For all of those whose gains have either slowed down or stopped, I know how frustrating this can be. You feel like you want to quit, don't know what you're doing wrong, and often get suckered into some new routine based on little info or bought some useless supplement from a no-name company expecting to see great gains, but they never came. In this article I'm going to explain new ways to shock those stubborn body parts into growing and getting stronger.
First we must look at your diet. No matter what routine you use, how hard you do it, and how correctly, you won't accomplish crap with out a proper diet. Make sure you are getting enough calories and enough protein. Check out my first article for more info.
Also, you want to make sure you are supplementing correctly. Are you getting enough vitamins? Are you taking a protein shake in a high GI carbohydrate after working out? Creatine, glutamine? I go into depth about this in my article about supplement importance.
Lastly, before we go on to the training tips, how is your training? If you aren't lifting with proper form and intensity, you're not going to see any new gains. Also, if you're not giving yourself enough time to recover between workouts you're not going to grow. If all of the following is in order, then I think it may time for some shocking techniques.
Ok, now for the fun stuff.
I wouldn't recommend doing this more than 2 weeks in a row as it can easily lead to over training if done to frequently. I must also warn you that getting out of bed the next morning is going to be really tough. Gotta love it!
Many of us may not have the tricep strength to allow our chest to fail before our triceps give out. One thing you can do is to do a set of dumbbell flyes to failure, and then immediately afterwards do a set of dumbbell presses also to failure. It will be harder, and you will have to lower your weight, but the pump will be fantastic, and your chest will be hit more directly.
2. Pec Flyes:
My chest responds real well to these, and often I will add in some forced reps. I like to go beyond that though, and totally destroy them. For this you will need a partner, here is what to do: Pick a weight that will allow you to fail around 6 reps.
Do these 6 reps on your own, and then have your partner give just enough assistance to allow you to squeeze the pads together. After you have completed a rep, have him push your arms apart really slowly (he may only have to push a little), it is your job to resist as much as possible. Do 3 forced reps.
1. Lighten The Weight:
One of the best things you can do to stimulate new growth in your back is lighten the weight. Huh? You may be saying, "Lighten the weight?" Yes, many of the people I see doing back go way too fast and in terrible form. If you lighten the weight, go slower, and concentrate more on squeezing your shoulder blades together then you will feel a much bigger pump in your back. This will also take some of the weight off your arms, and allow your back and biceps to fail at the same time.
Much like chest, you can pre-exhaust your back too, it just takes much more concentration. Using lat pulldowns, pick a weight that will allow you to fail (and fail hard) at around 8 reps. Directly after doing these, jump into doing wide grip pull downs at a weight that will allow you to fail again around 8 reps.
If you're not doing squats, then forget about building big, powerful legs. Squats should be the core of your leg routine. Not only do they work your legs, but also they work your back, abs and supporting muscles in your rib cage. Squats also help to release naturally stored androgens thus increasing testosterone levels allowing you to build more muscle. If you are doing squats, then I suggest you look at your form, if your form is good then continue on to number 2.
One way to pre-exhaust your quads is by doing a set of leg extensions to failure, then going right into doing squats. Make sure to lower your weight on the squat rack, otherwise you will crumble. This technique will give you an awesome pump, and help stimulate new muscle growth. Expect to be walking funny the next day though.
Ah, who doesn't want big biceps? If you're already training your biceps intensely and giving them plenty of time to recover, and yet still aren't noticing much growth or the pumps have disappeared, this following technique will make your them pop out like apples. Ok, let's get into it.
Using a preacher curl machine, select a weight that will allow you to achieve 6-8 reps before you fail. Much like the pec flyes, you will need a partner. After you can no longer pull out any reps on your own, have the spotter give you just enough assistance to bring the weight up (make sure you squeeze hard at the top) and then have him pull the bar down so you can just barely resist. Do three to four of these reps in your last set, and your bis will be killing you the next day.
This technique is almost identical to the one above except it involves the triceps. Pick a weight on the tricep press that will allow you to fail around 6-8 reps. Again, have the spotter help you to push the weight down, and then have him pull it up so you are just barely able to resist. Do this for three or four reps, just don't expect to be able to lift your arms the next day.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when training shoulders is form. Many try and swing the weights up on side laterals raises and front raises. I like to use cables for my side laterals because there is always a downward pressure on the shoulder when doing them.
I think one the most important things you can do is concentrating on tightening your shoulder at the top of the rep, and then going down real slow. If you don't swing the weights nor use momentum and tighten your shoulder at the top of the movement, you will get much, much more out of the exercise. This may mean lightening the weight, but it will also mean bigger shoulders and a much better looking 'V' taper.
One of the most important aspects of calf training is a full ROM (range of motion). If you are doing calf raises, and not going all the way up or down, then you're not recruiting the maximum amount of muscle fibers. It's important that you get a full squeeze at the top, and full stretch at the bottom. Try and push off with your big toe. The next thing I see many people do wrong is training calves too often.
Calves are like any other muscle and need recovery time. Possibly even more since you are always walking on them. I suggest training calves once a week, with very high intensity, and a very slow movement. If you do the exercise slow and concentrate on squeezing hard at the top of the movement, your calves will grow like crazy.
See my article on ab training.
Get ready for huge gains!