Bodybuilders, as a rule, lift weights to build muscle. Totally forgetting, for the moment, about such things as shape, proportion and symmetry, the bottom line is muscle.
Where you build the muscle and how much you build I've dealt with in previous articles on symmetry and shape training. This time I'm talking only about how muscle is built and why some bodybuilders do a very good job of building muscle, and why some do not do such a good job.
Usually when a bodybuilder grows quickly we label him an easy gainer, while those who gain slowly we label hard gainers. Remember, not ALL of your problems with building muscle may stem from your genetics. We overlook the obvious factors, such as how hard a person trains, how consistently he trains, whether or not he overtrains, how well he eats, whether or not he takes supplements, whether he takes steroids and drugs and how much sleep and recuperation he gets.
It is no small coincidence that easy gainers are most often those who train hard and consistently but do not overtrain, never miss workouts, eat plenty of good food, take food supplements (and unfortunately, often take steroids and other drugs), try to sleep eight hours a night and generally live a bodybuilding lifestyle, while many hard gainers don't train hard, miss workouts frequently, eat junk food regularly, never take supplements or only very small amounts of them, run around doing you-name-it and try to get by on only four hours sleep a night.
Instead of recognizing they are doing everything wrong and accepting responsibility for their lack of progress they cop out and blame it on their genetics. Or they write off the easy gainers success to genetics and/or steroids. Give me a break!
Now, I am not saying genetics do not matter nor do I discount the effects of steroids, especially for the bodybuilder that wants to develop himself to the highest levels possible, but for the average bodybuilder who never plans to compete genetics and drugs are just not that important. Besides, someone else's genetics DO NO MATTER; it's only your own genetics you should be concerned about, and you have to work with what you have.
About genetics: I think you have to have a positive attitude. Instead of pointlessly whining and complaining about what you were not given, do the best you can with what you WERE given.
However, you do have to face the fact that there are genetic superior types out there who do have advantages over most of us. They have superior size and strength. They have what Arthur Jones calls better "neurological efficiency," which means they have a more efficient nervous system and can activate more muscle fibers for each rep they lift a weight. This accounts for them being naturally stronger. Some genetic superiors have better "nerve force," as Peary Rader said, which means they are able to generate more nerve force to the muscle and make it contract harder than the average person, so the neurological pathways are better developed.
As well, genetic superiors invariably have better bone structure and muscle tone, more muscle cells, longer, fuller muscle bellies, better natural shape, smaller joints, superior recovery abilities, better appetites, metabolisms and assimilation. They also have fewer fat cells and the fat cells they do have are evenly distributed all over their bodies instead of being clumped up around their waists, hips and glutes. They also convert fats to fatty acids more easily than the average person, so they can burn fats off their bodies more efficiently without apparent muscle loss.
That's A LOT of advantages!
Obviously it would be a very rare individual who had all these advantages an no "defects," while nearly everybody has at least some of these advantages in their genetic makeup. In other words, we all have our good and bad points when it comes to building muscle. That's why some people make good bodybuilders but poor powerlifters and vice versa. It's a rare champion in both sports, because a genetic advantage in one sport could be a disadvantage in another.
Take Sergio Oliva Oliva, for example. He has a naturally very small waist which for a bodybuilder is a great gift. But Sergio started as an Olympic lifter, and for an Oly lifter a small waist is a handicap. It makes it harder to utilize the power from the legs and hips that is needed.
And you must remember that bad genetics DOES NOT mean you cannot build muscle. It sometimes means that the muscle you build is in the wrong places, or the bone structure is all wrong. The shape and proportions are wrong and you don't look "rights." I mean, you can build huge muscle size and be able to bench press and squat big weights for reps and still have lousy genetics for bodybuilding while some woman could have 14 inch arms and 22 inch thighs and only bench 150 and have absolutely perfect, fantastic genetics for bodybuilding. Keep that in mind.
