Training doesn’t always have to be about moving as much weight as you possibly can. If you’re in the gym to build muscle, then you have to realize that you have many different tools at your disposal to accomplish this. Yes, a progressive overload style of training will induce hypertrophy to the greatest extent, but at some point the weights just get too heavy and no more positive forward momentum can be made without the real risk of injury setting in. When you get to this point in your training, you have to start looking around to see what else you can do to trigger the type of physical response you want from your body and if more muscle is the name of the game, then begin this entire process by simply articulating your angles while training. Working the angles can be a very precise and rewarding change to your training and to help you out in this regard, here are three great tips to follow while you employ this new approach to working out.
Find the Least Restrictive Movement Plane
If you have any time under your weight belt in the gym, then you have already established your own natural movements as they apply to all of the different exercises you have used. You get comfortable performing movements a certain way and due to this, adaptation has set in and the effect of the training stimulus begins to lessen. An easy way to correct this and to induce a new response, even when using the same exercises, is to simply change the angle you are pushing or pulling in ever so slightly to maintain the least restrictive plane of movement. Remember, this will all be new to you and the last thing you want to have happen is injury which is why I highly recommend the angle change you use still fit within your comfort zone to some degree to avoid anything negative happening. So, a slight adjustment up or down on the seat, a small tilt forwards or backwards, a notch up or down on the adjustable bench or a slot up or down on the cable system you use is all it takes at first.
Find Your Most Disadvantaged Position
Most of us love feeling strong when in the gym and want to move as much weight as possible. It’s a great feeling and overall sense of accomplishment when it occurs. In doing so, we always seem to put ourselves in the strongest position or set up possible just prior to engaging in the lift. Again, this will only benefit you for so long before it doesn’t anymore and to continue accruing new gains in strength and muscle, why not find an angle where you don’t feel strong in the movement and then work on feeling strong from that position? If you can work towards getting stronger from your most disadvantaged position in an exercise, think about how much more strength you’ll have and how much more subsequent muscle tissue you’ll be able to build. So, the next time you’re in the gym, go to your favorite exercises for whatever muscle group you’re training, lock in where you feel good and then move around until you don’t feel good and then ease into working from those angles to find new gains.
The final piece of advice here for articulating your angles and working from new positions in old exercises is to make sure you avoid using any sort of momentum or body English to move the same weights you have become accustomed to moving in these exercises. The fact of the matter is that you’re not going to be as strong from a different angle as you were in your normal movement plane so just be fine with that and work on improving it. That’s about as simple as it gets here and any type of momentum you put into the exercise just to move weight will do you no good and has the potential for harm. Be patient, the strength will come, the muscle will build and when you do get to the same level of power from the new angle, once you go back to your old ways, you’ll be incredibly surprised by how much work you have to do again to build strength back up there which again just means a new stimulus for more growth.
The never-ending game we all play in the gym with figuring out what’s best for our goals is really the fun of it all. Sure, you can go into the gym and do the same thing week after week and there is a lot to say about consistency but even the smallest of change can be beneficial. Changing angles is easy; it doesn’t require you to re-structure your training, you don’t need any new equipment to do it and to the untrained eye, no one would even be able to tell you’re doing anything different. That’s the beauty of articulating angles. You can stick with the exercises you love doing or if you’re limited to what you have to work with, you will always have a new training stimulus at your disposal by simply looking for ways to incorporate a new movement plane into your training. The angles you have to work with are endless so use them. Be smart, take an intelligent approach to your training, think outside the box and articulate your gains through your movement patterns for a better you.
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member