If you have been training with the same technique for a few months or even years and you’re not seeing progress then it’s obvious you need to try something new.
We all have different body parts that we’re not particularly product of, whether it’s your chest, triceps, biceps, traps, glutes, hamstrings or calves.
You can go ahead and blame it on bad genetics.
I agree genetics do a play a role in the shape of our muscles, but I’m a big believer that no matter what body shape you have if you train hard with consistency, you can always improve your physique.
The good news is you can increase the size of muscle on lagging body parts.
But of course, it will require more effort on your part.
As they say, No pain, no gain!
That’s right, you will need to work extra hard in order to succeed and make progress.
If your willing to work hard and consistently to get the results you want, then you will no doubt succeed!
So, let the gains begin!
Apply the following 10 training techniques to force stubborn muscles to grow.
Each of the following training techniques are known to increase gains in size, strength, and muscle.
1. Train Stubborn Muscles More Frequently
If you like the majority of people who want to build muscle, you might be following a 3-day workout split where you only train a single muscle group once per week.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that because I personally do it myself.
But what I am saying when you focus on training a single body part per week, you’re basically missing out on maximizing your muscle building potential to focus on lagging areas.
After training each muscle group, your body will need at least 48-72 hours to fully recover. So as you can imagine your muscles will be ready to be worked again.
So here’s what I want you to do.
Pick one lagging muscle group and start training it twice a week for the next 60 days.
For me personally, I have weak calve and lat muscles that I need to work more on. So What I like to do is train my calves and lats twice per week.
eg. Monday’s and Fridays.
Example 4 Day Split Will Look Like This:
- Monday – Chest, Triceps & Calves – (Standing Calf Raise or Calf Press on Leg Press)
- Tuesday – Back, Biceps and Lats – (eg. Wide-Grip Lat-Pulldown or Single Arm-Row)
- Wednesday – Rest
- Friday – Legs and Abs & Calves (eg. Seated Calve Raise)
- Saturday – Shoulders, Cardio and Lats (eg Single Arm Dumbbell Row)
- Sunday – Rest
But don’t just stop there
After you improve on lagging muscle groups after 60 days, switch to another lagging area until the rest of your body is in good proportion.
2. Apply Progressive Overload For Muscle And Strength
If you want if you want to gain size and strength, then you have to overload the muscles if you want them to grow.
Adding More weight,
More overload and in turn more muscle
5 Time World Master Powerlifting Campion “Marty Gallaher” Said It Best….
To Trigger Physical Progress, You have To Bump Up Against Current Boundaries. You have to test the limits and break the barries. You have to deal with the pain and discomfort a serious exercises induces.
If you keep lifting the same weight load week in and week out your muscles will you become accustomed to the same routine and you will hit a plateau in your training. As a result, your muscles will fail to grow.
Here’s my take on this.
If you are not using a weight that isn’t challenging and your last rep wasn’t as difficult as your first rep, then you training isn’t intense enough.
On the other hand, if you use a weight that is heavy and you push or pull until you can do another rep despite your maximum effort, then your definitely training hard.
The best way to force your muscles to grow is to overload them with heavy weight. You can do this by simply adding small increments of weight over a period of time. Add to much weight and you will struggle to lift or pull it. You can even get injured, so be careful.
The smartest and best way to overload your training so that you can build muscle quickly is to increase the weight in small amounts each week.
But there will be days when you feel stronger and will have more energy than other days your workout. So on the days, you do feel strong, go ahead and increase the overload by 5 or 10 pounds.
But, remember if you thinking of training intensely with lightweight you won’t go very far with it. Doing 100 reps of curls with a 20 kgs bar won’t be easy and will be quite painful to complete.
But with that sort of weight won’t cause your muscles to grow. On the other hand, it would be much better to do 10 reps of curls to failure with a 40 kg bar.
The rep ranges that are the most popular for most trainers is between 8-12 for upper body and between 10-12 for lower body.
3. Increase Intensity With Super-Sets
A great way to force your muscles to grow is when you perform supersets. A superset is where you go from one exercise to another without taking any rest in between.
The only time you rest is when both exercises are complete. If you’re a newbie, you might not be used to this kind of intensity, in other words, you maybe feel exhausted to complete the second exercise.
That’s why It’s important not to lift a weight you aren’t capable of. Not too light or not too heavy is the way to go.
A good example of supersets would be to train both biceps and triceps back to back.
eg. Standing Barbell Curls/Standing Overhead Barbell Extention
You can also train chest and back using supersets
eg. Incline Dumbell Press/Single Arm Dumbbell Rows
4. Maximize Muscle Growth With Drop Sets
For those of you who have hit a plateau when your strength gains have stagnated, Drop Sets is what you should be doing to get out of this rut. If your not sure what drops-sets are, it’s when you do as many reps as you can and without any rest, you drop the weight and continue doing more reps.
Say you’re doing a leg press of 200kgs (500lbs) and you fail on the 10 rep, that doesn’t mean you can’t push 200kgs, you just need to drop the weight and keep going. If you had a friend remove 40kgs you would most likely do another 10 more reps.
