Thursday, April 17, 2014

Moving weights and making muscles work

Most people don't seem to understand the difference between moving weights through space, and make the muscle do the work.

These are two very different concepts, but applied correctly will really pay dividends.

Movements like squats and deadlifts are about moving weight through space. Same for most pressing movements. Especially barbell pressing.

However for movements like pulldowns, rows, db chest presses, flyes, laterals, leg curls, etc those are "making the muscle do the work" movements.

There's no point in trying to do extremely heavy laterals. The whole point of the movement is to build the side delts. If you start cheating the weight because you're going too heavy, the traps and other areas of the upperback end up getting too heavily involved.

Remember why you are using a certain movement, and what you are using it for.

In all reality, the same applies for rows as well. Why would you do doubles and triples in a row? You're trying to build your back.

Understanding these concepts will help you to not only get stronger, but grow larger. When you watch very experienced bodybuilders they have a distinct connection with making the muscle do work. That's a significant part of why they grow massive. Because they understand the ol "mind muscle" connection, and actually concentrate on the eccentric and concentric portions of the movement.

Be powerful and explosive when moving weight through space. But be controlled in your movements when trying to make a particular muscle do the work.


  1. Spot on. I always get a kick (pun intended) out of watching guys spazz and kick like epileptic donkeys on the leg curls and leg extension. No one, NO ONE gives a shit about your 1RM on the leg extension.

  2. Ok I have a slightly related Q - you've mentioned that recently you have cut out the max rep set on some BBM templates for yourself. My guess this is because it allows you to get more/better rep work in, because for me the max rep "movement" set really interferes with any follow up "muscle" sets.

    I know this is not a huge problem because the max rep sets are going up and assistance is assistance. However, do you have any tips on coming back to get volume in on, say chest or triceps exercise after a max rep set of bench?

    Does work capacity just go up after a while? I was of the "5 reps is cardio" mentality until very recently.

  3. Hi Paul, thanks for all of your thoughts and knowledge that you share. Always look forward to reading your new posts and re-reading your old ones. Wondering what you think about Maxick and co. from the early 1900s and their Muscle Control theories? They seem to have been lost over the past 100 years and wondering if you see any value in the theories for this day and age?
    Thanks again.