Weak Point Training
Weak point training is something that a moderate to advanced lifter pays attention to, or should pay attention to. A beginner shouldn’t, at least at the very beginning. The reason a newbie shouldn’t be worrying about weak point training is that everything is a weak point. I can’t tell you how many times someone has come up to me in the gym and has asked me how to develop a very specific area of a body part or muscle group, yet they look like this is their first time in the gym. This is when I like to respond with one of my favorite lines, “Build the house first bro, worry about the paint later.”
A person who is new to the gym and wants to get bigger, stronger, or whatever should worry about getting good at the big compound movements like the squat, bench, and deadlift. They should learn and try as many accessory lifts as possible and don’t stress about developing a specific muscle until significant mass and strength is built. Then you can start to be aware of what body parts or muscle groups are falling behind and take action to make your weak points your new strong points. Weak point training is not only for bodybuilding or aesthetics, but for strength. The following are tips on how to train weak points to improve both aesthetics and strength.
Most of us have heard the saying “Eat big to get big.” Please be aware that this is not just a catchy line. This is the most effective way of gaining size. Without eating and eating a lot you will not gain the size most of us are after. Again, this is another question I get asked often “well how much should I eat to get bigger?” I’m good at what I do. But I don’t know if anyone is so good that they can simply look at you and give you the exact calories and ratio of macronutrients you need to gain two inches on your arms. Yet, I get the feeling that is exactly the answer people expect when they ask me how much they should eat. Instead, I ask them a question in return, “Have you gotten bigger and stronger eating what you are currently eating?” When they says no I simply reply “Eat more.” Yes, it’s that simple.
Train it More Often
Yes, yet another obvious solution. When you want to improve a lacking muscle or body part simply train it more often. I know exactly what most of you will say. “But won’t training a muscle too often lead to overtraining?” Enter shocked face emoji here. I always laugh to myself because it seems the people that are overly panicked about overtraining and the dangers that come with it are the same people that are bound to end up on one of those gym fails videos on the internet for attempting some idiotic exercise they saw on YouTube. Is overtraining bad? Yes. Is it dangerous? Yes. Will doing arms two or three times a weak lead to overtraining? No. Also, if you follow the first tip and eat enough plus get enough sleep it is much harder to over-train than people think.
Hit Different Angles/Exercises
By attacking the targeted muscle from different angles you will ensure that every muscle fiber in that specific muscle is being stimulated causing it to grow. This can be done by changing the angles of the exercise being done. For example, change your body angle from standing upright to leaning forward and downwards while doing standing cable fly’s to hit your chest in a different way. Another example would be to do dumbbell chest fly’s lying on an inclined bench to hit the upper chest instead of lying on a flat bench that hits more of the entire chest.
You can also change angles by changing the exercise completely. For example, A dumbbell hammer curl across your body is going to hit your bicep in a different way than a preacher curl will. The combination of different curls will not only help improve your bicep size but it will also help add aesthetically pleasing shape to the bicep. This is true for any and every muscle group. Trying different exercises can also help improve strength on an exercise where strength is lacking.
Lower the Weight
Targeting a specific muscle or muscle group is more challenging than one might think. Everyone has muscle groups that are more dominant than others. Those muscles will grow the fastest, will always be able to get a pump easily, and thus are usually the muscles you love training the most.
These dominant muscle groups want to take over and do all of the work which can lead to problems when you are targeting a different muscle group that is nearby. For example, my shoulders have always been more dominant than my chest. It was always super easy for me to get a pump and feel the contraction in my shoulders and they became my favorite body part to train. It wasn’t until recently, maybe a little over a year ago, I noticed my chest size lagging. This made sense because every time I tried to isolate my chest I had a hard time taking my shoulders out of the equation.
My solution to this was to lighten the weight on my accessory chest exercises such as fly’s, dips, chest press machines, etc. and really concentrate on my chest doing the work instead of my shoulders. When you go as heavy as you can the dominant muscle group will always take over and with heavy weight it’s difficult to slow things down and concentrate on a specific muscle group.
So, my advice to you is that when working on a muscle group or body part that is difficult for you to feel, lighten the weight on the exercises, slow it down, and really concentrate on making that muscle do the work. Remember, lightening the weight to isolate a lagging body part is purely a bodybuilding technique and not a strength technique.
When you have a weak point you need to attack it. It needs to be a top priority until it is no longer a weak point. When you have built it into a strength move on to the next thing that is lagging behind. Bringing weak points up into strengths will make your entire physique look better and likewise bringing a lift up that is falling behind in strength compared to other lifts will make everything else stronger as well.
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