Try this if you work a body part only once a week: Split your body parts up into two different days to be trained in the week. Make one the heavy, basic, powerlifting day and the other a lighter, more detail oriented day. Like many, I was worried that I might overtrain if I trained a part more than once a week but the light detail day really doesn't tax your joints and deep muscle fibers the way the heavy day does and is easier to recover from yet still very beneficial. Just keep your # of sets reasonable and you shouldn't have any trouble at all with it.
Remember to really concentrate on feeling the burn directly in the muscle you are working on the light day and keep your reps above 12 to really get a good pump, burn, and feel right where it needs to be and so it doesn't overwork your joints. Attack max weights on the heavy day. Here's a few examples of a light and heavy day for say, chest. It really helps if you begin the light day with an isolation movement for a pre exhaustion style workout which will cut you up way better than just heavy basic compound moves. Use machines more on the light day and free weights on the heavy days.
- 1 - Superset incline dumbbell flyes with cable crossovers for 15 reps a set without rest in-between for a killer burn and feel compound sets cant match. Gets your chest good and warmed up too.
- 2 - Smith machine incline presses - try 3 sets of 15 reps
- 3 - Flat benches- go lighter and more for the feel of your pecs moving the weight only and keep reps in the 15-30 range. You might be surprised at the results higher reps provide!!
- 4 - Decline flyes- great move for increasing the lower pec line cut - again, go for the burn
- 1 - Basic move like incline barbell press- Now, go for maximum poundage all the way down to 1 rep max. Even though max sets don't get a good burn or cut you up, they do build tendon and muscle strength. Try super heavy negatives and partials on the heavy day too so you can use weights even beyond your one rep max.
- 2 - If you started with inclines, now go to flats or declines ,which ever you prefer and blast away at this basic core mass builder till your pecs melt off your chest and keep it heavy as possible with low reps.
- 3 - Rest-pause is especially effective on these heavy days and is a great way to blast through plateaus of strength and size. Improvements in size will come from doing these very basic presses better than you ever have. On this heavy day, just keep it simple and bust your ass on a few different angles of pressing movements and you'll add meat to them bones for sure.
I strongly suggest that you use pre-exhaustion sets extensively on the light day and partials and negatives on the heavy day. These intensity boosters have proven to be the most productive for me and several people I train with. If you aren't familiar with them look them up cause they WORK!! Combining both styles of training together is way more productive than using only one way by itself. If you train only with heavy compound sets, you'll get big shapeless lumps with not much detail-you only train light with cables and machines, you'll have shape but not much mass at all. BOTH is the way to go!