As someone’s body gets more and more advanced, different body regions will start to manifest as strengths while others may be considered weaknesses. Whether that’s due to genetic or skill differences, we’re all bound to have body parts we deem weaker than others. Here are 4 ways to program for improved weak points.
Put It First
The finest work is done at the beginning of a workout. If I’m going through a training block to emphasize quadriceps, I’m going to put my quad work first. I’ve got the most focus, least amount of fatigue, and greatest ability to lift heavy weight. Think about doing 4 sets of heavy squats at the end of a workout. No shot. You might be able to complete the 4 sets, but how many reps are you leaving on the table due to lack of energy, effort, etc? If you really want to overload a body part, put it first.
Increase the Volume
It’s pretty undeniable the direct correlation between increased volume and hypertrophy. This is why tracking your numbers is so dang important. I have my own preferences as far as tracking volume, but what’s important here is to understand that if I have lagging triceps, I need to do increased amounts of triceps volume.
Think About Angles
Different fibers… of the same muscle… are better targeted… with a variety of angles. Practically speaking, this means incorporating several different exercisesthat each take the target muscle through a slightly different range. For instance, if I mean to prioritize my chest, I should likely incorporate some version of flat pressing, incline pressing, and fly movements. Experimenting with barbell, dumbbell, and cable work can all be useful to hit the widest array of fibers.
Varying Rep Ranges
Given that muscle groups are made up of fast-twitch fibers, slow-twitch fibers, and every sort of twitch fibers in between, it’s likely beneficial to use a variety of rep ranges to target each. We know fast-twitch fibers grow the most. In this context, fast-twitch muscle fibers can be thought of as those being hit by a set of fewer than about 12 reps. This is where we get the whole 8-12 rep range for bodybuilding, and I do believe that most productive training lies somewhere around that range. However, it stands to reason that spending time with higher rep sets of 15-30 may be quite beneficial for hypertrophy as well.
Take Home Message
Put your lagging muscle group first in a workout.
More volume = more growth, so increase the volume for the target muscle as able.
Train the muscle group with a variety of exercises that involve numerous angles.
Choose a variety of rep ranges to make sure you’re hitting every muscle fiber you can.
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