Training, working out, lifting weights, bodybuilding or whatever else you want to call what it is we are all doing, is probably one of the highlights of your day. That hour or two whereby you get to unleash, forget about the problems in your life and just bang it out with the weights, is a time you cherish and look forward to each day you wake up and get out of bed. We are all striving to be better than we were the day before and a lot of that ‘being better’ has to do with our ability to perfect our training and enhance the stimulus we are applying to our muscles. If we can get it just right, then our chances for hypertrophy significantly increase and if we end up doing it wrong, then we either stall in our efforts or even worse, get injured. So, to ensure we are always on the right path for building muscle, here are six very important movement tips you can embed within your training to improve upon your biomechanics, lever and fulcrum points, positioning and form, so that your return on effort is always on the rise.
Tip #1: Get Stronger in your most Disadvantaged Position
More times than not, when watching someone train with heavier loads, the first thing you will notice is their ability to move into a position that almost certainly guarantees their success. Now, while this is understandable and advantageous for moving that load from point a to point b, it may not be the best way to build muscle. When building muscle, your goal is not to find the easiest route but to get stronger within the hardest route. So, aim to find the most disadvantaged position for yourself within a movement (keeping safety in mind of course at all times) and work on getting stronger from there.
Tip #2: Know Your Angles
Perhaps the most important movement tip you will receive within this article is this one; know your angles and how to manipulate those angles to increase the functionality of your lever and fulcrum points. Far too often, people will change up their exercise selections prematurely when really all that they needed was to change the angle to which they were attacking the exercise with. That small change in the angle’s degree of movement will be enough to create a new stimulus for which your body will have to adapt to by getting bigger and stronger.
Tip #3: Don’t fit into the machine; make the machine fit to You
All of the great and awesome pieces of gym equipment you have at your disposal to use in your gym, were designed to meet the needs of the masses. It is almost impossible for these companies to create equipment that perfectly fits all shapes and sizes. However, there are brands and lines of equipment that have different settings on them so if you’re lucky enough to have pieces like this to use, make sure you take the time to adjust the settings to your specific movement patterns. That way, you will ensure you’re getting the most out of what the machine has to offer. Even if there isn’t any adjustability to it, you move yourself around so that it fits you and your movement planes. And if after doing that, it still doesn’t feel right, then move on because you just weren’t made to use that piece and the last thing you want to do is get injured trying to make it work.
Tip #4: Be Free with your Free Weights
If you do your research, and most likely you have, you will find a plethora of engaging articles and videos showing you the right way to perform certain exercises. Well, the truth of the matter is, there is no one right way to perform an exercise, especially when we’re talking about using free weight movements. No one individual is created the same and our structures differ. Our muscle origin and insertion points are also unique so it’s almost impossible for everyone to move within the same planes and patterns as the person next to you. With that in mind, be free with your free weight movements. If you find that the way you are being taught doesn’t feel right, then it’s probably not. Is what you’re eventually going to land on going to be extremely different from what you see others doing? No, but it will be different to a degree so don’t get caught up in thinking your doing something wrong if it doesn’t look exactly like the person on the bench next to you. It just means, you move different from them and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Tip #5: Understand Your Biomechanics
As mentioned already, your biomechanics are unique to you so it’s incredibly important to know what your strengths and weaknesses are in this regard. For instance, if you’ve always heard that using a 45 degree angle on a bench will target your upper pecs yet you always feel it more in your front delts, then guess what? Your biomechanics don’t work with that approach. Secondly, if barbell squatting always hurts your lower back or knees, then you weren’t made to squat so move on despite always being told that to build big legs you have to squat. Finally, if not locking out on your pressing movements gets negative attention from others in saying you aren’t completing full range reps, yet you have no elbow or shoulder issues whatsoever, keep ignoring those people who are saying that because you’ve found a range of motion that is both safe and conducive to growth for you. There are plenty of other examples of this and you just simply have to stay true to who you are and how you were built and allow for your naturally given biomechanics to guide your way.
Tip #6: Try Everything at least Once
Finally, don’t neglect certain movements because you’ve either never tried them before, never saw the point in them before or never had the urge to do so before. The same can be said for your choice of supplementation. Why wouldn’t you give products such as Testdex, Carbon Fibre or Kamikaze a try? Yes, bodybuilders are typically creatures of habit and tend to stick with the things they like. That said, in staying within that course, you could be missing out on a bunch of movements, exercises and products that could prove to be very advantageous in your muscle building efforts. So, give everything a try at least once, take stock of what you liked and what you didn’t like, implement the new somewhere into your program, give it time and then re-evaluate its effectiveness. You never know, what you once balked at could be a new go to for you.
With so many exercises and movements to utilize and store in your collection of training plans, it’s important to make sure that everything you do decide on doing is worth your time. The last thing you want is to find out you’ve wasted a bunch of time on something that gave you nothing in return. The goal is to always be better than the day before and understanding and utilizing all the tips mentioned above will help you do just that. Take the time to experiment, know who you are as a trainer, be free with your choices of movement and pay attention to the details and information you receive once implemented. It is the right way to do things and the perfect approach for enhancing the training stimulus.
Author: Dana Bushell
Dana Bushell, a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University (BAHK, B.Ed) is an Educator, Writer, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Nutrition Advisor, Contest Prep/Lifestyle Coach and former competitive bodybuilder, who has been involved in the Fitness Industry for over 25 years. He has worked and written for major fitness publications and many popular bodybuilding sites, is a Gym Star Team member and works hard at teaching and promoting a fitness-based lifestyle in his career as a Physical Education Specialist.