Do you have a lagging body part or two? Do you want renewed size in that pain in the neck body part that refuses to grow? Well then, I’ve got the routine for you!
Please forgive me for the infomercial opener. Sometimes I cant resist. But to be serious, every weightlifter who has put in his time has a body part or two that refuses to grow at the same rate as the rest of his body. This can be one of the most frustrating times in a lifter’s career, and at times the most dire. Because no matter what is tried, nothing seems to work. I’ve been in that boat, and heck still am, but that hasn’t stopped me from experimenting and hoping to stumble upon the magic bullet of growth. So, I would now like to share with you one of the most promising specialization routines I have ever used.
Most guys who have picked up a modern bodybuilding magazine will have undoubtedly seen Ironman (IM) magazine. Even though I don’t care to look at these magazines anymore, IM has some bright minds on their payroll. And I’ll admit, I have received a few good ideas from their magazine. But by far one of my favorites is Steve Holman, IM’s editor for the past few years.
Back in the 90′s, Steve came up with a rather nice training protocol called positions of flexion (POF). He has been using it in conjunction with many other routines ever since. So it was while experimenting with his idea that I had an epiphany, Steve always extols the benefits of training a muscle through its full range of motion (mid-range, stretch, and contracted the corner stone of POF). So I thought about what would happen if you zeroed in on the stretch and contracted position by using only partial reps for these movements.
By using this partial range of motion, you can really crank up the weight and just smash that part of the range of motion. So I tried it on my biceps and shoulders - mind you my shoulders are a lagging body part for me – and by god did it work. The pump in my arms was extreme, but my shoulders were just scary. For a body part that almost never gets pumped to have a pump, and a hyooge one at that, was just insane.
So what does all this mean? Mid-range? Contracted? Stretch? Ok, ok… I know most of you will know what this is, but for those who don’t, let me give you a quick run down of the idea here.
Midrange – the big basic exercise for a body part that allows you to pile on the weight, like the bench press for chest.
Stretch – this is an exercise that forces a stretch on the muscle. Think incline dumbbell curls for biceps.
Contracted – this is an exercise that focuses on the point in the range of motion where your muscle is flexed. Think leg extensions for the quads.
So a POF routine for biceps might look like this:
- Barbell Curls – 2×6-8
- Incline Dumbbell Curls – 2×8-10
- Concentration Curls – 2×12-15
So to use my little twist to kick up the growth stimulus, you would use only the bottom half of the range of motion on the incline dumbbell curls, and the top half of the range of motion on the concentration curls.
I recommend this program only be used for a short specialization cycle, with a max of only 6-8 weeks before returning to a normal routine. Also, I would recommend that you do no more than two body parts for a cycle, and use the routine no more than twice a week. Other than that, all you need to do is eat, lift, and grow.