Natural Weight Training Guide: Double Dosing Principles..

Double Dosing

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Despite your best efforts at maintaining symmetry and proportion, occasionally one bodypart will lag behind in size gains. Even though you give it your all when you train it, growth just doesn't seem to take place as rapidly as with other bodyparts. This can be very frustrating for the natural bodybuilder and may set in motion the negative programming that sometimes keeps you from achieving your goals. Now is not the time to start moping about your genetic limitations, however. Your calves or back are not destined to be small! When the growth rates of your individual bodyparts seem to move on divergent paths, you need to implement a systematic growth strategy known as double-dosing.

Review Your Growth Checklist

There are a number of reasons why bodyparts grow different rates. Take a critical look at yourself and your training regimen, and see whether any of these three factors are present. If they are, the first step in resolving the growth problem is to correct these deficiencies. If none of them are present, proceed to double-dosing.

» Are you really giving the lagging bodypart the same level of intensity that other bodyparts are getting? A classic example of this occurs when you train calves after quads and hamstrings. After a leg workout you're probably drained-at least you are if you trained with total intensity. So, even if you give your calves 100 percent of your remaining energy, it's still less than your quads and hams got. Suboptimal calf growth will surely result. Always train the lagging bodypart first.

» Are you providing adequate nutrients for muscle growth? This includes protein and carbs, as well as vitamins and minerals (including chromium and vanadium). Remember that your body is an evolutionary mechanism that follows the principle of energy conservation. Simply put, if one muscle grows more easily than another, guess which one will get the limited nutrients available? In order to make sure that this situation doesn't occur, err on the side of caution and give your body enough nutrients to ensure growth in even the most stubborn muscle.

» Are you overtraining the lagging bodypart? This happens more frequently than people realize. Is the bodypart in question constantly sore? Does it feel tired or not fully recuperated when it comes time to hit it again? If so, then double-dosing will actually make the problem worse. Depending on how you organize your workouts, you may be training the bodypart more often than you realize. Every chest exercise works the shoulders to some extent (particularly front clefts). So, if you train shoulders and chest on different days, you may wind up overtraining shoulders, limiting your delt growth. The same can happen with hamstrings, which are also recruited for squats and deadlifts. If you determine that you're overtraining a bodypart, cutback on volume or increase the recuperation period between sessions.

The Double-Dosing Principle

If none of these problems affect you, implement double-dosing, which means to train a lagging bodypart more than once per rotation in order to overcome historic deficiencies in training, diet or other factors. As long as the muscle is fully recovered from its last session, increase growth stimulation halfway through the rotation by adding a few sets of one exercise. Don't repeat your main workout (usually three or four exercises), since this will no doubt push you into overtraining. Rather, gently coax the muscle into cooperating with your growth objectives by treating it to as much weight training as it can handle and enjoy. Let it relish the extra time with the iron and respond by giving you the added size you seek.

Implement Your Growth Plan

Carefully administered, double-dosing can produce significant amounts of new muscle hypertrophy. Don't overdo it, however. Develop a plan and implement it over a six-month period. The precise period between double doses will depend on the length of your training cycle. Start by adding two sets of an exercise plus a warmup to the beginning of a workout two or three days after you normally train the lagging bodypart. Then measure the impact of this new stimulus. Are you fully recovered by the time you need to work the bodypart again? If not, you've overtrained. Cut out the double dose and focus on maximum intensity for the muscle group during its one regular session.

If you've completely recuperated, you should be able to do at least as many repetitions with the same weight as you did before on your standard training day. Ideally, you will add to your rep count and weights over time.

Stay at this two-set level for one month, and record the poundages and number of reps you lift. Also record this information for your regular bodypart workout. Measure the muscle girth once a week as well. In month 2 increase the number of sets to three and continue recording all information. If additional growth occurs compared to month 1, stick with three sets for another month, then increase to four sets in month 4. By month 6 you should have made major progress in bringing the lagging bodypart into proper proportion with the rest of your body.

Remember, however, to maintain intensity during your standard training session. Never backtrack on your regular workout just so you can make gains during your double dose. The idea is to provide a measured amount of supplemental stimulation so you can say good-bye to that lagging bodypart forever.

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