So of course as you can see from the title of the post fatiguing your muscles...there are a variety of ways to do this right and wrong so I'm going to give you some tips to really get deeper into those muscles.
Muscle tissue, the building blocks for strength, lean body mass, and allows us to eat more food! Muscle tissue is very dense tissue and in order to properly fatigue them we need to break down the muscle to build it back up---BUT BETTER, and that doesn't mean working to failure (example: doing lat pull downs until you can't any more) on every exercise. Actually working out to failure every single time is actually detrimental to what we are trying to accomplish and can lead to over training...and I mean true failure not just I am fatigued for this set.
Technique 1) working to failure
Let's do a little defining too, fatigue: muscle fatigue is the decline of the ability of the muscles to continue working. Failure: the loss of ability to do another repetition due to lack of form and over all exhaustion. Now there is some controversy on the issue but 9 times out of 10 your LAST set of reps should be the only one you do to failure UNLESS you are working with someone who is trained and has a specific purpose in mind. Like for example, right now for my figure competition I need certain muscle groups to be more muscular than others and they happen to be larger muscle groups so I need to break them down deep into the tissue so I will perform more sets to failure. However if I were not training for a specific purpose this could be counterproductive. For someone just trying to increase their lean body mass these techniques are not always necessary.
Technique 2) Squeeze and stretch
This is one I think we all tend to think we do but unless you are actively paying attention to it you may be missing out!
So we have a few different muscle actions we are doing depending on what exercise and what muscle group, let's keep it simple and use the biceps. So in doing a biceps curl with weight we have concentric and eccentric movements (contracting and shortening the muscle and releases and lengthening the muscle). Now assuming you have the perfect form...and yes I will touch on that in just a little while...when you contract you really need to A) have the right weight and b)of course again right form then from there contract up and SQUEEZE and then lower down and STRETCH! What this does is it fatigues the muscle deeper and increases muscle break down so we can build stronger muscles.
These are all different ways to perform exercises to get deeper into the tissue and fatigue more muscle fibers...and the more fibers you fatigue the stronger you get (as long as you properly heal them...coming soon).
Drop set- typically performed at the end of the set. In essence, I would do as many reps as I could at a heavy weight and then the next set right after, without rest I would do the same exercise but drop the weight down about 10% and then continue until I couldn't do any more with that weight. Depending on your style, knowledge or trainer you may perform 3-5 drops or you may only perform 1.
Super set- performing multiple exercise back to back taking no rest other than the time it takes to prepare for the next exercise. This can be done with opposing muscle groups (biceps and triceps) or the same (chest press to chest fly etc). The whole goal is again to get deeper into the muscle and break down more fibers.
Giant set- similar to a super set but it typically has more to it...super sets are 2 exercises and giant sets can be anywhere from 3-5 depending on the work out, body part, and trainer. Ex: flat bench chest press, incline fly, knee tucks
Technique 4) varying your sets and reps...usually lifting for hypertrophy with 8-10? Mix it up and try 12-15 once in a while! Always doing 5 sets? Decrease the sets to 3 and lift for endurance. Your body won't be used to it and it is another great way to change things up and keep your body guessing!
There is no one size fits all method but hopefully now you will get a better understanding of muscle fatiguing to grow!
How often do you strength train?