Today´s blog post is an urging to all readers to make sure to customize not only your program as a whole – but your routine for each muscle group. During my last few sessions I have experienced firsthand with this important principle: the need to customize one’s approach to the different muscle groups.
If you, like me, are dedicated to the iron, then you are familiar with the entertaining value of reading up on different routines, systems and schools. I have found that there are often extra gains and further development to be found if one is ready to experiment with different rep numbers for different muscle groups, within the frames of one single workout session.
My legs, for example, don’t respond especially well to the (nowadays…) often heard mantra that one should aim for heavy sets, within the rep range of 3 to 6. They respond much better to training within the rep range of 8 to 12. When I train my biceps I occasionally go really heavy, curling sets of 5 – while I, most often, grant my triceps sets of 10 to 15. And so on. The point is to learn to listen to your own body and acquire knowledge about your own preferences.
All muscle groups don’t necessarily respond the same to a certain workout philosophy. Your own perfect routine might, in theory, mean doing 5x5 workouts for your legs, while following the principles of GVT for your chest and back. This is definitely true for me. My arms, for example, respond very well to high volume training. If I do 40 sets of 10-15 reps in a workout session (which must be consider very high volume) I will always leave the gym with a great pump, while my shoulders, even though they are capable of the same kind of high volume will respond more easily to a mixture of light and heavy weights.
So, if you feel like you have hit a plateau in your development, then maybe you should try mixing it up in accordance with these insights. It is a good thing, of course, to have some solid guidelines that one feel one can rely upon when composing one’s workout routine – but, nevertheless, it is also of the outmost importance that one is able to map out one’s weaknesses and strengths in a way that allows for a customized program.
I´ll end this post on a somewhat different note, sharing the last 3 days’ workout sessions in detail:
Sunday: Biceps, Triceps
1. Superset No 1:
Biceps curl, standing alternated, dumbbells, 6x14
Triceps pressdowns, one-handed, 6x12-20/arm.
2. Superset No 2:
Biceps curl, cable, from the floor, one-handed, 6x12-20/arm.
Triceps pushups on bench, feet on the floor, 4x30-40
3. Superset No 3:
Biceps curl, barbell, 4x12
Skullcrushers + Close grip benchpress, 3x12-15 + 3x12
Extremely good pump. Responding very well to the high volume training. A very fun and entertaining session that made me long for the next arm workout before I had even left the building. As always relying heavily on super-setting and high intensity when training my arms.
Monday: Legs, calves, Abs + Cardio 5 minutes
1. Myotatic crunches on Bosu ball, 3x12
2. Alternating crunches on Bosu ball, 3x12/side
3. Leg extensions, 5x12-15
4. Hamstring extensions, 5x12
5. Cardio: running, treadmill, 5 minutes
6. Calf raises in machine, 5x12
Comments on Monday’s session:
A light and quick session where I never really pushed myself (but still ended up with abs soreness the day after – which I accredit to a good level of concentration in the Myotatic Bosu ball crunches). A low total number of sets for me – and a very low number of sets per muscle group, but still rewarding, leaving me strengthened and highly motivated to come back the next day in order to step things up again.
5. Standing rows, cable, from the floor, rope, 6x12-20 + 2x drop sets
6. Standing lateral raises, 3x12
7. Shoulder presses, machine, 3x12-20
8. Lats pulldowns, 4x6-8
9. Bent over barbell rows, 2x20-30
Comments on Tuesday’s session:
A hard workout session. I really went for it. I wasn´t, however, rewarded with maximum pump. It was a good workout, but my body wouldn’t respond a hundred percent. I didn’t mind, though – instead I took pride in working hard. Many sets, many different exercises, many reps – all this, eventually, forced the blood to start flowing and the muscles to respond enough for the workout to be rated a truly good one in the end.