One last thing before we leave genetics. A proverb says "It's not how you start that matters, rather it's how you finish that counts." In other words, even if you have ordinary genetics, with time, effort and persistence (and proper, intelligent training) you can still achieve greatness in bodybuilding. Take the fable about the hare and the tortoise, as an example. Think of the hare as someone with great genetics and the tortoise as someone with average or poor genetics. In the long run, the tortoise beat the hare because he was slow but steady with his efforts. The hare, with all his genetic advantages, was too lazy to take advantage of them. In the long run, you just have to believe that you can do it.
Note: Every time I hear this tortoise/hare nonsense I keep seeing a great rabbit stew with that extra flavor-bonus of turtle broth added to it. How's that for a lesson in life? Now, don't be TOO patient in getting what you want from your lifting . . . aging is the gift that keeps on taking, thank you so much. I may have to, if I live long enough, change the name of this blog to The Slightly Damp Pants of a Sleazy Old Man. Anyhow . . .
Of course, sometimes the genetically disadvantaged need help to make stubborn muscles grow. Lack of muscle growth is a complex problem and it is seldom solved with a simple answer. Rather, it takes a holistic solution to solve a complex problem. This means you have to pay special attention to nutrition and recuperation and your training must be something extra special.
Sometimes you have to try things quite unusual to get a muscle to grow. That's what this article is about. It is written for the guy who has tried "everything" and came up dry. That's not to say people with good genetics cannot benefit from what I have to say (they can, for sure), but it is especially for the guy who is at the end of his rope over a muscle that just won't grow.
Just because a muscle (or muscles) do not grow with regular training does not mean it won't ever grow. All muscles can be made to grow to a least some degree but often it takes special techniques to make them grow.
Let's first look at how the average bodybuilder tries to get past a sticking point in muscle growth when he encounters it. When a muscle just won't grow, he will usually do one or more of several things.
1) Train that muscle first in his workouts, using the "priority" principle, when his strength, energy and concentration are highest.
2) Experiment with different exercises for the lagging muscle group in hopes that a new exercise will magically produce growth when other exercises for the same muscle would not.
3) Try different training principles for the muscle. For example, try changing from straight sets to supersets.
4) Up the number of sets done for the muscle in hopes that more sets will stimulate more muscle growth.
5) Up both the sets and the number of exercises done for the lagging muscle in hopes that hitting the muscle from different angles will jolt it into growth.
6) Train the lagging muscle more often than normal (for example, instead of twice a week, work it three, four, or five times a week.
7) Add even more weight to the bar.
I'd say that's a pretty typical approach by most bodybuilders and usually utilizing one or more of these methods will do the job, and stimulate more muscle growth. And if that works for you, great! Keep using what works. That's probably the first rule of bodybuilding. "Never change a winning game plan and always change a losing one."
But what if these methods don't work or growth is still very slow? Then I think it's time to take a step back and try to look at the cause of your lack of muscle growth. If you're sure your nutrition is alright, if you're sure you're recuperating properly and you're not overtraining, then it's time for something new. That's obvious. You never keep following a losing game plan. It's time for a new approach to stimulating growth in muscles that previously just wouldn't grow. Now some of the things I suggest in this article may seem rather bizarre but keep an open mind. Don't dismiss these ideas until you try them yourself.
First, a little background. I know, I'm taking the long route to get to the meat of this article but bear with me. I think you'll understand better what I'm trying to say doing this way. It will make things clearer to you when I suggest ways to stimulate growth in stubborn muscles.
The problem with bodybuilding and weight training is that there is no single method for building muscle. There are many, many ways and this only confuses the average bodybuilder looking for the "method," that secret that will allow him to become what he desires. For years there have been heated arguments among weight trainers as to just what is the best way to promote muscular growth and build maximum size and muscularity. Is it heavy weights and low reps, or more moderate weights and high reps? Obviously there have been successful bodybuilders to use both methods and both camps have persuasive arguments for their positions.
