Ever find that a certain muscle group just doesn't seem to grow or get any stronger? You just can't feel or see it improving, no matter what you do?
For guys, this tends to be chest, arms and/or calves.
And for women, this tends to be glutes, shoulders and/or arms.
So if your struggling with developing a particular muscle, check out the below tips that you might not be applying:
1. Technique Perfect your form! Check to make sure your not making any mistakes. Is your positioning correct and maintaining it? Are you staying within the working range of motion? Is how your lifting correct? Is the target muscle actually doing the work, or are other muscles taking over?
Sometimes you might even be doing something wrong that you may not even be aware is a mistake. Such as shoulders lifting off the bench when doing a chest press. Or pulling the lat pulldown bar down too low. A small coaching cue could help make a massive impact and the difference you need.
2. Muscle Tension Following from actually working the target muscle, ensure your placing tension into that muscle, keeping it in there throughout every set, and contracting that muscle on every rep. You should be feeling that target muscle working the entire time, if you don't, then it's not working, and something else has the tension. For example, shoulders doing the work instead of the chest when pressing, or feeling your lower back instead of your glutes.
3. Frequency Muscles need frequent work to grow. Muscles usually recover after 2-3 days, so are ready to train again. Training a specific muscle just once per week (as is in the typical 'bro split') won't cut it and is not going to yield the best results. Aim to train muscles, particularly if it's underdeveloped, 2-3 times per week.
4. Progressive Overload The Holy Grail of muscle building. Muscles adapt to stimulus, so need to be 'overloaded' over time by doing more work in order to grow. You can do this by increasing the weight lifted/ increasing the reps done/ increasing the number of sets. This is why you should record and track your workouts, so you know exactly what weights and reps you used last time for the number of sets, so you can build upon it the following week with that workout.
5. Calories/Protein Ensure you are eating enough calories and protein! To focus on putting on muscle, you should be eating in a slight calorie surplus. Your muscles need this in order to repair and grow.
To an extent, you can still develop muscle in a calorie deficit, but this must be a slight deficit (i.e just below maintenance calories) and also ensuring protein intake is kept high (Minimum 1g per lb of bodyweight)
Ideally, all of these should be applied to your training, but applying just one of these things if your missing them, could make a difference.