For example the shoulder muscle is comprised of 3 muscle heads, the anterior, medial and posterior (front, middle and back) a standard bench shoulder press will mainly incorporate your anterior (front) deltoid (shoulder muscle) head and your triceps. A lot of people tend to assume that by simply doing a shoulder press of sorts you will develop your full shoulder muscle, true in a sense, but you are only targeting 1/3 of the muscle and your triceps are taking a lot of the weight towards the end movement. By incorporating specific exercises you can target all 3/3 and will achieve a much more aesthetic, full and rounded muscle definition. This same principle applies to all muscle groups all over the body, each varying in their muscle composition.
The programme below is designed to target multiple muscle heads and branches for that specific area, we’re not body builders and can’t afford to live in the gym so it’s designed to be achievable within an hours workout five or six days a week. I train on a morning for an hour before work five or six days a week if I can, naturally the occasional hangovers affect this. It assumes you know correct lifting techniques
The exercises are paired up to work the agonist and antagonist to that muscle. So when we work the chest we then work the back, when we work the bi’s we work the tri’s etc. This is a good method to achieve balance, when you work a muscle it becomes tight, working the opposing muscle (antagonist) lengthens and stretches the previous muscle (agonist) and so on. It helps prevent poor posture, bad backs and rounded shoulders etc.
The exercise programme
Flat image: http://yourfirstwealthishealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/exercise-program.png (right click and select save as)
Advice on using it
- Work in muscle pairs (double sets) – light grey bands and white bands on the downloadable sheet, so when you do a set of chest press you then do a set of pull ups straight after, rest and then keep going until you’ve achieved all the sets for both in that grey or white band, then move on. The only exception to this is leg day, do the first three exercises one after the other then leg curl and extension back to back.
- Don’t rest for longer than a minute between each double set your muscles recover 70% of their max potential after a minute, that’s enough. After 3 minutes rest you have recovered all you will unless you rest for over an hour or longer. We want to keep the intensity up, heat and blood flow in the muscles (pump) to really stress the fibres – stick to a minute.
- If the reps in the next set decrease then increase the weight, so if you did 10 reps with 30kg dumbbells, next set you do 32kg for 8 reps and so on. Unless the reps stay the same in which case stick to the same weight.
- Focus on form 3 seconds up on the effort phase (concentric) and 3 seconds down on the negative phase (eccentric)
- Increase the starting weight after every two weeks
- Active your core throughout all moves keeping a neutral spine position
- Warm up well, stretch the muscle groups you will be working before and after
- You will find you can’t lift as much on some specific exercises as others, especially shoulder ones – this is great it’s known as weak point training and you’ll notice the most growth in size and strength on these areas and potentially if you have shoulder problems you may also notice it aids on solving the problem
- Tip – To really target your posterior deltoid head (back shoulder muscle head) which gives you that horse shoe look, slightly tilt your little finger up when doing bent over lateral raises (prone flys) as if you’re pouring out a jug of liquid.
A few tips… Naturally this is a massive topic with very subjective views impossible to cover all in one post. The below is just written from experience, trial and error meant for the 9 – 5 working person who has an active lifestyle around going to the gym. These tips focus on eating to increase muscle/strength while staying lean as that is what we’re trying to achieve with this programme. Daily protein intake should remain at 1 gram per pound of body weight.
- Don’t be scared of carbs – after all muscles are formed in the cement of carbohydrates. Without a good supply of them you won’t increase in muscles size, yes you may end up skinny and ripped by cutting them right down but you put your body into ketosis, it will breakdown proteins (your muscles for energy) and also store protein as fat so you’ll end up with stored pocket areas and much less developed muscle mass
- Muscles are made up of mainly water – glycogen (carbs) store water, people who reduce carb in take end up with flat muscles as their muscles aren’t in taking water and storing it. In short eat an adequate consistent supply of clean carbs and drink plenty of water and you’ll have bigger fuller muscles
- Eat complete proteins this means eating foods that have all nine amino acids in them of which your body cannot produce on its own. People assume that by simply drinking a whey protein shake that has 30g of protein in it your muscles will absorb all 30g and this will be enough, it’s not. Your body can’t form muscle fibres without amino acids. Realistically without a good supply of amino acids only about 20g, maybe less, of that protein shake is usable by your body. If carbs are the cement think of amino acids as the building blocks and the final structure as the strand of protein (muscle fibre). That is why body builders pair up foods to compensate for what each one of those foods lack in its amino acid profile. Quinoa and eggs are some of the best complete foods per gram of nutrient
- It’s good to think of the 5 hour window around when you train to eat plenty of carbs – if you train on a morning and have a light breakfast before training, say this takes an hour, you then have a four hour window to eat a high carb meal or two after you train. If you begin eating carbs two hours before you train you then have a three hour window after you train to eat more carbs and so on. How you much you eat is trial and error, in moderation – experiment
- After your 5 hour window try to reduce your carb consumption and stick to veg (high fibre) foods
- I’m sure you’ve heard of the 20min window after training to get lots of protein into your body, actually it’s carbs that are more important within that 20mins this is the first thing your muscles need to replenish followed by proteins and nutrients.
- Don’t train on an empty stomach even eating a tiny pre snack is much more beneficial
- Drink plenty of water
- Don’t be scared of salts you will loose a lot of them training hard and without salts your muscles can’t intake nutrient effectively thus your development is hindered
Here are the three supplements I use click to view each one in detail…
- Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Raw Vegan Powder – Natural, high quality, contains all nine essential amino acids
- MyProtein Instant Oats – A great way to get a quick hit of good calories after training, mixed in with with the above protein
- MyProtein Essential Amino Acids – For the above stated reason covered in ‘Diet’
I’m also a big fan of high nutrient food, foods that supply good levels of antitoxins, vitamins and minerals, your body becomes depleted when you train hard and your immune system is affected. Eating highly nutritious food is essential to compensate and feed your body for growth, for that reason I also add Sunwarrior super greens to my shakes on a morning as I don’t have the time to eat enough fruit and veg after a workout.
Questions, arguments, debates – please comment