The heavier-the-better advocates point out that muscles quickly adapt to workouts that are not progressive and therefore the muscles must be continually stressed by heavier and heavier workloads if the muscles are to grow bigger and stronger. They often say a muscle that is bit but not strong is a useless muscle and that bodybuilders should be as strong as they look. They also point out that the use of heavy weights strengthens the bones, ligaments and tendons, as well as hitting the deep fibers of the muscles, forcing them to grow in size, strength and thickness.
The more moderate-the-better advocates counter by saying that progressive weight training does not always mean adding more and more weight, that you can increase the workload to the muscles and the intensity by decreasing the rest time between sets, increasing the number of sets done and using a stricter exercise style -- a more concentrated continuous style of training. Using this latter method, moderate weights can be made to feel much heavier. Many people are surprised to find that although they are using less weight (in strict, concentrated, continuous-tension style of training where the emphasis is to keep conscious mental contact with the working muscle, feeling it work, and trying to make it contract harder each rep and not just cheating and hoisting the weight up), their muscles are working harder and ache, burn and pump far more than when using much heavier weights in looser style.
The moderate trainers also insist pump is best for growth and that using too heavy a weight puts the body on the defensive, making the bones, ligaments and tendons do most of the work while the actual muscles do not work hard enough. They also say lifting weights too heavy causes too many injuries, and strength should not matter to a bodybuilder. All that matters is how you look.
Let's look at the actual components of a muscle to determine why both camps are right some of the time. Inside every muscle fiber there are a number of small and important bodies but the great mass of a muscle is composed of three substances.
The first component is the myofibrils, which constitute 20-30% of muscle cells' size, the mitochondria, which constitutes 15-25% of the cells' size and the sarcoplasm, which contributes 20-30% of the cells' size. The remainder of the muscle is made up of capillaries (3-5%), connective tissue (2-3%), fat depositis (10-15%), glycogen (2-5%) and other subcellular substances (4-7%).
The myofibrils, called "contractile muscle," are the components in a muscle cell that allow the muscle to sustain maximum contraction for maximum power and strength. To develop the myofibrils, it is necessary to do low reps with heavy weights (1-5 reps) in an explosive manner, through a complete range of motion. The low reps are excellent for recruiting more nerve motor units to fire simultaneously during a movement and this results in a stronger muscle contraction.
The sarcoplasm is called "metabolic muscle." It does, as the name implies, the metabolic work of the muscle. Sarcoplasm is a protein liquid substance that saturates and surrounds all the components in a muscle cell. It contains all the enzymes and specialized structures it needs to convert fat to sugars, turn sugars to energy for the muscle and help metabolize waste products. Metabolic muscle produces energy for the muscle during contraction. It is aided in its work by the cardiovascular system which brings in new supplies. Sarcoplasm increases proportionately with increases in myofibrils and mitochondria but higher reps, in the 12-20 range, develops sarcoplasm best.
The mitochondria are developed by high reps in the 15-30 range. When developed the mitochondria increases endurance of the muscle by bringing more blood and oxygen into the muscle.
Since most bodybuilders employ reps in the 6-12 range per set, they will develop some myofibrils and some degree of mitochondria and sarcoplasm. People who do higher reps will build little contractile muscle and mostly metabolic muscle while those who do lower reps are obviously going to build mostly contractile muscle. The contractile strength of a muscle is proportionate to the percentage of myofibril content; a muscle that has a high percentage of contractile muscle is called "fast twitch muscle." A muscle that has a high percentage of mitochondria is called a "slow twitch muscle."
No muscle is 100% fast twitch or slow twitch but one fiber type is predominant. If a bodybuilder has more slow twitch fibers, he will be capable of doing more repetitions of an exercise before tiring. If a person has more fast twitch fibers, then they would be more capable of performing a much higher maximum single rep.
It should now be obvious that people who favor heavy lifting get strong, thick, dense muscles due to the myofibril muscle fibers increasing in thickness but because little pumping is done, they get little capillary size or mitochondria and sarcoplasm.
