a break, just like doing drop sets having a training partner or a spotter would help a lot.
The variations are countless but let's say you're doing a movement like a D/B fly and you're going to superset it with an incline bench-press. This is called a pre-exhaust technique because the weight you'll be able to handle will always be a LOT less than it would be if you started with the second exercise.
Arnold was big on doing supersets, in one of his many training videos online you'll see him super-setting a compound chest movement with a back exercise. It takes a lot out of you and increases the intensity of your workout, so you need to start off mixing light weights until you get used to super-setting.
Below is a brief list of some common super-set pairings that many bodybuilders use to help break through a training plateau:
Leg extensions superset with Lying leg curls
Barbell curls superset with Weighted dips
D/B side laterals superset with Behind neck press
Flyes superset with Bench presses
Pullovers superset with Barbell rows
Leg extensions superset with Squats
3. Giant Sets:
Giant sets are the same as supersets but you're now doing 3 or 4 different exercises done back to back with little or no rest. Giant sets are more for advanced bodybuilders because when using a weight that is more than 60% of your 1RM you have very little left in you by the time you get to the third exercise in the giant set.
4. Forced Reps:
Forced reps are done by forcing the muscles to go beyond their usual capacity. This last shock technique requires a spotter or training partner who knows what they doing because you first do a set reaching positive failure. Let's say you're reaching this positive failure at around 8 reps doing 200lbs bench-press, you would then add another 10lbs and with the help of a spotter squeeze out another 6 reps.