Jump Set Routine

jump set routine

As you know, successful weight training is all about making improvements in the gym. One must strive to improve each successive workout if there are to be any noticeable results.

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However, with each improved workout there comes and increase in workout intensity which will demand more physical effort.

This of course, is dependant on whether or not we want to improve our current situation.

If we want to build a better body, we must improve from workout to workout which will slowly get us to our ultimate goal.

However, this means working harder and harder with each passing session.

It's kind of a paradoxical situation because you would think that as a person gets better and better, things would get a little easier. This is not the case with building a ripped, shredded and muscular body - It doesn't get easier it just gets harder and harder. However, the rewards (Output) well outweigh the effort (Input).

Now, as we improve and get stronger, some of us may come to a fork in the road. The question is how do we keep adding the necessary intensity in order to stimulate more growth in our bodies? Well, there are plenty of techniques available and one in particular, which I will discuss here.

Jump sets have been used for ages in order to increase both, the overall training volume and intensity of certain exercises. Often used by the old time greats such as Arnold and Sergio, this technique allows a person to add more volume and intensity while maintaining, or even reducing the amount of time needed to complete a given workout.

Similar to super sets, jump sets use two different body parts, such as chest and biceps and works both muscle groups, within the same overall time frame. Here's an example. Let's say I want to do 4 jump sets for lying dumbbell fly's and standing dumbbell curls.

I would first do a set of dumbbell fly's, rest for about 40 seconds and than perform a set of dumbbell curls. Once this jump set is completed, I would take a complete break before performing the next jump set and repeat until both exercises are complete.

Here's another way of looking at it.

Jump set 1

Dumbbell fly 1 x 12 repetitions; Rest 50 seconds
Standing alternate dumbbell curl 1 x 12 repetitions; Break

Jump set 2

Dumbbell fly 1 x 12 repetitions; Rest 50 seconds
Standing alternate dumbbell curl 1 x 12 repetitions; Break

Jump set 3

Dumbbell fly 1 x 12 repetitions; Rest 50 seconds
Standing alternate dumbbell curl 1 x 12 repetitions; Break

Jump set 4

Dumbbell fly 1 x 10 repetitions; Rest 40 seconds
Standing alternate dumbbell curl 1 x 10 repetitions; Break

Remember, this is not a super set. With a super set, there is no rest between exercises and this is the main difference between the two. Of course, weight progression can be used with a jump set.

One of the biggest advantages to using jump sets over traditional, progressive style sets is energy expenditure. Traditional style sets are progressive which takes more time and effort to perform. For example, let's take a look at two exercises, flat bench fly's and standing alternate curls performed in a traditional progressive manner.

Flat bench fly

Set 1 - 1 x 12 repetitions
Set 2 - 1 x 12 repetitions
Set 3 - 1 x 12 repetitions
Set 4 - 1 x 10 repetitions

Standing alternate curl

Set 1 - 1 x 12 repetitions
Set 2 - 1 x 12 repetitions
Set 3 - 1 x 12 repetitions
Set 4 - 1 x 10 repetitions

In the above example, the traditional progressive style set will deplete time and energy reserves. By the time a person reaches the last set for the second exercise, energy reserves will be depleting, greatly affecting strength and stamina levels.

The trick is to keep strength and stamina levels high in order to improve intensity levels in which more effort can be applied. With a jump set, both of these exercises are combined which 1) Keeps stamina and strength levels relatively high And; 2) Takes less time to complete.

All in all, jump sets can allow one to train with either additional weight or more repetitions in the latter sets. This will, in effect, improve overall intensity levels which will allow one to steadily improve from one workout to the next.

Jump sets work best for what are called agonist and antagonist and antagonist muscle groups. Agonist muscle groups are thought of as “prime movers” in a movement where the antagonist muscle group works to extend of bring the muscle to it's original position. The best way to think about it is “push” and “pull”. Examples include the biceps / triceps and chest / back.

Here are some jump set muscle groupings:

  • Biceps and triceps;
  • Chest and back;
  • Quadriceps and hamstrings;
  • Shoulders and trapezius

Okay, let's take a look at a sample jump set routine. This is a basic routine and can be adjusted to match that of your own experience. If you are more advanced, feel free to add additional exercises, sets, or repetitions. I prefer to use a weight progression for each set. That is, I will increase the weight with each jump set up to an 80% maximum.

Quadriceps and hamstrings

Leg press jump set with lying leg curls: 4 jump sets of 12

Chest and back

Dumbbell bench press jump set with bent over barbell rows: 4 sets of 12

Shoulders and trapezius

Seated dumbbell shoulder press jump set with standing barbell shrug: 4 sets of 12

Biceps and triceps

Standing barbell curls jump set with close grip bench press: 4 sets of 12

Abs and lower back

Crunches jump set with hyperextensions: 4 sets of 12

To view exercise illustrations and descriptions, please see our exercise database page here

This is but a sample of the exercise combinations you can do with jump sets. The important thing to remember here is additional muscle stimulation through higher intensity levels. By using jump sets, you can effectively add more exercise intensity and volume in a much shorter time frame.

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As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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