Muscle pumpers, due to the high number of sets and reps performed don't have the strength, thickness or density of the heavy trainers but have lots of metabolic muscle and capillaries. It's obvious, to develop maximum muscle size, one should combine both styles of training -- to get the best of both worlds, so to speak.
This style of training has been used successfully by many enlightened bodybuilders since the 1960's. It is called heavy-light training (since the '60s? Garsh, maybe even earlier.) I wrote and article on the benefits of heavy-light training in Musclemag over four years ago.
People who incorporate both styles of training into their workouts achieved a look and development that the weight trainers who stuck solely to one method could not match.
But the method of combining heavy and light training needed some refining to really optimize muscle growth. The first person to really try and analyze and come up with a system for combining heavy and light methods was, as far as I can see, Dennis DuBreuil, who wrote an excellent series of articles on the topic for Iron Man magazine over 10 years ago.
Also check out the July 1978 issue:
"Positioning for the Pump" on page 18.
DuBreuil was a man ahead of his time. He called his system the "Fatigue Product" theory. DuBreuil theorized that fatigue products, those waste products that are produced by muscular exertion when weight training are involved in re-building a muscle and stimulating growth in a muscle.
I want to give credit where credit is due because I think DuBreuil was onto something valid and of great benefit to all weight-trainers (and if you are reading this Dennis, or anyone knows the whereabouts of Dennis, please write to me at MuscleMag, as I would be interested in him doing articles for the magazine). I don't totally agree with everything DuBreuil has to say but for the most part I do. I will point out areas where I disagree with Dennis but this is not meant to discredit him, only say that there is room for experimentation to find the best way to implement his methods into your workouts.
Most bodybuilders fail to realize how important blood circulation is to a bodybuilder. DuBreuil felt there was a strong relationship between increasing blood circulation and muscle growth. In other words, the better the circulation of blood to a muscle, the better the growth potential.
Bodybuilders and weight trainers who came from athletic backgrounds that stressed cardiovascular conditioning, such as running, track and field, soccer, hockey, etc., seemed to gain muscle much faster once they started weight training than people who had no athletic backgrounds. Because their circulatory systems were already well conditioned, it made recovering from their workouts much easier and let them grow faster.
For this reason, DuBreuil feels that all weight trainers should maintain a high level of cardiovascular conditioning but the aerobic work should be done at a different time from your weight workouts (on and off day).
Also, DuBreuil cautions weight trainers from doing too much aerobic work. Russian research has shown that it is impossible to build maximum endurance and maximum muscle size and strength at the same time. For example, you could not train to win the Boston marathon and Mr. Olympia at the same time. Routines that build maximum endurance do not build maximum muscle size and vice versa.
This is an important point because many routines that advocate training very fast and moving from one set to another with very little rest, while good for overall conditioning, are not the best for building maximum size and strength. The reason for this will be clear shortly.
Getting back to blood flow, DuBreuil knew, increased blood flow was absolutely essential for growth. The proof? Everybody knows that a muscle that pumps up easily seems to grow faster than a muscle that does not pump up well or will not hold a pump. Thus, according to DuBreuil's fatigue product theory, when working out with weights to achieve maximum size and strength we should strive to achieve two goals:
1) to increase the amount of fatigue products in a muscle we are training, and
2) to increase the blood supply to the muscle to bring in nutrients to "feed" the muscle and flush waste products out of the muscle.
The problem is, DuBreuil feels that for best results the fatigue products should not be pumped out of a muscle immediately after it is worked, as is bound to happen if you follow normal training procedures and train one muscle group after another, such as delts after chest, or biceps after lats, or if you do aerobics after a workout. Instead, the fatigue products should be left in the muscle to perform their chemical duties for as long as possible. Ideally, you would want to work a single muscle very hard and intensely, load it up with fatigue products, then rest the entire body several hours to ensure all the chemical functions have been done and then, and only then, train the next muscle.
