When Muscles Won't Grow

Overcome the limiting factor
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The first weight I ever picked up was my father’s 10-pound Healthways solid-iron dumbbell. I wasn’t more than 12 years old. Honestly, it felt like a ton. I couldn’t manage much with them and had no idea what I was doing. But soon, with the help of Joe Weider’s magazines, I got the hang of what I was supposed to be doing. Because, when anyone talked about muscles, it seemed like they ended up flexing their biceps. I quickly developed a penchant for arm curls. Fortunately, even though my form stunk and I cheated my ass of due to being bereft of any concept of strict execution, my biceps still responded. It seems I had arbitrarily stumbled on an easily stimulated body part. So I was hooked. Of course, with time, I quickly discovered that the rest of my body parts were not all blessed with the same responsiveness. I would have to work much harder on some areas of my body than others. It wasn’t until much later that I learned I wasn’t alone in my struggle.

It’s exquisitely rare that any bodybuilder finds that every muscle reacts to training with the same degree of growth response. The vast majority of even the greatest champions find that certain muscles respond much better than others. For the most famous former Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as great as his arms were, his hamstrings were devoid of even remotely similar development. At the other extreme, one of the lesser-known for- mer Mr. Olympia winners, Chris Dickerson, had impressively developed quads, hamstrings, and calves. But his arms were astonishingly unmentionable for a bodybuilder of that lofty a level. Even the freakiest of all former Mr. Olympias, Ronnie Coleman—who adorns the cover of the 3rd edition of my book, Extreme Muscle Enhancement—with all of the praise and adoration heaped upon him, no pundit has ever said they wanted his calves (which were, by comparison, mediocre at best). Yet in each of these cases of deficiencies, I can assure you that none were the result of a lack of training. I remember Tom Platz (recall he had the greatest quadriceps development in history) used to lament that, while he never had to worry about how he trained his massive legs, in sharp contrast, he had to keep after his arm training with exhaustive vigilance just to see even the smallest improvement.

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