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As someone that has been in the gym regularly for the past 20 years as a bodybuilder, trainer, owner and also an observer it truly surprises me how few trainees take advantage of the many varied angles, grips and planes of motion in which we can target our muscles.
One of the quickest routes to stagnation when it comes to hypertrophy is to continually to do the same things over and over again. This may not occur in the very beginning, but after you have been at it for a few years believe me when I tell you that your muscles and nervous system will become quite resilient at not responding to the exercises you expose them to.
So, does this mean you have to constantly switch movements at every workout in order to continue to make progress? Not necessarily! By simply changing your grip, torso angle, and/or plane of motion you can use the same basic exercises while actually altering motor unit recruitment patterns entirely. So, in a sense, to both your muscles and CNS, it will seem like you are doing a totally different movement, and thus the stimulus they receive will then be unique (and more productive).
Here are some simple examples of how you can make just one exercise seem like three to your body:
Change of Grips:
-On the standing BB curl do set one with a shoulder width grip, set two with a grip just inside shoulder width, and set three with a grip a couple of inches closer.
-On the leg press machine do set one with your feet high and wide on the platform, set to with the feet low and narrow, and set three with the feet at mid-height and shoulder width.
Change of Angles:
-On incline DB presses do set one at a 60 degree angle, set two at a 45 degree angle and set three at a 30 degree angle.
-On incline DB curls do set one at an 80 degree angle, set two at a 60 degree angle and set three at a 40 degree angle.
Varied Plane of Motion:
-On WG pull-ups or pull-downs do one pulling straight to your clavicles, set two pulling to your mid-chest and set three pulling to your lower pec line.
-On BB or Smith Bench press do set one bring the bar down to the lower pecs, sets two to the mid-pecs and set three top the clavicles.
Try these or similar examples at your next workout and I bet you will experience a better pump and increased soreness that will lead to more efficient and significant muscle growth over time.
Eric Broser is a lifetime Drug Free Pro Bodybuilder and has been involved in the health and fitness industry in just about every facet for over 24 years. Eric has penned over 200 articles on training/supplements/nutrition, and has authored four books on the subject of rapid and effective physique transformation. Eric is the pioneer of the world-renown POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK training method and is one of the most sought after personal trainers/contest preparation coaches in the field by athletes, bodybuilders and members of the entertainment industry.