Everyone has that showcase body part or muscle group which always seems to shine above the rest. At the same time, we all probably have that muscle group which lags behind all the others. It’s always better to “nip it in the bud” and fix these weaker areas before they become long term problems.
Many bodybuilders try to avoid thinking about the muscle groups that are very weak, telling themselves they’ll just draw focus to their strongest areas. This only lasts until your first bodybuilding show, where weaknesses are exposed very quickly. In order to avoid this, you should tackle these weak areas now, and make the gains you need immediately. Here are some tips for stimulating growth in each of the major muscle groups.
If your legs are weak, you need to get work now. Bodybuilders are notorious for spending many hours each week hitting their upper body, but letting their legs lag behind several years in terms of development. Placing them first in your weekly training schedule is a good start. Making a conscious effort to include 4 to 8 sets of low, medium, and high volume repetition ranges is also a very good idea. Instead of working to make them ‘more’ of a priority, they no be THE priority as you train each week. Eat more food as well, since skinny legs are often a sign of inadequate nutrition.
Most beginning bodybuilders train chest, but many of them do so in a very unbalanced manner. Frequently, bodybuilders will bench press 1 to 3 times per week during their initial months of foray into the weight room. This emphasis on flat pressing (while neglecting incline dumbbell and barbell work) often leads to a thick, bunched up middle chest and very poor upper pectorals. Use a lot of sets, and give chest its own training day each week. Full repetitions in which you flex and feel each repetition with moderate weight are more effective than extremely heavy reps with a spotter doing half of the work for you.
Heavy free weight training using a variety of repetition ranges is the answer to back muscles that will not grow. Limit your cable and machine work to 25% of your back training day, and track your free weight poundage used to ensure you are increasing each month. Focus more on feeling each repetition than just moving heavy weight – but move heavy weight nonetheless!
Training Shoulders & Arms
Particularly on ectomorphs, or trainers that are naturally skinny, the shoulders and arms are a very tough place to add mass. Cut back on the cardio and add some calories to your diet. Give arms and shoulders dedicated training days, and use moderately heavy weights. An equal balance of free weights and machines works best in this situation. On both shoulder and arm movements, you also need to slow your repetition tempo considerably. A 4-count on the way up, followed by a 3-count on the way down, is ideal for drawing as much blood into the muscle groups being trained as possible.