Prioritize to Enter the Eye of the Storm

If you place yourself in the eye of a storm, you can have all kinds of chaos going on around you, but you’ll stay centered and in control. If you step out into the whirlwind of tasks, you’ll lose control and quickly become overwhelmed. The way you get to the center is by prioritizing.

Make a list of what needs to be done – get it down on paper – and then number the tasks according to priority. Start at number 1 and work your way down the list (e.g., an oil change may be low on your list, but a car that’s leaking oil becomes a priority). Before you know it, the sheet will be filled with check marks.

The same concept applies to your physique. Rate your physique and prioritize your weak areas in training.

In my article How Do You Rate On A Scale Of 1-10?, I introduce a simple strategy to help you improve your muscle symmetry and proportion: Simply rate the development of each major muscle group on a scale of one to ten and focus most of your training on the lagging muscles.

Feel free to get feedback from others. In fact, I encourage it. In Pumping Iron, for instance, you saw this sort of thing happen in the gym all the time. With cell phones and the internet these days, all you need to do is take a few photos and share it with others for their opinion.

Once you gather a consensus of what’s lagging and what’s not, work more on your weaknesses and less on your strengths. Double the volume for the two lowest rating muscle groups and cut the volume in half for the two highest. In general, there are two ways to bring up lagging body parts:

  1. Give them greater priority. The exercises you do first in your workouts receive the greatest training effect. Most people begin their workouts with their bigger and stronger body parts. Try reversing the order of exercises in your next program. For instance, direct forearm work often occurs at the end of a training session (if at all), but if that’s a lagging body part, try doing wrist curls at the beginning of your workout. You’ll be able to use more weight than normal and that alone should stimulate greater growth.
  2. Give them more work. Muscle hypertrophy is a function of volume – the more work you perform, the more growth you’ll experience (assuming, of course, that sufficient recovery occurs). One way to up the volume of any body part is to use the “staggered sets” method. For example, if your calves are dreadful, try this in your next program: insert sets of calf raises between sets of exercises for other body parts. Before you know it, you’ve completed a high number of sets for your calves (much more than normal), and your body responds by increasing muscle tissue to meet the demand.

You can even combine both methods as I outline in How To Bring Up Lagging Body Parts. Do this for a three month period and rate again. Put the before and after photos side by side for comparison. Repeat the process above until you achieve the desired look.

Bottom Line: Rate your physique, get feedback from your peers, and bring up those lagging body parts by giving them a higher priority and training them more than the rest of your body. It’s easy to do, just step into the eye of the storm!

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