By John Meadows, C.S.C.S. Men’s Fitness
If you’ve been training for a while, your goal isn’t just to “get big” or “get lean” anymore. You’re at the point now where you’re noticing that some muscles just aren’t coming in like other ones, and you want to refine your physique by working on your weak points and emphasizing certain hard-gain areas. This is what muscle building is all about—isolating muscles to carve the shape and look you want out of your physique. This month’s program maps out exactly how to bring up the body parts you think are lagging, while giving you a template to build overall muscle strength.
HOW IT WORKS:
A basic training program has been prescribed for every body part on the following pages. To emphasize some muscles over others, you simply need to plug in the appropriate exercises that focus on them from the lists provided. The areas we’re offering targeted training for are the upper chest, lower lats, side delts, biceps, and calves— common weak points on guys that, when corrected, really make for a complete physique. Customize the workouts as you like, and get the body you want at last.
Perform the chest/shoulders and legs workouts on consecutive days, if possible. Then, rest a day, perform the back workout, rest another day, do the arm workout, and rest again before repeating the entire cycle.
Exercises marked with an asterisk (*) also feature substitutions to target a weak point. To integrate an alternate move, swap the number of the exercise in the workout with its corresponding replacement number in one of the sidebar boxes. For example, if you want to target your upper chest, find the “Upper-chest Emphasis” exercise list and replace the dumbbell bench press with the incline dumbbell flye (or incline cable flye), the bench press with the incline bench press, and the wide-grip dip with the stretch pushup. Note that the arms and calves don’t need replacement exercises: They’re simply trained more often or with more volume.
CHEST & SHOULDERS >>
1. Dumbbell Bench Press * Sets: 4 Reps: 10 Rest: 90 sec. > Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on a flat bench with the weights at shoulder level. Press the weights over your chest.
2. Bench Press * Sets: 4 Reps: 10, 8, 6, 4 Rest: 120 sec. > Arch your back and grasp the bar outside shoulder width. Pull it out of the rack and lower the bar to your sternum, tucking your elbows near your sides. Press the bar up.
3. Cable Crossover *Sets: 2 Reps: 20 Rest: 60 sec. > Attach single-grip handles to two facing pulley stations. Grasp the handles and step forward with arms out to your sides so you feel a stretch on your pecs. Perform a flye motion, bringing the handles in front of your chest.
4. Wide-grip Dip *Sets: 2 Reps: As many as possible Rest: 120 sec. > Position yourself at the widest part of your dip bars. suspend yourself over the bars and lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Press yourself up a few inches, but not to lockout, and then lower yourself again.
5. Dumbbell Lateral Raise *Sets: 3 Reps: 25 Rest: 90 sec. > Hold a dumbbell in each hand and raise the weights out 90 degrees so your arms are parallel to the floor.
6. Arnold Press * Sets: 4 Reps: 6 Rest: 90 sec. > Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing you just under chin level. Press the weights overhead as you twist your palms to face forward at lockout.
7. Bentover Lateral Raise Sets: 3 Reps: 30 Rest: 120 sec. > Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend your hips back to lower your torso until it’s parallel to the floor. raise your arms 90 degrees out to your sides.
SUB OPTIONS: Upper Chest
* 1. Inclinde Dumbbell Flye with Palms-Down Grip
* 2. Incline Cable Flye with Palms-Down Grip
* 3. Low-Incline Bench Press (incline the bench only slightly)
* 4. Stretch Push Up with Feet Elevated
SUB OPTIONS: Shoulders/Side Delts
* 5. Lateral Raise with Partial Range of Motion: Use heavy dumbbells and swing the weights only a few inches away from your sides.
* 6. Over and Back Press: Press a bar overhead but don’t lock out your elbows. Lower it behind your neck, then press up.
1. Lying Leg Curl Sets: 4 Reps: 15 Rest: 120 sec. > Lie facedown on a leg curl machine and brace your feet under the pad. Bend your knees to curl the pad.
2. Squat Sets: 4 Reps: 12, 10, 8, 6 Rest: 120 sec. > Grasp the bar outside shoulder width and pull your shoulder blades together. Dip under the bar and raise it off the supports of the squat rack so it rests on your traps or rear delts. Step back and set your feet at shoulder width. Take a deep breath and push your hips back to lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.
