Photos by Christopher Bailey
Each month I bet you pick up FLEX, see all the incredible physiques, and ask the same question: Why aren’t I changing? I spent many years thinking exactly the same thing. I tried all the workouts, switched up my programs, plowed through vast amounts of food, and gave it all I had in the gym. But you get to a point when you think you’re just not destined for bigger muscles.
Well, you do if you’re the kind of person who is happy to give in. But I’m not like that. I don’t believe in “can’t.” I don’t believe only certain people in the world can build serious muscle mass. In my eyes, anyone can do it, but the less you know, the slower you grow.
I developed my physique—and am still working on it—off the back of 22 years of playing rugby. I suffered all kinds of injuries, including a torn ankle ligament, a prolapsed disk, and shoulder reconstruction, so when I started bodybuilding, my body was slightly dysfunctional. The reason I’m telling you this is that if I can grow and balance out my physique, so can you.
One body part I always struggled with is chest.
It’s by no means where I want it to be, but it’s a million miles from where it was. What’s interesting to note is that, just like many of you, I’d tried nearly every tip in the book. So why didn’t they work?
When it comes to training and building muscle, most people focus on exercise choice, reps, load, sets, and rest. But if these variables were always the answer, why isn’t everyone walking around with an oak-like chest, boulders for shoulders, and legs like Tom Platz’s?
What many people fail to understand is the importance of biomechanics and how individual we are. We are structures built of muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. The goal when bodybuilding should never be to move a weight from A to B. If it is, your main focus is simply on what’s happening to the dumbbell, cable, or barbell. Your primary focus should always be the working muscle and what’s happening to it throughout the entire range of an exercise.
It wasn’t until I took a step back and started to assess my own mechanics and muscles that my body really began to develop. Now, I’m not expecting you to start reading anatomy books before you go to bed, but I do want you to appreciate your muscles a bit more. So for the rest of this article, I’m going to share some of the main areas I focus on as a coach when I am helping others develop weak body parts.
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