We all have stubborn muscle groups, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do things to bring them up. I’ve studied and analyzed this for more than 20 years with a broad range of athletes, and I’m going to share my four key points to attack weaker muscle groups. But first, the three major reasons for stubborn muscles.
Some body parts will be weaker than others, which comes down to the muscle fiber populations within that specific area. The fullness of the muscle bellies will differ here as well.
This is related to genetics but focuses mainly on your individual leverage points at certain joints and how this contributes toward your biomechanical advantages and disadvantages. This has a major impact on your ability to recruit a muscle because of the angles and planes of motion the target muscle is working within.
The final point I want to outline is the way in which you train. If your form or rep tempo is off, or if you’re focusing on the wrong things, then you will struggle to illicit a positive hypertrophic response within a genetically poor muscle group.
1. MULTIPLE REP RANGES
Different muscles have different muscle fiber ratios, and hitting different rep ranges allows you to target them all far more efficiently. My Y3T training system is tailor-made for this and works with its three-week rotation in which you move between low, moderate, and high reps in a cyclical format. Also, a key benefit of higher rep ranges is that you are forcing more blood into the area, which helps stretch out the fascia that surrounds the muscles.
2. ISOMETRIC SQUEEZES
An “isometric squeeze” means tensing the muscle with deliberate force after the concentric (lifting) phase of the rep. By doing this you are going to generate more tension and stress within the target muscle. One of the key benefits to doing this is the improved mind-to-muscle connection that develops between your central nervous system and the target muscle. This improves your ability to excite more muscle fibers. Try tensing and holding the weight for one to two seconds after each concentric phase of every rep.
3. MORE TENSION
One key area of rep tempo many people overlook is the eccentric phase, otherwise known as the “negative.” This is where most of the breakdown of the muscle fibers takes place. Use a four- to five-second eccentric phase.
4. INCREASED FREQUENCY
Hit a second workout four to five days after the primary workout for that muscle group. Do four to seven working sets of 15 to 20 reps to drive more blood into the area and heighten muscle protein synthesis.
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