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Continuous Tension Reps for More Muscle

Continuous Tension Reps for More Muscle

Check out this set of lateral raises with partner assisted manual resistance. This technique accentuates what Mel Siff in Supertraining calls – continuous tension sets. The goal of this technique is to allow the lifter to develop maximum muscular contraction with submaximal weights. I like this for a lot reasons for lateral raises, front raises, lat pull downs (pulling UP on the bar as they pull down) tricep exercises, bicep exercises, and many other isolation exercises where the lifter is at a leverage disadvantage with the external loading.

Allowing a maximal engagement of the target muscle group(s) with lighter weights for isolation exercises has amazing potential for older lifters. You’ll also see that you can clean up a lot of momentum in a repetition and poor technique when the effort is high, the reps are low, and the focus and intent is 100%. Especially for exercises that are notorious for bad form and where most lifters use momentum to throw the weights.

In this specific application, what you’ll see is the lifter is using the heaviest weight they could typically use to perform a 30 rep set (their 30RM) – and the goal is to hit 20 total reps. To start the set, the lifter will pull the weights to the top position and the repetition will begin with the partner pushing down on the lifter’s arms at approximately 50% pressure. The most important goal of the technique is that the lifter does NOT allow their arms to come off the partner’s hands at any point in the repetition. So that means at the bottom of the rep, the partner lets off the pressure and the lifter will drive their arms powerfully back to the top position. So the pressure from the partner is only downward!

Right away, you’ll see how effective this technique really is for creating maximal muscular contraction – as fatigue sets in – and as the set progresses. The pump is insane and there is very limited pressure at the shoulder joint where you would normally feel it when heavy weights with any isolation exercise.

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By on February 20th, 2020


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