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Have you ever felt that a certain muscle just doesn't seem to grow or get any stronger?

No matter what you do, you just don't feel like your seeing the progress you want from it?

I know exactly how you feel...

Back in my first years of training, I became obsessed with wanting a bigger chest in particular. I would go into the gym, smash every possible exercise I could think of for chest in that session, with no regards for volume, and 'chase' the next day soreness to feel like I did well.

I became obsessed with trying to push as heavy as possible on bench press and dumbbell pressing. And granted somehow I got to a point where I could press the 50kg dumbbells. Though, my form was pretty poor...

I would go onto bodybuilding websites and look in bodybuilding magazines for what workouts the pro bodybuilders did for their chest and copy the exact routine. I would YouTube things like 'best chest exercises', trying to find that perfect chest workout.

But here's the kicker, to me my chest still looked flat, and posture/physique proportion wise, it started to look like my shoulders were dominating round in front of my chest, making any chest development that I did gain, not look so good.

Years later, I had learned a lot more from watching videos, practising in the gym and from attending practical workshops to learn from some of the best in the fitness industry. From applying some new things, I saw better development in my chest and other areas of my physique.

Here are some things to think about if your having the same problem with growing a particular muscle...

Training Frequency - I used to train my chest, like every other individual muscle group, once per week, on it's dedicated international 'Chest day Monday'. Though this can yield some initial progress, it's far from optimal. Research studies have shown that the best muscle growth results have come from training a muscle 2-3 times per week. Muscles are fully recovered after 48-72 hours, so need frequent stimulus to keep protein synthesis levels elevated.

Technique - This is everything. How you set up, your body positioning, maintaining stability where needed, working in own active range, the execution of the exercise. In the case of a chest press, are the shoulders lifting off the bench?

Muscle Function & Tension - One of the biggest things that helped me improve both my own training and training clients, is learning where a muscle originates on the skeleton, and where it inserts to. As-well as learning how to create and maintain tension when contracting and stretching a muscle during an exercise.

The largest division of the pectoral (chest) muscle originates on the sternum (the hard flat bone between the chest muscles) and inserts onto the upper part of the humerus (upper arm bone). So on a chest press, instead of just trying to push the dumbbells up and bringing them together (like what I used to do), instead thinking about pushing the upper arm towards the sternum, whilst consciously contracting (squeezing/tensing) the chest whilst pressing, creating an 'inward intention', and the dumbbells remaining apart at the top, to keep tension in the chest.

Eating Enough - Again in my early days I never ate enough food to get the growth I wanted, though I was a teen living at home so just ate what I was given. It wasn't until I took my nutrition more seriously when I saw greater progress. I stocked up on whey protein powder, bought a bunch of supplements (some useful ones, some at the time of reading I thought were good but later found out were pointless and a waste of money), and started to buy my own food and prepare my own meals. I stocked up on chicken and other meats, combined it with things like rice, pasta, potatoes and veg, I made wraps for work (at the time was working behind a bar) and bought good things for snacks so if I was going out I could always have something on me. I ensured I was always eating a high amount of protein to build more muscle.

As I outlined, I made a lot of mistakes, which is very easy to do when you first start at the gym. So hopefully this helps you in some way.

But if your really serious about wanting to improve your body, to get stronger and build muscle, and don't want to waste loads of time wondering if your doing things right or not, drop me a message. I can help you get results and take away all the guesswork, so you don't make any of the mistakes I did.

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