Posted 4 weeks ago

Bringing up weak areas to improve your physique

Let’s be honest – the chances are that most people need more muscle everywhere (is anyone ever satisfied?!). However, most of us have some stronger and weaker body parts or areas in our physique. As such, when working towards building a well-balanced physique, you will need to focus and plan your training so that you bring up weaker or less developed areas as you go.

There are a few factors that could explain why you have some lagging body parts. For example, you may not enjoy training them as much, you aren’t as strong in those moves, you don’t progress certain moves as much across the month, you don’t prioritise them enough in your rotation (aka the volume isn’t right), or your exercise selection is inappropriate relative to the goal.

If you’re sitting there nodding along, thinking about that weak body part you have that you want to improve, then read along!! Below is a list of considerations you may want to think about to ensure you progress those body parts.

DON’T CHUCK THE KITCHEN SINK AT IT

When an area needs to be brought up, most people’s first thought is to do more and more volume in the hopes of improving it. However, in doing so, they’re missing an obvious point: if a muscle isn’t improving, it is likely that you aren’t using it properly, so more volume will just be wasted.

LEARN HOW TO CONTRACT AND IMPROVE FORM

Contracting is the key factor of building tissue. Therefore, instead of adding in junk volume, my advice is that you take a few steps back to relearn how to use that muscle. I cannot emphasise how important this step is – yes, your ego might take a hit, but your ego isn’t a muscle you need to improve, is it? Of course, how much you can lift is a contributing factor to building muscle but moving weight for the sake of it with sloppy form will be counterproductive and just stupid. If your log-book strength isn’t reflected in your physique, then that suggests it might be time to pull things back a little and build them back up better.

YOU ARE CHOOSING MOVEMENTS THAT DON’T WORK FOR YOU

There are no magic movements for muscle growth, so don’t get carried away by Instagram coaches’ flavour of the month. If you connect well with a muscle but can’t connect with a specific movement, that’s ok!! Pick movements that suit your mechanics and that you can progress – don’t think that you have to do an exercise because everyone else seems to be doing it. Once you find exercises that you can move well with, the process is easy: rinse, progress, dry.

PRIORITISE IT

It is likely that your lagging body part is just one that you struggle to enjoy training. Enjoyment plays a huge part of pushing yourself and putting your all into a session, which of course, leads to more progress. Energy levels during a session can be an influencing factor here too – therefore, I’d suggest that you prioritise the lagging body parts to the start of your session.

VOLUME AND FREQUENCY

If you know you have improved how you move, you are nailing movements and progressing them in the logbook but are still not seeing much change, then it might be that you simply need to steadily increase the training volume on that body part! You can either do this by increasing volume in each session, or by increasing frequency across the week (the latter will probably help more with recovery). The key is to make a change and examine the results and data – there’s no secret formula to muscle gain, so be meticulous in your approach, understand what you’re changing and how it’s helping you change, and take it from there.

ASSESSMENT

Always be critical of what you are doing – everyone can always improve on how they train! If you have a lagging body part, you might just not be looking over what you are doing and how well you are doing it. You’re not alone though – falling into the cycle of thinking movements are good and volume is perfect happens a lot!!

There is always a way to improve you just need to find it.

Ally Burdge