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  1. #1
    slothy is offline New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Targeting the proper muscle

    hi, i'm fairly new to lifting and am having a problem with my compound lifts. everyone always says to make sure your using the core muscle to get the weight up (use chest during benching and lats during rows, not your tri's and bi's for instance), but i can't seem to tell what muscle i'm using, i just pull/push the weight up. i guesse i don't have that mind-muscle connection, i don't "feel it" as i'm lifting, but the right groups are always sore so i guesse thats a good sign.

    so is there anyway to make sure i'm using the right muscle group for most of the strength, or should it not be a problem if i'm using propper form?

    (i'm not juicing, i'm here because you guys all seemed expirienced so i figured it would be a good place to ask)

  2. #2
    diamonds's Avatar
    diamonds is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    In your head
    My first suggestion would probably be to go lighter on you lifts. You said you were relatively new to lifting yeah? For now I wouldn't really worry about how much weight you use. Instead try and focus more on the mechanics of the movement, and focus on using the muscle you are working. The strength gains will come once you become comfortable with the movement. Slowing down on your tempo will help as well. really try and control the weight. Don't just push and pull the weight, control it throughout the entire movement. It will save you a lot of time and aggravation if you follow the advice: NEVER sacrifice forum for weight.
    This is just my OPINION

  3. #3
    Flexor is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    With compound lifts, it is possible to favour neither muscle group so it 'feels' as if you are not targetting anything. The mind muscle connection is called proprioception, but never rely on this alone. It can be misleading because the information you receive is based on extrafusal muscle fibres called spindles which only 'sense' muscle length, nothing else. These shorten along with the intrafusal contractile fibres, but the spindles do not contract. They are simply for passing info to your brain.

    In reality you are working both muscle groups hard. There are ways to minimise involvement of additional muscle groups however. For example, with the bench press, for chest development you wouldn't take a close grip because you would be getting too much help from the tris. On pullups, for lat development you take a wide grip to reduce recruitment of the biceps. The tris and bis are still lifting the weight, but are not getting worked particularly hard and they fatigue from use instead of their fibres becoming damaged. These muscles fatigue because they are contracting constantly, but they don't receive nearly as much damage as if you were favouring them (Fatigue [lactic acid], is not DOMS or fibre microtrauma). Still, there is growth stimulus sent to these muscles nevertheless and you will gain some size through indirect recruitment.

    Think of it like this. In deadlifts you use your quads to develop power, but deadlifts alone will not build your quads or even make them sore despite the fact that they were used quite heavily. This is why you need additional exercises to work the quads, the tris and the bis even if you were favouring them in your compound lifts. If your form is good, you don't need to worry too much. At this stage you want to concentrate on lifting correctly but go ahead and alter your hand grip like I explained before, and you will be placing a different emphasis on synergistic muscle groups. Remember don't go too wide on the bench or have your elbows too far away from your body, you don't want to work your pecs hard but sacrifice your joints at the same time.
    Last edited by Flexor; 01-06-2006 at 02:22 PM.

  4. #4
    doby48's Avatar
    doby48 is offline Female Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Flexor provides a lot of good information, the only thing I would like to add is that like he says you don't always feel the specific musle you are targeting unless you are really concentrating on it and its not important that you feel those muscles while you are working out. Some muscles I can really feel when i'm working such as my tris when I do close grip bench, but when I do regular bench for my chest I don't feel those muscles during the exercise. But I do feel it afteward, so as long as you are feeling the pain in the muscles you are intending to work, your form is good, and your grip is correct for the type of muscle you are trying to work then you should be good.

  5. #5
    Canadiantiger's Avatar
    Canadiantiger is offline Associate Member
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    Nov 2005
    Steel City Ontario
    Flexor and Doby48 hit the nail on the head. The only other thing I use to an extent is muscle pump. I f I get up from doing say bench press and chest feels as though it is going to explode from the blood infusion I am pretty sure I hit the intended muscle.

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