Here is Part 2 of a great series of articles from my friend and top IFBB Pro Ben Pakulski who shares some VALUABLE knowledge that all of us can apply IMMEDIATELY in order to double our gains. Using Ben’s advice I have been able to gain over 10-lbs of solid muscle in the last 6 months (something I thought was impossible for someone at my level). Thus, pay attention to what Ben has to say 🙂 For Part 1 click on the link below:
Solution #1 to Doubling Your Muscle Gains: Tension! Tension! Tension! Not Heavy Weight; Introducing Intentions
Bodybuilding Mistake: Believing That You Have “Genetically Weak ” Body Parts!
I know it sounds like a silly statement, but hear me out.
We all have our “strong” body parts. You and I both have body parts that just seem to grow much more easily than the rest of our parts: the part that we really don’t have to think about when we train: it just sort of feels natural and grows easily. Isn’t this so true?
Look at your training buddies and you’ll see how real this is. You and your training partner use the same weight and same exercises and same intensity and his arms are huge, and yours are small. Or perhaps it’s another body part this resonates with.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself WHY this is true?
The truth of the matter is that it’s what you DON’T SEE that is making all the difference in the world.
Is it just because maybe I did a few extra calf raises in my mother’s tummy? Or, maybe I knocked out a few extra pushups in there?
What does “genetics” really refer to? Does it mean that some people just have more dense muscle then I do?
Possibly, but people typically have the same muscle density all over their bodies (at least proportionally). So, out goes that theory.
So then, what does this umbrella term “genetics” actually refer to?
After having extensively studied biomechanics and observed more athletes than I care to remember, the answer is actually pretty simple.
Genetics refers to the “mechanical advantage” some muscles have, and other muscles do not.
To explain this in simple terms, it means that some people’s structure is just set up to develop certain body parts quickly.
Some people might have short arms, or slouched shoulders. Some might be double-jointed in their knees. Maybe they have a particular pelvic tilt to make their butt bigger, or certain spinal curvature that allows them to build their lat muscles much quicker. The list goes on!
What do all of these things have in common?
That leads us to Solution #2…
Solution #2 to Doubling Your Muscle Gains: Breaking Crappy Lifting Technique, & ReTraining Movement Patterns
They allow the person to keep the greatest amount of TENSION in a muscle over the longest RANGE OF MOTION (ROM), without having to think about it.
Think about your strongest and best body parts. For most of us, it’s the muscle and we just picked up a weight and went to work. You didn’t have to think about it; you just did it, right?
Well, no doubt, some muscles will always be easier to feel from day 1. Does this mean that we can’t make it so every other muscle feels this naturally, too??
YES WE CAN!
This Might Go Over Your Head But It’ll Open The Door To Exploding Slabs Of New Muscle Onto Your Frame…
Do your best to stay with me here…
The body moves in a series of predetermined patterns stored in the brain as something called “engram”. Basically, your brain remembers certain movement patterns and knows exactly which muscles to fire, and in what sequence, to produce that desired movement pattern.
So, every single movement you make is stored in your brain as an engram. (The only exception is a reflex -like pulling away when touching a hot stove).
The COOL thing is, every single one of these engrams can be CHANGED! It’s the amazing discovery called neuroplasticity! (Science geeks read up—fascinating stuff).
Basically, we just need to overwrite these old crappy movement patterns with the right ones!
This does NOT mean that everyone can relearn the engram for sprinting and kick Usain Bolt’s butt; sorry peeps, we still have to deal with muscle fiber composition.
BUT, it does mean that YOU can bring up ANY “lagging” body part and BLOW RIGHT PAST YOUR GENETIC POTENTIAL!
As many of you know, I do a lot of work with high-level athletes and I also get to work with many pro bodybuilders. The amazing advantage to being able to work with bodybuilders and athletes as my “test subjects” is that they are typically very “in tune” with their bodies and are able to apply my teaching very quickly.
The benefit of this, for me, is that I can quickly test any theory for validity. The true test, once the athlete understands what I’m trying to tell them, is how long it takes to see results. If the results I’m after are not quick enough, out the door they go, and on to the next theory.
A great example of this RELEARNING MOTOR ENGRAMS is with a client of mine– Mark. He came to me wanting to become a pro bodybuilder but he just couldn’t develop a certain part of his legs (vastus medialis or “tear drop muscle”). So, I had Mark demonstrate a few leg movements for me and it was clear to see that he wasn’t obeying a few basic rules of muscle- building.
1) Not maintaining tension – he was bouncing.
2) Not maintaining “straight lines”- his hips, knees, and ankles did not line up properly during the movement.
3) Not achieving a full ROM during his exercises.
Long story short, we made Mark take a step back. We had him relearn the proper motor engram for legs, applied the other principles set forth here, and he put 3 inches on his legs in 3 months doing the exact same movements and workouts he had done before.
Mark was blown away with how simple it was, and amazed by his results. I wasn’t surprised in the least. Actually, I expected it.
OK LISTEN UP! THIS IS HUGE…….
The TRICK when applying this principle is to NEVER use forced reps during the learning phase. When the set is done, it’s done. Forced reps will reinforce BAD movement patterns. We want your brain to remember the ideal movement and NOTHING ELSE. So when it comes time to train, you don’t have to think about it!
LEARN it now, grow FOREVER… exploit your will!
Take it from me! I went from a guy who was all legs, and am now well on my way to being one of the world’s most balanced and symmetrical pros.
Pretty cool, huh!?
I think so, too 😉
So to summarize:
The key is to overwrite old crappy movement patterns with new ones. For any lifter, especially serious bodybuilders, this is the number one reason you’re unable to grow. Knowing the OPTIMAL range of motion – how to fully lengthen (extend) and fully shorten (contract) a muscle – is the key to growing.
A muscle is weakest at the extreme points of the range of motion; i.e., when it is fully lengthened or fully shortened. Putting your muscle into these full ranges where we are most unfamiliar is critical to develop untapped and untrained muscle fibers. Strengthening these weak points of the muscle will strengthen the maximal ability of the entire muscle. It’s like when the worst player on the team gets better, even if it’s a small increase, the whole team benefits.
In my MI40 System I’ll teach you the proper anatomical function of each muscle so you can learn how to manipulate everything from shoulder position, hip orientation, spine flexion or extension, wrist position and elbow position in order to isolate „weak” body parts and say goodbye to them FOREVER.
It is important to realize that it is just as easy to learn the RIGHT technique as it is to learn the WRONG one. So why not choose now to learn the right way and say goodbye to crappy results?!
“Re learning proper technique might even help you finally build your calves!”
Until then, set you goals high and reach for the stars!