Of course, for most of us working stiffs, this is an impractical way to train. We just haven't got the time to train only one muscle and wait several hours until training the next one. Top pros and people who can somehow train before their jobs in the morning and then train again after work at night) who can work out on a double and triple split can utilize this method but most will not. Arnold and Franco, without realizing it, used fatigue product training in their workouts when they trained twice a day.
For those who cannot train twice or more in a day in this manner, DuBreuil says the next best thing is to rest at least 20 minutes after working a muscle before moving onto the next muscle group. By this time, most of the chemical functions of the fatigue products will be finished and flushing them out will not be so bad. Even resting as little as five minutes between bodyparts will greatly enhance muscle growth if you have really trained a muscle to the max and filled it up with fatigue products.
I should point out that some experts do not believe in filling the muscles full of acids. Mike Mentzer did not believe it was necessary and Jim Lensveld, trainer of such top Dutch champions as Juliette Bergman, believes one should not do high reps when training so as NOT to fill the muscles with acids.
But if you accept what DuBreuil says, then it follows that you cannot increase fatigue products in any one muscle group to the maximum and increase blood circulation to the muscle at the same time. Remember what was said earlier about routines that build maximum endurance not being best for maximum size, and routines best for maximum size not being best for endurance. They require different training methods. For most of us, to increase fatigue products requires high intensity, heavy training; to increase blood circulation requires high rep, pumping methods. In DuBreuil's mind, working for fatigue products and working for pump are not the same thing and for most people, pumping methods will not produce sufficient fatigue products for maximum growth.
This is where I part ways with DuBreuil as I believe you can stimulate fatigue products with high intensity pumping methods, such as triple drop training
Hey! Another DuBreuil article:
supersets and tri-sets and moderately high reps done till failure with forced reps. But I do agree that the muscle should be rested 20 minutes before moving on to the next muscle group.
But DuBreuil thinks that since the two goals require different training methods, it's best to do the two styles of training at different times. The reasoning behind this goes back to the fatigue products being left in the muscle and blood supply to the muscle. Blood flow to the muscle is absolutely essential for recovery and growth. The more nutrients a muscle gets, the faster it gains. The more waste products removed (at the right time), the faster the muscle recovers. In order for a muscle to grow it basically needs two things:
1) it must be stimulated to grow via some kind of overload, and
2) it must be given the opportunity to grow by being provided with the right conditions for recovery -- which allow it to grow.
Just because you've done a heavy workout to stimulate growth in a particular muscle doesn't mean the muscle will grow if the conditions for growth are not right. The stimulation for growth provided by a heavy workout is normally not enough in itself for growth to occur. The muscle must recover and rebuild before the next workout or it will not grow bigger and stronger. All weight training makes inroads into our recovery ability. Anything which enhances recovery ability will enhance growth. As we have already discussed, for recovery to occur the fatigue products produced in the muscle must be allowed to remain in the muscle long enough for them to perform their chemical duties and then, and only then, the blood supply to the muscles must be increased to bring in nutrients to feed the muscle and flush out the waste products.
High intensity, heavy workouts give the muscle the stimulation to grow but do little to increase your recovery ability, thus hindering your ability to grow. Intense workouts break down tissue, deplete ribosomes and messenger RNA and clog the tissues with lactic acid and other waste products. We now know that these waste products are essential for rebuilding the muscle and replenishing ATP stores (which are essential for energy and muscular contraction) but if they are left in the muscle too long, they can hamper recovery and slow the process.
If you have poor circulation and blood flow to the muscle, the lactic acid and fatigue products accumulate faster than the blood can remove them. And nutrients do not get to the muscle, it's difficult to get a pump. The muscle does not grow. Now you know why it's advantageous to get a good pump in a muscle for maximum muscle growth.
Everybody knows frequent pumping increases blood flow to a muscle. This is why your veins and blood vessels grow larger as you train, to accommodate greater blood flow to and from the muscles. The trouble is, for most people, just pumping does not stimulate the growth in muscles that heavy, high intensity training does, due to low hormone levels and poor genetics. That's not to say some people can't pump all the time. Genetic superior types like Serge Nubret, Danny Padilla and Freddy Ortiz found all they had to do was pump . . . Pump . . . PUMP and they grew like weeds. Some people can grow muscle tissue and restore carbohydrate stores and recover at the same time.
