Wouldn’t it be great if our response to training was distributed evenly throughout each muscle group? If you could employ the same strategies and with the same level of intensity for each body part you trained during the week and get the same results, life as a bodybuilder would be so much easier. Unfortunately for many of us, only the genetic elite can get away with utilizing that scenario and even then, some body parts will grow at a much faster rate than others will. How you plan your training week should revolve around your needs, so if you have already identified your weaknesses, you may want to consider training those lagging body parts twice weekly; here’s why.
Stubborn needs Stimulus
A muscle that doesn’t want to grow needs to be forced to grow. Yes, we are forcing all of our muscles to do something they don’t naturally want to do through resistance training, but some muscles are very resistant to the training stimulus and therefore need to be addressed more often. When you encounter a stubborn muscle group that just doesn’t seem to want to do anything in the way of growth for you, it may be to your advantage to attack it more often. If you can work it into your schedule, a second workout for that stubborn muscle group may be the catalyst you need to encourage hypertrophy. The reason for this is that after that first session, you may find that your recovery is quite fast and the soreness that can sometimes linger for a couple of days isn’t there and waiting another five or six days to train it again isn’t conducive to continued gains. If that’s the case, as soon as you’re not sore in that muscle group, hit it again.
Pump and Grind
Another factor you could consider in addressing those lagging muscle groups is the fact that they might need multiple forms of stimuli to grow. In this case, I would highly suggest that within those two training sessions you are going to start utilizing, you incorporate a pump session and a grind session. Your grind session should come first in the training week and this is where your goal is to break down muscle fibers through the use of heavy weight. Keep your loads around 85% of your 1RM during your working sets and focus on moving as much weight as you can with perfect form for 6-8 repetitions. On your pump day, decrease the loads used, increase the volume of your workout and really focus on driving as much blood into the muscle as possible. Combined, these two approaches should spark some new growth for you.
Stick with the Plan
Finally, in your pursuit of correcting muscular imbalances and bringing up those weaker body parts, you have to make a plan and stick with it. Far too often people will change their workouts up every time they hit the gym because variation is supposed to shock the muscle into new growth. While this theory does hold some truth, that variation should only come after you’ve exhausted the exercises that you had initially picked to use because they don’t seem to be working anymore. You need to give a set of exercises a chance to work before flipping the script on yourself by introducing new exercises. If you do this, you may be swapping out a superior exercise and one that will work extremely well for you with an inferior exercise that may do more harm than good. My advice is to pick exercises that you believe will help spur on new growth and bring up those lagging muscle groups, try to get stronger each week within those exercises and allow time to tell the tale of whether or not it’s working. You’ll know for sure after a few weeks and then if need be, switch it up.
Training a body part twice a week is the same as purchasing two pairs of Super Freaks at the same time; it can’t hurt and will probably only make you look better. Once you figure out exactly what those weak body parts need (a twice-weekly thrashing just might do it), put all of your efforts into it and ride it out until it stops working. If and when that occurs, re-evaluate your strategies and start all over again. Isn’t bodybuilding fun?!
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.