Q: I’ve been using the Pure-Positions STX workout from the Stretch-Overload ebook. [Full-body workouts training one of the three positions for each muscle at each workout.] I’ve been growing better than ever, but I’m wondering if I should add an exercise for stubborn bodyparts. For example, while my arms have grown a quarter of an inch already (working great!), my shoulders still make it look like I have flat muscles. Doing just one delt exercise at each workout doesn’t seem to be cutting it. Suggestions?
A: Yes, you can add an exercise, but don’t get carried away or you’ll overtrain. Remember, you’re doing full-body workouts three times a week…
And even though you’re only doing one exercise per muscle, systemic fatigue is still very real—it can slow or stop muscle growth.
For instance, a hardgainer may think that all of his bodyparts lag, so he needs to add an exercise for everything. Not a good idea. Lol.
It’s better to pick one or maybe two flat muscles that need something extra, and just add a set or two of a different exercise. Let’s look at shoulder work in the Pure-Positions STX program…
Monday (contracted position): Seated laterals
Wednesday (midrange position): DB presses
Friday (stretch position): One-arm cable laterals
So if you want to add an exercise to each workout…
Monday (contracted position): Seated laterals, DB upright rows
Wednesday (midrange position): DB presses, Standing laterals
Friday (stretch position): One-arm cable laterals, incline one-arm laterals
Notice that you get a pre-exhaustion effect on Monday, using laterals to isolate, then after your STX sequence for those, you move to DB upright rows, which bring in your arms and upper back to continue blasting your fatigued delts.
Wednesday you follow the big midrange dumbbell presses with a more isolated finisher, standing laterals. If your gym has one, you could use machine laterals instead.
Now on Friday, you double up on the stretch position since that is so important for hypertrophy (it’s why our latest ebook emphasizes stretch-overload in each program). Both moves are stretch-position shoulder exercises, so get ready to get sore…
Tip: For cable laterals, set the pulley at just below waist level so the resistance pull is only slightly down and across your body for lateral-delt stretch.
And in case you’re not familiar with incline one-arm laterals, here’s Jonathan demonstrating…
Remember, don’t get carried away with too much extra work. We suggest you do a 9-rep set to failure, rest 10 seconds, then rep out with that same weight again. That’s it, two quick sets for the “add-on” exercise at each workout.
You’re doing the full STX sequence on the first exercise, so that will give you the slow-twitch exhaustion and growth you’re after, as well as priming loads of fast-twitch hypertrophy. The add-on move is just bonus mass work to pound some new round onto your shoulders to remedy those flat muscles.
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Till next time, train hard–and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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