But as was explained above, people who train heavy (only) will not have a good blood supply to enable them to recover well from their workouts. So pumping is needed to feed the muscle and promote recovery, and heavy training is needed to increase fatigue products in the muscle and stimulate growth. The more you pump, the more your body is able to respond to the stimulus from heavy training.
The trouble is, most people either do not remove waste products and bring in nutrients fast enough to promote recovery from their heavy workouts or they remove them too fast by immediately training another muscle group, which flushes the fatigue products out long before they have had a chance to perform their chemical duties. So timing is critical.
We no longer dispute the fact that we need heavy, intense training to produce fatigue products and stimulate growth and we no longer dispute the fact that we need to pump to feed the muscle with blood and remove waste products. The secret is not if to pump but when to pump. DuBreuil feels it is best not to try to accomplish both goals -- try to train heavy and pump -- in the same workout. That is, train heavy to produce fatigue products and stimulate growth and then immediately do some high rep pumping to the same muscle group to increase blood circulation which would flush out the fatigue products too soon. As was suggested before, wait a minimum of 20 minutes before doing any pumping to the muscle. Better yet, wait until the next day.
I do not share DuBreuil's thoughts, as I mentioned earlier about not mixing up pumping methods and heavy training. I think as long as you wait 20 minutes or longer until you train your next muscle group, you can do say, very heavy low rep exercises for a certain muscle group and then immediately follow it up with say, a superset or tri-set to fully pump the muscle up. But I do agree you should not pump another area of the body that would flush the fatigue products out of the muscle.
To me, the best way to get maximum growth in the myofibrils, mitochondria and sarcoplasm is to either do as I suggest, some heavy, low rep work followed up by either some high rep or supersets to pump the muscle, or by doing triple drop training (sometimes called descending reps or the stripping method). Utilizing triple drop methods, you will do both low, medium, and high reps during a set to stimulate growth in all three muscle cell types.
Feeder workouts have been used for over 30 years (much longer) by many of the top stars. Though not well known and commonly used, it is one of the most effective ways to speed up growth in a muscle, especially a muscle that responds poorly to regular training.
So just what is a feeder workout and how will it improve training results?
A feeder workout is a light, high rep, low intensity, low set workout done in a separate training session, usually on the day after your regular workout for a muscle group. The purpose of the feeder workout is not to try and produce fatigue products and severely work the muscle, but just pump the muscle to nourish and feed the muscle with rich blood and remove waste products to increase circulation and recovery ability. It will also reduce muscle soreness.
The feeder workout should be light and not tax the muscle at all. You just want to increase blood to the muscle without tiring it out. I recommend one or two sets of 30-50 reps with a very light weight. It is not even necessary to do feeder workouts for all your muscle groups, but only your most poorly responding ones.
Many top stars have used feeder workouts in their training. I recall IronMan author Bob Green writing about bodybuilder Dan Mackey doing his forearm work a day after his biceps workout, as the forearm work pumped blood into the biceps and fed them. Another example of a bodybuilder using feeder workouts was former Mr. Universe and former Flex magazine editor Ricky Wayne. Back in the 1960's Ricky had (next to Larry Scott)) the largest and best shaped and proportioned arms around.
One of his secrets was to do 3 sets of 15 reps of one arm cable curls and 3 sets of 15 reps of one are cable triceps pressdowns on his off days. Today, I know that Marjo Selin trains her biceps and triceps on different training days but on biceps day she throws in a few extra sets for biceps. She finds this greatly aids in growth and recovery.
So now we have two things you can do to increase growth to a slowly developing muscle: Wait 20 minutes after a muscle is worked before starting another muscle group, and perform feeder workouts for muscle growth in poorly responding areas.
