You’re doing everything right. The hard training, solid diet, more than adequate rest and yet that one motherfuckin’ body part just won’t budge. Switching up the order of exercises, hitting it first or alone and going heavier all have not made a difference. So what the hell do you do next?
The answer is very simple and all you need is an extra five minutes a day in the gym to make it work.
Let’s use calves as an example since many of you have not been able to get them where you need to. Sure, a lot of it is genetics and barring sight enhancement oil injections, you’re going to have to put the extra work in. But it’s not necessarily working harder, but smarter.
A quick anatomy lesson: muscles grow by tearing them down and having them recover. The rest and recuperation process is what actually causes growth, not the lifting part. So with that in mind, here’s what we suggest to kick that natural process into high gear.
Each time that the muscle begins to repair itself, tear it down a little more.
That may sound stupid or approaching ‘overtraining’ territory (which is a bunch of bullshit and the subject of its own article down the road), but you have to execute this in a certain fashion to keep it from becoming detrimental.
Take a look at this chart and it will make more sense to you. Let’s use a five-day workout routine as an example:
ON THE DAY YOU NORMALLY TRAIN CALVES:
*Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12-to-15 reps each
*Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12-to-15 reps each
*Donkey Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12-to-15 reps each
*Leg Press Calf Raises – 3 sets of 10-12 reps each
DAY 2 – Standing Calf Raises – 4 sets of 12-to-15 reps each
DAY 3 – Seated Calf Raises – 4 sets of 12-to-15 reps each
DAY 4 – Donkey Calf Raises – 4 sets of 12-to-15 reps each
DAY 5 – Leg Press Calf Raises – 4 sets of 12-to-15 reps each
What you’re looking to do is hit the same muscle 24 hours later but not too hard with four sets using moderate weight and higher reps. You should feel a little sore on the day following the 12 sets and putting that same body part into a little stress with the quick turnaround will engage it differently than when it is all full rest.
Now if you’re going to perform eight or more sets each day, then that would seem to be overkill and way too much. Four sets are just enough to tear down whatever began to repair and cause the body to work harder to repair itself. Do this over and over and the repairs will be done not only quicker, but also better.
If the soreness becomes an issue, then skip one day or do three instead of four sets. Don’t abandon the principle right away, though. Work through the pain and it will lessen as you grow accustomed to the work schedule.
And, if all else fails, you can just do what CT Fletcher does, which is yell at his muscles, commanding them to grow.