Advanced Workout Principle: Crash Sets

By the time you've been training for a good year or so, your muscles are starting to get fairly used to the stimulus of resistance training. As such, in order to boost results up a notch and make sure you don't hit the dreaded plateau, it becomes increasing important to continually try new techniques.  One such technique that's great to add and will challenge the muscles are crash sets.

Let's take a closer look at what crash sets are exactly and how you can go about implementing them into your program.


The Definition of Crash Sets

If you've read through past advanced trainee workout techniques, you will have already learned about tri-sets, where you perform three different exercises back to back. In that type of training set, all three exercises will be slightly different and will work different muscles in the body.

With crash sets however, you are still going to be performing three different exercises all in a row, the only difference being that now all three exercises are for the same muscle group.

So for example, if you were going to do a crash set for the biceps, you would do barbell curls followed immediately by incline curls, followed immediately by hammer curls.

This fashion of moving through one exercise to the next really boosts up the overall intensity and stimulates the muscle from a variety of different angles. This is what prompts further growth and increases the overall results you obtain.


Who Benefits From Crash Sets

The individuals who will benefit most from crash sets are those who can tolerate a bit higher volume in terms of workload as well as those who are eating in a calorie surplus so have no shortage of muscle glycogen.  If you attempt crash sets while dieting, especially with a low carb diet, you will likely sputter out after a set or two as the muscles become fully exhausted of their stored fuel source – glycogen.

Those who are on fat loss diets would be much better off using alternate techniques that will be far superior in terms of overall muscle retention and benefits.


How To Add Crash Sets To Your Training

Finally, where you place crash sets in your workout will depend upon the muscle group being worked.  If you were going to attempt crash sets for chest (for example doing bench press, then seated cable fly's and then finally dips) you would do it closer to the start of the session when the chest is fresh.

Just bear in mind that after you're done with those crash sets you may not have much left in you to perform alternate movements, but the good news is that often you'll work a number of muscles at once during that crash set (the shoulders and triceps would be worked quite heavily in this example), therefore the crash sets along with perhaps a bit of isolate work should be enough to complete the workout.

If you're going to use the crash sets for an isolated body part, then you should do this towards the end of the workout to really finish it off.  Attempting it too early at the start would burn out the CNS early and sacrifice your ability to lift heavy later on during the session.

So do be sure you keep these points in mind when thinking about crash sets. When done correctly they are one of the most intense training principles you can use and should lead you to see noticeable results.