Looking in the mirror, you see only the lagging muscle groups that look at you? Shock weak muscles and make them grow with prescriptions written by professional athletes!
Author: Shannon Clarke
What do you see in the mirror: an ideally symmetrical and harmonious physique, or at least one disappointing part of the body that refuses to grow? It does not matter if it's thin hands, weak thigh muscles or thin calves, almost all of us have at least one problematic muscle group or a lagging zone, which we sincerely want to pull up. Fortunately, we are not alone, and certainly not helpless!
Concentrating on a lagging muscular group is the key to creating a balanced physique, and small expert advice can be exactly what the doctor prescribed. Here are some of the best strategies of elite athletes of the MuscleTech team, aimed at creating a perfect body without weaknesses, in which every muscle, from small to large, is in a state of absolute harmony.
When personal trainer Lindsay Capponelli needs to pull up the lagging part of the body, she focuses on targeted training with a high frequency. "When I want to pull up a lagging muscle group, I train it 2-3 times a week," she explains. "One day is devoted to a hard little rehearsal, and the next training I change strategy, I work with less weight and raise the amount of workload."
Increasing the weekly volume of exercise, combined with additional stimuli, can accelerate muscle growth. If you really want to tighten a certain part of the body, use the Cappolli approach and add one more workout – or increase the time for the target muscle in one of the planned workouts – in your training split. Just make sure that between the trainings of the same muscle group there are at least 48 hours of rest.
Model Aron Gauli advocates a similar approach. He likes to include extra workouts for slowly growing body parts. "Having made sure that the muscles have enough time for rest and growth, I pump the lagging group with additional training," he says. Four days after the target muscle is pumped through heavy compound exercises, he returns to the multi-rehearsal training room in the range of 12 to 20 repetitions.
The purpose of this training is to give the muscle fibers a new stimulus, and not to mend them completely. This allows you to start a new growth without overloading any part of the body.
"Make sure you do not just do the movements on the machine," adds Gauli, "but you perform them slowly and feel every repetition phase from beginning to end, sending the maximum amount of blood to the target muscle tissue."
Monotonous repetition of the same set of exercises for a certain muscle group may soon slow its development, but this does not mean that you need to reshape the entire training program. Often even a small adjustment leads to changes that help break through the invisible wall.
To stimulate the development of muscles that refuse to grow, start a training session for this area from another exercise. "Starting each time with the new exercise, you get the ability to pump every muscle with maximum energy," says Katie Miller, a professional fitness bikini model.
For example, if you want to tighten the muscles of the shoulder girdle, do not go back to every training session to press the dumbbell above your head. Next time, start with Arnold's bench press, standing bar press or with another variant of multi-joint movement to make variety!
If you do not get the desired result with a muscle group, you probably do not activate it in all possible ways. "Working on lagging muscles makes you critically evaluate your technique and fix it to create more effective neuromuscular connections," says fitness model Sean Russell.
"Once you understand how to squeeze or contract the muscle more efficiently, you can work on its shape."
It is easy to lose the connection between consciousness and muscles, when you lift the transcendental weight and pile up pancakes on the bar. Meanwhile, to spur muscle growth, sometimes you just need to throw off the working weight, slow down the pace and make the quality of each repetition a priority.
For the fitness model of Jimmy Everett, work on lagging muscle groups is to add repetitions. "The higher the load on a particular muscle group, the more it will end up," he says. One of the simplest ways to increase the training volume in each approach is to work in a higher range of repetitions.
For example, if you constantly train back muscles with sets of 6-8 repetitions, it's time to master a more specific training in the 8-12 reps range, grounded for hypertrophy. If you can handle 6-8 repetitions with a certain weight, try squeezing more repetitions with it. However, if you do not like it, reduce the weight by a small percentage before increasing the repetition in the approach.
If it so happens that the lagging muscle groups are hands or feet – or even one side of the body – think about adding exercises for one limb to correct the imbalance. "My favorite device for the lagging part of the body is one-sided isolation," says NPC member, bodybuilder Jesse Hobbs. "My left quadriceps always lag behind, so I focus on doing a bench press with one foot, squats on one leg, or leg extensions to keep balance."
If in the usual situation you focus on bilateral exercises with the barbell or in the simulators, it is important to add movements with one limb to balance the strength and volume of the musculature. When you constantly perform standard bench presses using both halves of your body, the likelihood of overcompensating your strength is high. This can leave the other half far behind. Unilateral exercises will help to avoid this.
6. Evaluate your training program
When the creation of a harmonious and symmetrical physique is at stake, a good training program becomes the key to success. "Yes, everyone has a lagging area, but before you aim at it, it's important to make sure that the whole training program is balanced and well organized," says Daniela Beausoleil.
Remember, your training plan should be based on basic exercises that develop the volume and strength of the muscles of the whole body. Isolation movements with clear targeting are good for forming courses, but for a harmonious development of the musculature they must go after the fundamental presses, such as bench press, squats, deadlifts and press above the head.
Moreover, your training split should work through all areas of the body, not just the top or bottom, chest or back. If you are limping a whole muscle mass, for example, the musculature of the lower body or back, you may be too zealous with the top or "mirror muscles" and fail with other key areas. This can lead to muscle and muscle imbalances, slow growth in other areas and even injuries.
If you feel that the current training program does not have enough workload for the whole muscle mass, find a more appropriate, balanced plan that suits your specific goals.