If you’re someone who’s looking to build muscle mass, one thing that you may come to consider at some point is a specialization routine. When you first get started with the goal to build muscle, using a basic full body workout program tends to yield the best results.
You hit the muscles at a high frequency rate of three times per week and are focusing mostly on compound movements that will be excellent for increasing your muscle mass.
But, as time progresses onwards, you may come to find that progress slows down as now you need something a little more advanced to take your results to the next level.
Or, perhaps one certain muscle group is really lagging and you want to devote more time and attention to it to bring it up to the rest.
This is precisely when a specialization routine will come into play. By using this approach you can target one or two muscles more individually to help see greater growth while keeping the rest of your body at maintenance.
It’s important to never stop training muscles entirely when focusing on the lagging muscle groups as you would then suffer muscle mass loss. Specialization routines are perfect for overcoming your weakness, while maintaining all the muscle you’ve built so far.
Let’s have a quick peak into the specialization routine set-up so you can get a feel for what you should be doing.
Creating Your Workout Split
The very first thing that you should consider is what your workout split will be. One very good option to use is a hybrid program that’s a mix between body part splits, upper lower splits, and the full body workout program.
You always want to make sure that you’re stimulating each muscle group in the body at minimum twice per week as this is the frequency required to maintain lean muscle mass.
But yet, you want to put forth extra work and attention to that specialization group so that you can get it growing faster and stronger.
The following set-up will allow you to accomplish these objectives perfectly:
Monday – Upper Body Workout
Tuesday – Lower Body Workout
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Full Body Workout
Friday – Off
Saturday – Specialization routine
Sunday – Off
As you can see, you’ll hit each muscle group twice per week doing the upper/lower sections and then the full body workout and then you’ll also target that specialization muscle group a third time, devoting an entire session to it to really bring up its strength level.
In addition to this, you’re never working any given muscle group two days in a row, which is important for recovery purposes, making this a very ideal set-up.
You could also choose to perform two full body workouts and then one specialization workout as well, leaving one day off between all three sessions if you are someone who can’t get to the gym four days per week or does have a slightly lower recovery ability.
Take All Other Muscles To Maintenance
So now that you know the workout split you will be doing, it’s time to take all other muscle groups to maintenance. For any given muscle that you don’t want to specialize in, you can generally reduce the total workload from that of what you were doing to about 50%.
So if you used to do 4 sets of bench press and you’re specializing on back, now you can do just 2 sets of bench press instead.
Or, if you really like the bench press exercise, you could eliminate a whole other exercise entirely, keeping the total sets for bench press the same.
At the end of the day, the important point to note is that the total sets performed for any given muscle group can be slashed in half without risking lean muscle mass loss.
But, and this is important, intensity must stay the same. That means that whatever you do, don’t start lowering the weight. If you begin lowering the weight, that will be the impetus for the body to start losing muscle mass since it doesn’t think it requires as much muscle tissue to maintain its strength.
Employ Advanced Techniques For The Lagging Groups
So once all other muscle groups are at maintenance, then it’s time to focus on the specialization muscle. Since you are trying to really ramp up growth and strength, you want to use a combination of heavy lifting sets, along with some higher rep, advanced strategy sets.
Supers sets, drop sets, pyramid sets, and half rep sets will all be good to use here. Just make sure that you perform the most compound movements that you’re going to include in the routine first when you’re most fresh before moving on to the advanced higher rep sets that you’re going to do.
Remember to also maintain proper form at all times. Especially during the specialization workout, fatigue could become a major factor as you’re just working one muscle for the whole session, so be sure that it doesn’t cause you to sacrifice proper form.
Finally, make sure that you’re constantly changing the specialization workout around as well. Muscles respond best to constantly changing stimuli, so if you want to get stronger and bigger, this needs to be changed almost daily.
Whether you’re doing new exercises, taking the rep range higher, adding another set or changing the order of exercises, just do something to evoke change.
Since the other groups are staying at maintenance anyway, change won’t be required but for that specialization workout, it’s key.
So there you have the main things that you must note about designing a specialization workout.
If you’re currently plateaued and want to take your body to a whole new level, these definitely can help take you there. Feel free to interchange the muscles that you specialize with over time as well to help build your absolute best body yet.
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