4 Ways to Test Your Grit in the Weightroom

TAGS: glutes, chest, hamstrings, programming, back, chains, bands, muscle, strength, deadlift, squat, powerlifting, strength training, bench press, training

Every once in a while, I have a great idea. Then I carry out that idea and it turns out that it was a bad, sometimes even horrible, idea. Sometimes these ideas are simply to spice up training and challenge myself and other times it’s to try and mess up a training partner. So if you’re looking for a challenge but a way to freshen things up, give these a shot. Just don’t complain to me afterward.

Serrano Split Squat Drop Set

Every one of my clients knows the Serrano split squat (SSS) drop set and they all hate them. While these are most often performed with body weight, I’m actually dumb enough to do them as a drop set using chains. Now these can be bad enough normally, but if you can do them with weight (or even occluded), you can experience the bad idea to the fullest. I started doing these in 2013 and could only do two reps. Take your time and ease into this.

From parallel, ascend one-third of the way, hold for a three-count, return to parallel before ascending to two-thirds of the way up, hold for a three-count and then return to parallel before ascending all the way up. That’s one rep. Try to do three sets of six to eight reps.

Glute Ham Raise Variations

These are easy…if you can do glute ham raises at all! For me, plain ol’ glute ham raises just don’t do the trick anymore. So here are a few ways that I’ve tried to push the volume and make my hamstrings grow.

21s: Do seven back raises followed by seven glute ham raises from parallel and then finish with seven through a full range of motion. If 21 is too many to begin with, try sixes, nines and so on.

Rest-pause to failure: After reading some of Scott Stevenson’s Fortitude Training ebook, which I highly recommend, I decided to try a rest-pause set. This isn’t exactly what Scott said to do in his book, but it was still brutal. I started with two bands around my neck, with the goal of six sets totaling 24 reps using 10 seconds of rest between each set. I could drop bands as necessary to get to the finish.

Ladders: These are performed in the same manner as Serrano Split Squats, so if you liked those, these are also a winner.

100 Reps

This can be used as a simple time saver or a massive time saver or both.

One hundro straight up: The goal is to do 100 reps in as few sets as possible. I like this most for extra pump-style workouts. This can be done with everything from glute ham raises and reverse hypers to side raises and curls. I first tried this with curls after neglecting my biceps for a long time. Let’s just say that I didn’t straighten my arms out for four days!

Try four to six total sets.

Drop set: On the scale of bad to worse, this one is a hard “worse.” I worked up to 11 plates on the reverse hyperextension and then the drop set began. Ten reps, drop a plate, 10 reps, drop a plate and so on until there was only one plate left. This took me over five minutes to complete.

A Song

This is a really simple, great challenge and it's strangely enjoyable. Pick an exercise, play a song and go! I picked this idea up from Westside years ago. Personally, my favorite exercises to use are pull-down abs, lat pull-downs, calf work or face pulls. Rest as little as possible and pump them out.

When I recently did this, I chose lat pull-downs and a four-minute and thirty-second song. I kept knocking out sets of 25 or 15 with about 15 seconds in between, totaling about 90 reps.

Conclusion

You now have some horrible ideas to try out alone or with a training partner. All joking aside, I really do love doing stuff like this. Training needs to be fun and challenging, both mentally and physically. Try out at least one and then post your results (hopefully with video) in the comments! Something’s going to hurt the next day, so consider yourself warned!

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