Have you been focused on working your ass off on your butt, biceps, or back without seeing much progress on growth or strength? Today we look at what action you can take to get closer to your physical goals.
What you do most is what you’re going to improve at the most.– Sal DeStefano
Let’s face it. Many of us are not completely happy with the way we look. Certain things we can’t change, but when it comes to building muscle that is something you can control. The fitness folks at Mind Pump Media dedicated a whole episode to those lagging and stubborn body parts. The good news is you aren’t destined to stay that way IF you decide to focus on it properly. In order of importance, we break down the actionable steps to get you to your goals.
Focus on the mind-muscle connection
- Feel the muscle and target it. A lift, especially a compound lift, targets many muscle groups. You want to focus on the “squeeze” in the area you want to target.
- Practice flexing that area without weights. This way you know what to target when you do add weights. Most can flex their bicep but it’s harder to flex specific areas that you aren’t used to flexing.
- Hold the target muscle in an isometric position. An isometric movement is when the muscle is engaged without movement (like holding a plank). Really feel the contraction of that area instead of trying to lift as much weight as possible. The total amount of weight you will lift will be less and that is ok.
Prioritize the body part
- Program the specific body part into your workouts more often. This means more exercises and sets of those exercises that target that body part.
- Some avoid this extra programming in order to maintain a “balanced” workout program. But if you really want to target that body part, you have to add more volume or exercises to that specific area.
Sacrifice volume somewhere else
- You might have a favorite body part that you focus on because it’s well developed, you get compliments on it often, or you don’t want to lose that “body part status”. It is ok to sacrifice some volume on this part and use that time to focus on your problem body part.
- It’s ok to focus on your goal/problem areas and go into maintenance mode temporarily for your favorite, well-developed areas.
Change your programming
- Try a different stimulus for the same muscle groups. This could be changing the tempo of the lift (either faster or slower) or number of reps on the same muscles.
- You may not think of explosive plyometrics as muscle building, but by doing this you are sending new signals to the muscles that may stimulate growth.
Be patient and give it time
- Major change or growth on specific muscle groups can take months to years. Be patient.
- You may first notice the mind-muscle connection first and that you are “pumping” the problem area more.
- Next, you may notice muscle-soreness in the areas that you never noticed in the past due to the new stimulus.
- Understand this “rinse and repeat” process is ongoing and progress, although inevitable, may be slow.
References, sources and more:
- Source: How to Pack on Muscle to Your Lagging/Stubborn Body Parts
- Importance of mind-muscle connection during progressive resistance training
- 26 scientifically proven benefits of Isometric Exercise