“It is better to live one day like a lion, than a thousand days as a lamb.” – Roman proverb
As a child, my mom and I would argue about the above saying.
The argument would usually come as a result of her telling me that I needed to relax more and enjoy life.
I remember one particular sunny Saturday morning when I was fifteen years old. I was locked away in my room practicing Jimi Hendrix (my favorite Jimi song) and Stevie Ray Vaughan (favorite SRV song) songs on my electric guitar. My mom opened the door and said that everyone was headed to the cottage in thirty minutes. I told her that I wasn’t going.
Mom: “You have to, Todd. Everyone is going.”
Todd: “Not me.”
Mom: “What are you going to do here?”
Todd: “I have to practice my guitar. If I want to get as good as Jimi, I have to practice.”
Mom: “But it’s such a nice day; you can take a day off.”
Todd: “Sorry,” I said, “not gonna happen.”
Mom: “You need to relax more.”
Todd: “I’d rather work toward my dreams, live one day like a lion and give my all, than relax and live a thousand days as a lamb.”
Looking back, I certainly could have taken the day off (especially because I quit practicing the guitar a few years later), but this mentality was part of my life (and, honestly, still very much is.) When you’re working towards a goal, you have to give it everything you have. You have to leave no stone unturned. When you’re building muscle, this is also true.
There are many muscle fibers within a single muscle group. Using one exercise to target the muscle group is not enough to fatigue all the muscle fibers. You have to target the the muscle group from different angles.
The best way to do that is by using The Bodyweight Omni Set Technique.
What Is The Bodyweight Omni Set Technique?
“Omni” means “all things” or “in all places”.
The Omni Set is a technique that works “all” portions of a muscle group.
This technique is a hybrid between a super set and drop set, and focuses on one single muscle group. A super set is when you perform multiple exercises in a row without stopping. A drop set is when you go from a more challenging exercise to an easier exercise that targets the same muscle group.
The Bodyweight Omni Set Technique is gruesome and will tear more muscle fibers than when performing a single exercise. In the example below, I’ll take you through an Omni Set for the chest muscle group using an assortment of push-ups.
Bodyweight Omni Set:
- Pike Push-up – Works the highest fibers in the chest muscle group
- High Decline Push-up – Works high fibers in the chest muscle group
- Low Decline Push-up – Works high fibers in the chest
- Regular Push-up – Works the middle portion of the chest
- Low Incline Push-up – Works the lower portion of the chest
- High Incline Push-up – Works an even lower portion of the chest
- Super High Incline Push-up – Works the lower portion of the chest and fully fatigues the chest muscle group
There should be no rest breaks between the above exercises. You’ll immediately move from one exercise to the next. After you make it through all of the exercises, rest for 45 seconds, then go through the sequence four more times for a total of five sets. You’ll have an amazing pump in your chest and you’ll be incredibly sore.
Important Points To Remember When Doing Omni Sets
1. Push the floor away.
When doing a push-up, think about pushing the floor away from you. This will help engage more muscle fibers than if you were to simply let gravity carry you down. “Pushing the floor away” is a mental cue, but when you get it right you’ll feel your chest muscles contract even more.
Another push-up technique to try is squeezing the ground together between your hands. Pretend that the ground between your hands is a high-tension spring. As you go up and down, squeeze this spring together.
2. Continuous tension.
This technique requires that you don’t take any rest at all during the movement, especially at the top. Keep the muscles engaged. Keep your focus on the muscle that you’re working.
When doing push-ups, if you try to just knock out a certain number of reps, your body will adapt and recruit other muscle groups in order to complete the movement (the triceps, for example). This is NOT what we want. It is important to focus on the muscle that you’re working.
3. Eccentric downward movement.
When completing the downward portion of the movement, it should take you a total of five seconds. The greatest amount of muscle tearing occurs during the eccentric portion of the movement, so this should be slow and controlled. Do a five second count on the way down, and a one second count on the way up. You should not be worried about how many reps you’re getting. Instead just focus on the eccentric movement and the other principles outlined in this post.
Chest Omni Set Exercises
1. Pike Push-ups
2. High Decline Push-ups
3. Low Decline Push-ups
4. Regular Push-ups
5. Low Incline Push-ups
6. High Incline Push Ups
7. Super High Incline Push-ups
After you’ve tried this technique, let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Also, remember that the Omni Set Technique can be used for any body part. Changing angles is a great way to target different muscle fibers and make bodyweight exercises more challenging.