Focus Physique
How to Bring up Lagging Body Parts

When it comes to physique building, all around muscle development with the combination of symmetry and proper proportions makes for a powerful looking physique!

Throughout your journey to build an aesthetic physique, you’ll discover that you have a lagging body part. Lagging body parts are muscle groups that are not as developed as others. This should not be confused with muscle imbalances.

An example of a lagging body part is you notice that your chest or arms look small compared to other muscle groups that are growing at a better rate.

This is just a factor in bodybuilding that you will forever be battling but it also keeps it fun! It’s not a bad thing and is completely normal to end up with lagging body parts.

It’s usually from genetics or improper training. With the methods listed below, you’ll be on your way to creating a more balanced and powerful looking physique!

Exercise Order

Before I give you training methods to bring up your lagging body parts, let’s first look at your workout routine. When we have the basics in place, then we can build off of that!

Exercise order is very important! If you’re starting your workout routine with single joint exercises (unless you’re using an advanced bodybuilding technique) then you’re doing it wrong.

You’ll want to start your workout routine with compound, multi-joint exercises and the larger muscle groups. These are the big lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bench press etc. After this you then add in the single joint isolation exercises such as curls, leg extensions, chest fly’s, etc.

This will ensure optimal muscle growth and even development.

For example, let’s say we are programming our chest, shoulders, tricep workout. The exercise order would look something like this:

 

  1. Barbell Bench Press (chest, largest muscle group, compound exercise)
  2. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (chest, largest muscle group, compound exercise)
  3. Military Press (shoulders, second largest muscle group, compound exercise)
  4. Lateral Raises (shoulders, second largest muscle group, single joint exercise)
  5. Skull Crushers (triceps, smallest muscle group, single joint exercise)

 

With the right exercises in the proper order you are setting yourself up to build a great foundation. From here we will make any adjustments as needed!

 

Tailoring Your Routine

It's important to create a routine targeting your lagging body part.
It’s important to first create a routine targeting your lagging body part.

Now that you understand the importance of exercise order, you need to make your routine to fit your goals. We’ll refer to the chest, shoulder, triceps routine that I layed out above, I’ve place it here as well for easier reference:

 

  1. Barbell Bench Press (chest, largest muscle group, compound exercise) 3 x 8-10
  2. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (chest, largest muscle group, compound exercise) 3 x 8-10
  3. Military Press (shoulders, second largest muscle group, compound exercise) 3 x 8-10
  4. Lateral Raises (shoulders, second largest muscle group, single joint exercise) 3 x 8-10
  5. Skull Crushers (triceps, smallest muscle group, single joint exercise) 3 x 8-10

 

This is a basic routine and is great for even development.

Let’s say though that you wanted to put more of a focus onto your triceps. We need to tailor this routine to align with that goal before we throw in any other techniques to do this. A tricep focused routine based off the previous routine may look something like:

 

  1. Barbell Bench Press (chest, largest muscle group, compound exercise) 3 x 8-10
  2. Close Grip Bench Press (chest, largest muscle group, compound exercise) 3 x 8-10
  3. Military Press (shoulders, second largest muscle group, compound exercise) 3 x 8-10
  4. Lateral Raises (shoulders, second largest muscle group, single joint exercise) 3 x 8-10
  5. Skull Crushers (triceps, smallest muscle group, single joint exercise) 4 x 8-10

 

Incline dumbbell bench press was changed to close grip bench press and instead of three sets on skull crushers there are now four.

Training Frequency

Training frequency of a muscle group is an effective variable to play with when working to bring up a lagging body part! The typical bodybuilding routine is five days a week and each muscle group is hit once.

Although I think a three day a week split of either a full body workout routine or upper lower split is best for most because of a higher training frequency of each body part, training frequency can still be utilized effectively to bring up a lagging body part with any routine.

To do this effectively, you’ll want to raise your training frequency of the lagging body part to 2-3 times a week. Anymore then three and you’ll compromise recovery and any less then two and the training isn’t frequent enough.

On the extra training days all you’ll need is one or two exercises at the end of your routine targeting the lagging body part.

 

Advanced Training Techniques

Training frequency works great but there are other options to pull from! I’ll explain two advanced bodybuilding techniques that are effective, simple, and tried and true for bringing up lagging body parts. I recommend doing these methods for no longer than four weeks at a time to prevent injury and overtraining.

What makes these techniques work is that they allow you to push past failure!

 

Drop Sets

Drop setting is essentially lowering the weight after each set to keep going just before or after failure hits at the previous weight. An example of a drop set looks like the following:

 

Barbell Bench Press

  • Set 1 (regular set): 165 x 12
  • Set 2 (drop set): 135 x 8

 

Going to failure is an option and you can add more drop sets per set if you would like. It’s also very important to have no rest in between sets!

 

Pre-Exhaust Training

These five advanced training techniques will advance muscle growth and muscle gain.
Pre-exhaust training allows you to target specific muscle groups.

Pre-exhaust training is a great training technique because of the ability you have to target a specific body part. This is perfect for bringing up lagging body parts. The formula that makes this technique work is:

Single Joint Exercise + Single Joint Exercise (optional) + Compound Exercise = Pre-exhaust Training

A single joint exercise is an exercise that involves movement at just one joint. This includes exercises such as curls, lateral raises, calf raises, etc.

Compound exercises, AKA multi-joint exercises are exercises that involve movement at multiple joints. This includes exercises such as bench press, rows, squats, etc. These are also the exercises that are most effective at creating muscle growth and strength.

When doing pre-exhaust training, your are tiring out the primary muscle before going into its bigger compound lift. It’s effective because in the compound lift you have the synergist muscles to help you with the exercise. Here are a few examples so you have a further understanding:

 

Example of Pre-exhaust Training

  • Pec Fly’s + Bench Press
  • Lateral Raises + Military Press
  • Leg Extensions + Squats
  • Leg Curl + RDL’s

 

With all of these examples we are exhausting the prime mover (the muscle doing the most work) of each compound exercise before actually doing it.

 

Give Lagging Body Parts Time

As with anything in fitness it will take time. You can’t expect to successfully bring up a lagging body part in a month. Depending on your training age it will take months if not years.

Give it time and don’t rush the process because this will lead to injury or overtraining, both of which will kill your gains! Cycle on and off of these methods such as 4 weeks on and 4 weeks off. You may even need to go 4 weeks on and 8 weeks of depending on your training age.

First and foremost, you will need to tailor your routine to fit your goals. Then from here, add in another training day and any advanced training techniques for the desired muscle group.

* This article is property of FocusPhysique.com. For questions contact us here.

 

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About Brennen Elboeck

I'm Brennen, the founder of FocusPhysique.com. I want to give hundreds of thousands of people science based, practical physique and life transforming information! To never miss a post or what's new make sure to sign up for our newsletter above!

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