You see, I think you should do whatever is necessary to make a muscle grow, whether it be shocking a muscle by doing 50 sets for it in a single workout, or doing sets of 100, 150 or 200 reps to force a lot of blood into a muscle. Remember, we have already established that a muscle that pumps easily, grows fastest, and a muscle that pumps poorly or not at all, grows poorly. So we have to increase circulation to the poorly growing muscle to make it pump better. If a muscle won't pump, find a way to make it pump.
That's the secret. This means doing perhaps lots of volume work of high reps for that muscle. This establishes the neuromuscular pathways to the muscle and increases the circulation and forces blood into the muscle. In a sense, you are teaching the muscle to respond. After several months of such training, the blood pathway and neuromuscular pathways have been established. Now you can back-cycle down in sets and reps and start training it much heavier and much more intensely. Then, it can respond to heavy, intense training. Now, you can build up a lot of fatigue products in the muscle and successfully incorporate the factors of the fatigue product theory into your training.
In issue 60 I wrote an article on the benefits of high rep leg training and I told you how doing high rep leg presses (35-50 reps) built size into my thighs that I was never able to build utilizing low rep methods. I combined heavy and light methods and produced the best gains I had ever made in my legs. So I can vouch that high rep training can be productive.
I remember talking to Shane Dimora about calf training. He couldn't get his calves to grow doing his usual calf training. Then he went to California and met James DeMelo, known for his monstrous calves. "How'd you ever get your calves so big?" Shane asked DeMelo. Demelo's secret? Tri-sets to failure, 20 reps an exercise, 60 reps per tri-set! Ouch!!! Not the usual method, but as Dimora found out, it sure worked.
Before I end off I'd like to just quickly go over some of the major points that DuBreuil advocated for maximum muscle size and strength.
1) Work a small area of the body and then rest the entire body for at least 20 minutes to take advantage of the fatigue product theory.
2) Use high intensity training methods to produce the maximum amount of fatigue products. Heavy weights, forced reps, triple drop training and supersets should all be part of your repertoire.
3) Use plenty of isolation exercises in your workouts. DuBreuil felt that a muscle can work harder and contract harder when it is worked alone than when work is spread among three or four muscle groups. Thus barbell curls build more biceps than chins and lying triceps extensions build more triceps than bench presses.
4) Use a large variety of exercises for each bodypart. It takes work from several angles to fully work all parts of a muscle so to build a muscle completely do several basic and several isolation exercises for each part.
5) Train quickly. If you rest too long between sets, the fatigue products cannot accumulate. The longer you rest between sets, the more time the bloodstream has to carry the fatigue products away. So train heavy and intensely, but train quickly. Perform the reps rather slow but rest little between sets.
6) Do feeder workouts the day after the workout to feed the muscle with fresh blood and remove waste products.
7) Do some aerobic work on your off days to keep some cardiovascular conditioning which will enhance circulation and promote recovery ability.
I would suggest that if you have one muscle group that is especially stubborn to train it separately from your other muscles and rest it hours until the next muscle is trained to take maximum advantage of the fatigue products. Train that muscle with both high volume and high reps to pump it to the maximum. Remember, blood flow to the muscle and a good pump is the secret to making it grow. If the muscle will not pump using one method, try another. Try anything that will make it pump, from tri-sets and giant sets to volume work and high reps of 50-100 reps per set.
One last thing. It is difficult to increase blood flow to a muscle is your blood volume is down or you suffer from anemia, and your red blood count is down. To make sure your red blood count is high, take liver tablets, iron supplements B-12 shots, folic acid and all the B-Complex vitamins. As well, keep your diet high in protein and take amino acids. This way when you perform the feeder workouts, the blood will be rich in nutrients to be able to feed your muscles.
So that's it. If you're having trouble with stubborn muscles or a general lack of muscle growth, use the ideas I've suggested in your training. I'm convinced there's sufficient new (or little known) information in this article to get those muscles of yours growing like weeds . . .
Enjoy Your Lifting!