If you're looking to become a bodybuilder, and you've been reading my articles, then you probably realize by now how much emphasis I've been placing on the importance of overall bodily symmetry versus being the biggest guy on the stage. Don't get me wrong though, size does matter, but shape will win you a contest. Look at Ronnie Coleman for example, he isn't the biggest guy on stage in the IFBB competitions, but he's coming out on top. Despite the fact that he is on top, I don't think he should have won the Olympia this year, but that is another topic I'm not about to waste time on. He has established himself as the world's best bodybuilder by bringing a total package to the table. His physique does have weak points, like most people, however the physique he has built allows him to exhibit an optical illusion, giving him the appearance of being bigger than he actually is. You can guarantee that he makes the best use of priority training to continue to improve on his powerful looking physique, and continue to be on top of the bodybuilding world.
Bodybuilding is all about presenting a total package to the judges, which in simple terms means having a physique that looks good, and if at all possible freaky from every angle. It basically means having great symmetry, or shapely mass. Symmetry, in my opinion, is all about creating an optical illusion, making EVERY muscle group on your body as big and as freaky as humanly possible, and at the same time not neglecting the smaller, finer points such as the rear delts, abdominals, obliques and calves. Trying to dial in your physique like this is what makes bodybuilding so hard.
Weak Muscle Groups
Everybody has at least one, if not several, weak muscle group(s). Periodically check your physique in the mirror, striking all poses and be on the lookout for the development of lagging body parts. Have two or three close buddies (who won't bullshit you) give their opinion on what you need to work on. Better yet, get your girlfriend or a female from the gym to give their opinion. It's a great way to meet women, and they have a sixth sense that deals with the male body. They seem to have the 'ideal' male muscular build in the back of their minds, and will be able to pinpoint your weak spots almost immediately. Remember, it is a lagging body part(s) that will halt your attempt at presenting an optical illusion dead in its tracks.
When a lagging body part is spotted, you should immediately re-evaluate and re-design your training program, utilizing the priority training principle. Actually, the priority training principle should be implemented into your routine from this point on. There's no way in hell your body is perfect. So read on, alter your program and improve.
In basic terms, priority training is when you train a weak muscle group first in a workout or first in the week, when you are fully energized, fully recovered and your mind is at its freshest. This will ensure that the weak point(s) in your physique gets the utmost attention and receives maximum stimulation, setting the conditions for optimal growth and marks the beginning of creating your very own optical illusion for people to admire.
There are two types of priority training that should be applied to your training program. I use both to keep improving on my physique, and I suggest you do the same.
Muscle Section Priority: This is very useful for bringing out a weak section in a particular muscle group. For example, my upper chest is sad to say the least, so the first exercise in each of my chest workouts pinpoints the upper chest. This allows me to put my initial surge of energy and ability to handle heaviest of weights towards improving that aspect of my chest. The same goes for my rear delts. The first exercise in my delt workout will always be a mass builder, but the first isolation exercise is bent over raises. This ensures I still get maximum mass building ability using overhead presses, but at the same time targets my rear delts before the other two heads get isolated.
Muscle Group Priority: This second type of priority training is designed to help build up an entire weak muscle group. For example, I work chest first thing in the week, when I'm fresh and fully recovered, to once again, allow me to hit it with maximum energy and intensity. Since I started using this priority training technique, I've been getting some noticeable improvements in my overall look, as well as chest and rear delt proportions.
Why Do You Have a Weak Body Part?
Although this is how you may implement this training technique into your program, let's take a closer look at possible reasons that you have a weak body part developing in the first place. It's better to avoid it in the first place if at all possible. First the obvious. It's a well known fact that we all have body parts that develop faster than others. Now, instead of letting up on the strong body part, simply train the weak part that much more intensely. As Joe Weider would say "Never think of a faster-growing body part as getting ahead of others, simply think of the others as lagging". This mentality will ensure that you do not sacrifice the growth of your faster growing body part for the sake of increasing the size of your weak part. Another obvious reason that you may have a lagging body part is that you are not training a that particular muscle group. They won't grow if you don't train them, its that simple. Design a routine that incorporates every single muscle, and if at all possible, hit them from several different angles. Secondly, make sure you are applying the isolation principle to all your body parts. Basically make sure that the muscle you want to build is actually doing the work. For example, when performing bench presses, make sure your pecs are taking the load and doing the work, not the shoulders. The more you isolate a muscle, the more it will be stimulated, and therefore the more ability it has to grow. However, you must abide by the rules of recuperation for this growth phase to begin.
To answer the question in the title, "Priority Training is Tha Shit." It will force your body to grow the way you want it to. The earlier in the week a body part is trained, the better growth it will receive... usually. Now that you've read this article, take a good look at yourself in the mirror and pick out your weak points. Re-design your routine and destroy your weak-points.
Take pride in how far you've come. Have faith in how far you can go.