This article is based on research reviews and my personal experience with clients and myself. The basic general rule is to pick up a training plan where you hit all your muscles 2x/week. After deciding your training split, pick up your exercise variations for each muscle group.
We know that we always hit the large muscles first and the smaller muscles later. (For example upper body session- chest, back, delts, biceps and triceps) and the reason we do that is, larger muscles are more demanding than smaller ones. There are basically two types of movements:
1. Multi-joint Exercise
Multi-joint exercises involve superior mover muscles working with 2 or more joints. For example, the bench press involves prime mover muscles working at the shoulder and the elbow, while the squat involves prime mover muscles working at the hip, knee, and ankle.
2. Isolation Exercise
Isolation exercises involve single joint movements which are connected with the prime moving muscles like elbows are connected with biceps and triceps.
For a correct training direction, it is essential to understand the interplay among training variables, such as the load, volume, rest interval between sets and exercises, a frequency of sessions, exercise modality, repetition speed and, finally, exercise order. Sports medicine research has indicated that exercise order is an important variable that affects both acute responses and chronic adaptations to resistance training programs.
So I will share a few guidelines over here. There isn’t any wrong or right approach but you can do better with these points.
Traditional approach: You have Chest, Shoulder and Tricep workout. So normally folks would design their session like this:- 1. Bench press 2. Incline Bench press 3. Overhead Press 4. Lateral raises 5. Skull crusher
This is what traditional or general public like to do. So here is the trick, separate the same body part exercises to allow more training volume and increase the quality of the workout. You also know that high-muscle frequency training gives you better gains than training each muscle 1x/week. How come? This is due to more MPS elevations and a higher overall training volume.
The Trick way format: 1.Bench press 2. Overhead press 3. Incline Bench press 4. Skullcrusher 5. Lateral raises
Now here your chest gets a break from chest exercises, your shoulder gets a break from overhead press and lateral raises. This is just an example you can do this or whatever is comfortable for you. This trick can help you to lift more weights per exercise and do more reps.
This set up helps you to do more volume per body part and more quality workout and reps overall. Yes, this is true that giving minimum rest between exercises will maintain pump and other stuff, but you must realize that training volume is cumulative, tension ends up being equal overall or more with this method since you’re less fatigue and can lift more weights and can do more reps.
This would be appropriate for those folks who are interested in bodybuilding or training to look great naked which also falls in bodybuilding. If you into powerliftng then I suggest you perform your big 3 (squats, deadlift and bench press) before any isolation work.
Here are some recommendations for beginner, intermediates and advanced lifters.
Best way to put up muscle mass in your frame is to do compound movements and then isolation. It’s really important for you guys to learn the motor units of the basic movements. Have patience and be consistent with your plan. Keep basic exercises, progressive overload and recover from your overall training volume.
You guys have some good amount of years of training. This means you must have some decent amount of muscle mass in you. So if you have any lagging body part and you planning to bring it up I would suggest ya’ll train the lagging muscle before your strong one. This will help you to activate those muscle with a good amount of volume. But it shouldn’t be too much fatiguing which can really cause a decrease in your performance when you shift to main lifts. For example, if you want to do bench press but your chest is strong and you don’t get activation on triceps, in that case, you can perform an exercise of triceps before you hit chest. But don’t go all out as you have to perform a big movement after it.
Having a ton of experience in resistance training, its okay if you guys focus more on your lagging body parts. It makes more sense to develop your weakness and drop your volume from the strong ones.
Athletes like late intermediates and advanced can use metabolite techniques to add volume in a short period of time.
Mind muscle connection can be a great strategy when doing some isolation work. Research suggests it can add up an overall size to your musculature.
Conclusion: If you’re a beginner stick to the basics and just lift weights. Compound movements first and isolation movements later. If you prioritise your weak body part on a given day of your session by making it a point to train the weak muscle first and then other muscle groups. Don’t fatigue your small muscles before if you going to perform big movements later.
Shift the majority of volume to your weak body part. Moving 25% of volume work or more from the strong body part and adding giving that 25% to ur weak body part train your weak body part with all rep ranges, don’t stick with a certain number. If nothing works then use techniques like rest pause sets, slow eccentrics, BFR (metabolite blocks). Focus on contracting the targeted muscle group like when doing lat pulldown for lats (back). Are you sure you are engaging your lats more than engaging your biceps and traps?
Mind-muscle connection- Thinking about the muscle and contracting more effectively majorly done in isolation movements. Recent scientific studies have proved it that it works.
Duration of specialization- If you think you have a lagging body part then you need to work on it for 2-3 mesocycles and get back to your balanced training plan again. Recovery is one of the most important things, do enough volume from which you can recover. Recovery will help you gain new muscle mass. Positive mindset, stay patient and consistent with your training. Keep things simple and realistic.
Yashovardhan Singh is a fitness coach with GetSetGo Fitness and a former national football player. He likes to keep a no-nonsense approach to fitness by applying scientific literature to provide results to his clients. Reach him at [email protected] for coaching and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.