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BendtheBar 06-19-2011 11:00 AM

Bodypart Training and Strength and Muscle Building
Bodypart Training and Strength and Muscle Building

Bodypart training is the focus on training each individual muscle with what is considered an effective number of sets. In my opinion there are two major deficiencies when using a bodypart training system:

#1 - Training Planes. The human body was designed to efficiently/effectively handle weight (resistance) along several planes. These planes include:

Pushing from the chest.
Pulling towards the chest.
Pushing overhead.
Pulling down from overhead. (This is generally not directly down from overhead, but rather to the upper chest ala a pull up)
Lifting something off the ground.
Squatting and standing.

#2 - Natural Movements. The human body was designed to perform many movements naturally with power. These movements are generally what we consider to be compound exercises. Most of these lifts are variations or combinations of the above training planes.

Many isolation lifts are not natural movements. They force the body to fight against resistance with poor leverage using movements that are weak and inefficient. It is not uncommon to see lifters modifying (cheating or turning them into more of a compound exercise) isolation exercises to allow for heavier weight.

Training Planes and Natural Movements

The point of this ramble isn't to attack bodypart training. We all know bodypart splits work. What I am hoping to do here is better equip lifters to choose exercises based on training planes and natural movements.

Dungeon training is about progression of weight using heavy compound exercises. Many of my preferred workouts are either fullbody workouts, upper lower splits, or 3-4 day splits. You will find no 5-6 day per week blasting sessions.

Because we are training "only" 3-4 days per week, we need to take exercise selection seriously. Adding exercises in a haphazard manner is not the way to design programs.

It should also be said that a major problem with fullbody and strength/powerbuilding workouts is that trainees approach them with a "bodypart lens". They try to cram in exercises for every bodypart, feeling that this is the golden key.

It's not. Fullbody and powerbuilding workouts are about hitting the body as a whole.

I challenge you to ignore bodyparts for a moment, and instead try to piece together a workout based on training planes and natural movements. Once you have major movements in place for these planes, you can then add in extra work based upon your goals.

If your goal is muscle building, add in a few sets of abs, bicep and calf work (etc.). If your goal is strength building, add in appropriate accessory exercises (heavy abs, speed work, whatever).

So enough of the verbal diarrhea. Here are some solid movement choices that involve natural planes and movements:

Pushing from the chest

Bench press, dumbbell bench press, incline bench press, dips, decline bench press, push ups, etc.

Pulling towards the chest

Barbell rows, dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, stead cable rows, etc.

Pushing overhead

Military press, push press, Arnold press, stead dumbbell press, BTN press, etc.

Pulling down from overhead

Pull ups, rack chins, lat pull downs (not my favorite choice, but not all of you are pull ups machines.)

Lifting something off the ground

Deadlifts, suit case deadlifts, rack deads, etc.

Squatting and standing

Squats, front squats, goblet squats, etc.

The Back and Plane Training

As you can see, the back is heavily involved in many of the planes. Make sure you structure your workout wisely to fit in movements like deadlifts, pull ups and rows.

In a fullbody structure you could use one of these movements per day. In a upper/lower split, you could pair back movements with their opposing lifts:

--Pull/push from chest - Bench press and barbell rows.
--Pull/push overhead - Overhead press and pull ups.

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