Fitness & Training Tips
By Dan

About Dan

I’m one of our resident Exercise Physiologists, and also an accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach, Personal Trainer and Level 1 Weightlifting Instructor. Outside of the gym, I tend to go in search of good food and great coffee. And yes, Dan’s Shoulder Stretch is mine.
When I’m sitting down discussing life (and training) with my budding athletes and clients, at some point the question inevitably arises:
 “How do I fix this?”  [*wiggles specific jiggly bit*] or;
 “My arms/legs/glutes won’t grow.”
 Well, I’m going to tell you how to fix some of these recurring problem areas.
 Step 1: Fix Your Diet
If your problem is that you carry too much fat in a certain area, and want to do something about it, then you MUST reduce your total calorie intake. No amount of training will fix a diet issue.
If your problem is that you want to make an area grow (with muscle of course), then you MUST increase your total calories (total newbies are an exception here – they can lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously…but only for a matter of a few months).
Make sure your diet matches the goal. More calories for muscle gain, less calories for fat loss.
Step 2: Improve Your 6-rep Max in Specific Lifts
A quick theory lesson. Firstly, a single muscle or muscle group limits the strength of most lifts in the gym. You just have to know which muscle limits that lift (that’s what I’m relatively useful for).
 For example, weak triceps will limit your strength in overhead presses.
Secondly, muscle grows best in response to total volume. The best way to do that is use relatively high reps for multiple sets (3-5 sets of 6-12 reps).
Put that all together, and you’ll realise you need to do lots of reps in a lift that trains the area that needs specific work.
The best way to test this is to test your 6RM strength in a lift, then train it hard for 12-16 weeks, then retest it. If the numbers go up, it’s likely because you increased the size of the muscle compared to when you started.
 Step 3: Decide Which Lifts You Need To Focus On
 For each problem area, I’ll aim to give you 1-2 lifts that will directly target that area.
  • Overhead press or close-grip bench press
  • Dips
  • Narrow grip chin ups
  • Strict barbell curl (back against pole – no cheating!)
  • Front squat
  • Rear-foot elevated split squat
  • Barbell hip thrusts
  • Romanian deadlift
Low back:
  • Deficit snatch grip deadlift
  • Weighted back extension
  • BB seated behind the neck press
  • DB incline bench press
If you significantly improve your 6RM in a lift, I can almost guarantee that you’ll have increased muscle in that area. Now (obviously) you can’t do everything at once, so I recommend only focusing on 2-3 lifts at a time, and devoting your training to those particular lifts.
Try it out. Come up with a diet to support your overall training goals, decide on the lifts you want to improve, test them, train hard for 12-16 weeks, then retest them.
It’s that simple if you’re willing to stick to the plan…