Over the past 7.5 years, I've discovered that progress with fitness never really turns…
Weak body parts can often be a major source of frustration, and in some cases, embarrassment for many men. Surprisingly, a lot of these are Men Over 40. For some dudes it’s their tiny chest. For some (like me) it’s lagging arms. Some guys just have chicken legs (although a lot of these don’t train legs properly *cough* lazybastards*cough*).
But whatever the case may be, weak body parts tend to lead to poor symmetry, proportions and other aesthetically un-pleasing results. I don’t think there’s any point obsessing over this stuff, but there are quite a few tricks you can perform to bring up your weak points.
I don’t really recommend doing this until you’ve hit your overall size and strength goals, as this will inhibit your progress with those. I think it’s better to get to your goal size and then focus on making everything perfectly well-balanced.
If you’re already there, or if you’re not there but these imbalances are killing you inside, then this is for you:
It Takes Time
As you probably know by now, it takes time to build muscle, especially in areas which you are not genetically gifted in. My arms have always been a weak point, but I’ve had bigger boobs than most girls I’ve gone out with. I don’t really care, but I will probably do a specialisation year (or two) once I’ve hit my strength goals just to eliminate weaknesses. And yes, that was a specialisation year. Not block, mesocycle or month. Year. Or longer.
If this is a big goal for you, you will need to set some real time aside to do this. Again, as I stated here, you don’t need to do this as a noob. It’s a complete waste of time. Only do this if you’ve gained a decent bit of size/strength already.
This time needs to have a specific, high-volume focus on your weak points, using multiple exercises and ramping the volume up gradually, using tactical deloads to recover fully. It goes without saying, that you need to be eating a caloric surplus, ideally, a solid one. You’re just gonna have to accept that because:
A) You’re not a noob,
B) You are not genetically gifted in this area of your physique, and
C) Gaining muscle is hard and takes time,
you’re going to need to eat a lot of food and gain a little fat to actually improve this lagging area.
It Requires Specialisation
If you want to bring up a lagging area and improve the balance and well-roundedness of your physique, you can’t just smash your entire body with high volumes. The answer instead is to specialise. Higher volumes on your weak points, with aggressive weekly (or bi-weekly) increases in volume, whilst performing maintenance volumes on all other body parts. Most of you reading this will need about 5-8 working sets per week per muscle group in order to maintain that muscle; convincing it that it needs to stay.
In terms of progression, depending on the body part itself you may need more like 9-20 sets. I appreciate this is a wide margin, but as your body adjusts to 10-13 sets, for example, you tend to be able to gradually push it a little further. A lot of guys are missing out on gains as they don’t realise this. This is a gradual process that may pan out over many months or even years. Don’t push the volume too soon.
Also, the more advanced you are, the more volume you can get away with and the more volume you actually need for a sufficient growth stimulus.
Not only do you need to adjust volumes per body part, frequency is another factor. If your weak body part is within your upper body, a training frequency of 3-4 times per week is likely optimal. Assuming you are in a solid calorie surplus and you regulate weekly training volumes appropriately, you will recover.
If it’s your lower body, 2-4 times per week is perfect for most. The reason it’s 2-4 instead of 3-4 is that some people simply can’t get away with training their lower body quite a frequently as their upper body. As always though, total volume is the most important factor, with frequency being more about protein synthesis.
Only attempt this if you’ve already gained substantial muscle size and strength. If you have, and your weak points are really pissing you off and you don’t really want to get any bigger for quite a while, then feel free to do this. But make sure that you set aside at least a year to focus on this, with an appropriate training plan focusing on high, progressive volumes on your weak point/s and maintenance volumes for the rest of you. Some trial and error will be required here also.
Finally, once you’ve nailed down the weekly training volume plan (and how this will progress from week to week and month to month), you may want to look at increasing the weekly frequency a little for this weak point. This will raise protein synthesis and spread out the workload across the week a little more evenly.
Good luck 🙂