3. Close-stance Leg Press Sets: 3 Reps: 20 Rest: 120 sec. > Set up in a leg press machine and place your feet inside shoulder width on the foot plate. Lower the plate until your knees are bent 90 degrees, and then press back up.
4. Dumbbell Stiff-leg Deadlift Sets: 4 Reps: 8 Rest: 120 sec. > Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back to lower your torso until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
CALVES EMPHASIS *
1. Tibialis Raise
Rest: 120 sec.
> Stand on a block or step with your toes hanging over the edge and rock your heels back, raising your toes as high as you can.
1. Dumbbell Row * Sets: 4 Reps: 8 each side Rest: 120 sec. > Place your right knee and palm on a bench and hold a dumbbell in your left hand. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you row the dumbbell to your ribs.
2. Deadlift * Sets: 4 Reps: 6, 5, 4, 3 Rest: as needed > Stand with feet hip width and grasp the bar outside your knees. keeping your lower back flat, push through your heels and extend your hips and knees until you’re standing tall.
3. Wide-grip Pulldown * Sets: 3 Reps: 12 Rest: 120 sec. > Sit at a lat-pulldown station and grasp the bar with an outside shoulder-width grip. Pull the bar down to your collarbone.
4. Dumbbell Pullover Sets: 3 Reps: 12 Rest: 120 sec.> Hold the end of a dumbbell with both hands and lie on a flat bench. lower the weight behind your head, then straighten arms back over your forehead.
SUB OPTIONS: Back/Lower Lats
* 1. Single-arm Pulldown with Palm-Facing Grip:
> Atttached a single-grip handle to a high-pulley cable, and pull the handle down to your collarbone under control with one hand.
* 2. Rack Pull:
> Set a barbell on the spotter bars of a power rack so it’s just below knee height. Grasp the bar outside your knees and drive your heels into the floor to extend your hips to lockout.
* 3. One-arm Barbell Row
ARMS, ABS & CALVES
1. Barbell Curl Sets: 4 Reps: 8 Rest: 60 sec. > Hold a barbell with hands shoulder width and palms facing up. Keeping your elbows pinned to your sides, curl the bar up.
2. Seated Dumbbell Curl Sets: 4 Reps: 8 Rest: 60 sec. > Sit on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Curl the weights up simultaneously.
3. Preacher Curl Sets: 4 Reps: 6 Rest: 60 sec. > Hold a barbell at shoulder width and sit at a preacher bench with your armpits just above the edge of the bench. Lower the bar, but don’t extend your elbows completely
4. V-bar Pushdown Sets: 4 Reps: 15 Rest: 60 sec. > Grasp a V-grip handle on the high pulley of a cable station, palms down. Keeping elbows at your sides, push down and flex your triceps at the bottom.
5. Bench Dip Sets: 4 Reps: As many as possible Rest: 120 sec. > Place your palms on the bench behind you and your feet on one in front of you. Suspend yourself above the benches and bend your elbows to lower your body between them.
6. Incline Lying Triceps Extension Sets: 4 Reps: 15 Rest: 60 sec. > Set an incline bench to 45 degrees and lie on it holding an EZ-bar with hands inside shoulder-width. Press up, bend your elbows to lower the weight, then extend your elbows.
7. Handing Leg Raise Sets: 4 Reps: As many as possible Rest: 120 sec. > Hang from a pullup bar and raise your legs up to your hands, crunching your hips to your torso.
8. Decline Sit Up Sets: 4 Reps: As many as possible Rest: 120 sec. > Set an adjustable bench to a 30- to 45-degree decline and lie down on it, bracing your feet. Sit up fully.
9. Standing Calve Raise Sets: 3 Reps: 30 Rest: 120 sec. > Use a standing calf raise machine or stand on a block with a dumbbell in your hand. Allow your heels to sink toward the floor so you feel a stretch on your calves an then press them up.
10. Seated Calve Raise Sets: 3 Reps: 12 Rest: 120 sec. > Use a seated calf raise machine or sit on a bench with your feet on a block or step and a weight on your thighs. Perform a calf raise as described above.
11. Tiabilis Raise Sets: 3 Reps: 25 Rest: 120 sec. > Stand on a block or step with your toes hanging over the edge and rock your heels back, raising your toes as high as you can.
BICEPS EMPHASIS *
> Choose two biceps exercises and perform three sets of each after your back training. Do this in addition to the arm workout day. Hold the op of each rep for one second while flexing, and take three seconds to lower the weight on each rep.