If you takeyour lifting seriously, then are probably on a program that focuses all of yourattention on one major muscle group at a time. This is a powerful approach thatwill definitely get you as big and as hard as you would like to be. Focussingon each group, with maximum attention to form and intensity, will make you growfast and prevent injury. But unfortunately, this kind of approach is not theideal for the composition of your muscles.
Muscles aremade of two kinds of fibres – fast twitch and slow twitch. These fibres work atdifferent times to deliver the kind of power for the movement that you need.Fast twitch muscle fibre is responsible for more explosive movements – running,explosive lifts, punching and so on. Slow twitch muscle fibre lies deeperwithin the muscle, and gives your stamina for those big, deliberate movementslike maximum slow leg presses. When you train, you activate both these kinds ofmuscle fibres differently, but the problem in this case is your muscle memory.After a few weeks or months of the same kind of training, your muscle fibresremember everything that you’ve done. I’m not talking about the addedresistance as you add weight – that requires work every time you lift. I’mtalking about the way in which your muscle fibres remember the movements thatyou make, and start to take less and less interest in the things that you aredoing, limiting your growth and performance.
This is themajor downfall with muscle-specific training. You get gains because of thefocus on the muscle and the increased damage cause by greater resistance, butyour muscles are used to all of the movements, and so you are not using theirfull potential. You are also limiting the length of the muscles, as both kindsof fibres are not being used at once. What you need to do is to completelyconfuse your body by bringing in an unusual training movement every now andthen, just so that your muscle doesn’t forget just how hard it can work. Theseare the kind of movements that work obscure muscles at unusual angels, so thatyou really put the muscle fibres to the test.
There are anumber of ways in which you can hit these forgotten muscle zones, and I’vefound that one of the most effective ways is compound movement training. Now assoon as you’ve read that, you’ve probably laughed it off, or wanted to stopreading. You’re laughing at me right now. Compound movement training is foryoga instructors and girls right? Try this. Take half of your normal lungeweight, and then approach a box. Step onto the box with your left foot, andthen as you do, drive the weight in your right hand upwards and twist it (likean Arnold press). A few sets of these on each side will show you the benefitsof twisting and extending those muscles fibres as a supplement to a regularmuscle-specific training regime – legs, gluts, oblique’s, shoulders, biceps,triceps, forearms, all at once and all new. Good luck and happy lifting.
This guestpost was written by freelance writer Victoria. She is a stay at home mom thatis currently learning about Canada FAQ.