Bodybuilders through the ages have sought ways to make their workouts more intense and effective. The most common—and the most popular—method is to extend your sets by cheating to failure after you have performed every possible strict rep. Why is it so important to extend a set? Because you keep the tension on the muscle longer, which overloads it better. If you do six reps and stop, the muscle is under tension for maybe 20 seconds. If you do 15 to 20 reps, it’s under tension significantly longer—perhaps 45 to 50 seconds.
Techniques used to extend sets include forced reps and negatives—assuming you have training a partner who can assist you—supersets, tri-sets and drop sets. They all keep the muscle under tension longer and make workouts more intense. Assuming you are following a high-protein diet and recuperating fully from your workouts, the payoff will be increased muscle size and better overall muscularity.
All serious bodybuilders should use those methods to stimulate muscle growth from time to time (not at every workout) to shock your muscles into new growth and keep them from adapting. Still, they aren’t the only ways to increase intensity and extend sets. One method that doesn’t get very much press is what I call “extended-set combinations.” It enables bodybuilders working out on their own to perform more repetitions and train with greater intensity than would normally be possible—without resorting to supersets, tri-sets, drop sets and forced reps and negatives.
EZ-curl-bar lying triceps extensions to EZ-curl-bar close-grip bench presses
An example of an extend-ed-set com-bination is lying triceps extensions done to failure, followed immediately by close-grip bench presses to failure.