The best time to perform drop-sets is when you struggle to do another rep, that’s when you should reduce the weight. Also, try to minimize the time it takes to strip weight off. Have your training partner strip the weight off quickly as soon as you hit failure.
5. Triple Your Gains With Pre-Exhaust Sets
Similar to supersets, Pre-exhaust sets is one of my favorite training techniques for getting a great pump.
I do not recommend pre-exhaustion to newbies as it only suitable for those who have a good foundation of weight training under their belt (1-2 years at least).
Pre-exhaustion is performing isolation movements isolation movements (works a single joint, e.g. leg extensions) that is immediately followed by a compound exercise (that involves two joints eg. squats).
What I love about the pre-exhaust method is I can use it even why I’m following my usual 4-day workout split and doing the same workout routine that I planned for the day.
Here’s an example of what a pre-exhaust routine looks like:
- 6 sets x15-20 reps of chest flies
- 4 sets x8-10 reps of bench press, incline or decline press (pick ONE! Not all three)
- 1) 6×15-20 side lateral raises or front lateral raise
- 4×8-12 military press (overhead-press)
- 4×10 Lat-Pull-down
- 4×8-12 bent-over barbell rows
- 1) 6×15-20 leg extension
- 4 sets x8-10 reps of squats or leg press
The hardest part is completing every rep and set of the compound exercises right after the isolations. It’s important not take any rest when following the pre-exhaust routine for added benefit.
6. Giant Sets for Giant Gains
Giant sets are another advanced training technique. This is where you would perform three or more exercises one right after the other with no rest in between.
This is usually done on the same body part which subjects them to an enormous amount of volume and time under tension.
Performing giant sets, in my opinion, is even more brutal than performing supersets or drop sets.
Giant sets are essentially supersets and tri-sets on crack.They definitely have you feel completely drained after completing a set.
Here’s an example of what a Giant Set looks like:
- Squats- 15-20 reps
- followed by leg curl – 15-20 reps
- followed by calve raises – 15-20 reps
Giant sets can be done with multiple exercises (eg. chest and back).
Giant sets are very good when you only have a short amount of time in the gym I wouldn’t recommend them unless you have a good cardiovascular base. From my experience, they will have you gasping for air before you even move onto your third set.
7. Super Slow Training For Super Human Strength
Another great training technique to force stubborn muscles to grow is what’s known as the super slow method. This method was developed by a guy known as Ken Hutchins.
The technique is performed by slowing the rep down to from 5 seconds until 10 seconds, instead of what most traditional weight training methods involve doing 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down.
This is a great way to boost the intensity of your training. When you implement this kind of training method it will feel as though the weight is a lot heavier by doing the exercise slower than if you were to it the traditional way.
8. Forced Reps For Greater Muscle Growth
The only time I’ve ever used Forced Reps is on the bench press. I wouldn’t say their all that bad as a lot of lifters make them out to be.
They are definitely crucial when you want to increase your strength on the bench press. Forced reps are used when the trainer is unable to complete a few more reps on their own.
That’s when the spotter is there to assistant to keep the weight moving for a few more reps. For me, the only time I’ve ever used forced reps is when I was unable to do every rep on the last set.
For example, if you are doing 4 sets of 8-10 reps on the bench press, only have your spotter assist you on the last set if you struggle to complete the final 2-3 reps on your own.
9. Rest-Pause To Grain Muscle Faster
The rest pause method was developed by the late great Mike Mentzer. The rest pause can be perfect training technique for getting stronger and gaining size.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re doing bench press, you take a weight that you can only do 2-3 reps on, then you will unrack the weight and go back and do another 2-3 reps.
You can repeat this for as many times as you are able to complete a number of reps.
So if you struggle with doing 8-10 reps at 100 kgs, you can always break it down using “Rest Pause” to complete the same number of reps but take a few seconds rest in between.
I’ve had days at the gym when I thought I had the energy for a great bench press workout but when I failed to complete my target rep ranges, I’d settle for the rest pause technique to help me complete them.
10. Extended Sets For Mass And Strength
Extended Sets is another good training technique to force stubborn muscles to grow. Extended sets are similar to drop sets in which you use the same piece of equipment and weight. To perform an extended set you will start off with an exercise that’s hard to do with the amount of weight you use.
For example on the incline bench press, you will do as many reps as possible. When you fail on the incline bench press, switch over and proceed to do as many reps as you can on the flat bench press.
Here are some other exercises you can do extended sets with:
- Front Squat/Back Squat
- Front Raise/Barbell Upright Row
- Dumbbell Flyes/Dumbbell Presses
- Reverse Grip Cable Pushdown/Standard Cable Pushdown
There are plenty of other ways to force stubborn muscles to grow but the above examples is definitely a good guideline to follow. One thing is for sure, if you keep doing the same exercises, the same rep ranges and lifting the same weight as before, your muscles will never grow.
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