The post-activation potentiation technique, a fancy name for the ability of one exercise to immediately and positively impact the performance of the exercise that follows, also recruits more muscle fibers to complete the task. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that rugby players’ sprint performance improved after they did a heavy set (three reps at 90% 1RM) of barbell squats.
Similarly, by performing explosive moves before pushing heavy weight on the bench you can bring more muscle into play and excite the fast-twitch fibers in your chest so they’ll be primed to hoist heavy weight in your next movement.
Another technique is reverse pyramiding, in which you decrease the load on each set. As your fast-twitch fibers fatigue, you’ll recruit more muscle fiber types and increase blood flow to the pecs as the volume increases.
- For exercise #2, reduce weight each set to fail at the rep count listed.
- For exercise #3, use a rest-pause method: Break 12-15 seconds after failure before resuming the set, continuing until all reps are complete.
- For exercise #4, choose a desired rep count. If you fail before then, rest only as many seconds as you have reps remaining and resume in this manner until you complete the set.