T Nation

Best Exercises for Stubborn Muscle Groups


We all have a body part that requires special attention and different variations of excercises.

Post your stubborn muscle group and how you've gone about brining it up to par?

For me personally

Chest - Lots of flys, dumbbell bench press stopping short of lock out usually in the 8-12 rep ranges. bar presses decline, incline, or flat don't do much for my chest

Tris - All types of bar pressing, JM Presses, and (gasp) kick backs lol its the only way I feel my long head working.

Muscle groups I would really like to hear discussed are rear delts, rhomboids, traps, outer head of the biceps, hamstrings, and calves.

Discuss at will. Figured this would be a refreshing thread.



Still haven't brought them to where I want them to be, but in the last month 3 different people randomly commented on my forearms looking bigger so must be doing something right.

Rack Pulls- No straps
K-pipe curls
Forearm curls
Farmer Walks
And this may sound weird, but gripping the steering wheel as tight as possible while driving. lol
I have a 1 hour drive home after my metro ride everyday, so I started gripping the steering wheel as tight as I possibly could the entire way home, about 2-3 days a week.


chest : low decline dumbell fly


Chest for me: more frequently and higher volume.

Rear delts you ask? 4 sets on rear fly machine, high reps. Single arm dumbbell rows.


I have no stubborn groups just problems with fat gain and loss.

I fight that with complexes nowadays since wrestling isn't as frequent for me anymore.


Try rows with a fat bar or fat grips. it was a humbling experience. but my forearms were going to explode.


Or just hang from a pull-up bar for as long as possible (maybe with weight strapped on). My forearms and back SUCK. Well, I'm pretty small, so everything sucks on me, but these are the worst. Doing this, though, has seemed to help my forearms while also stretching out my lats.


I had the sissiest forearms before. They're not a whole lot better, but I think I am doing something right. I'm not sure what to attribute it to. The only thing I can think of is pull-ups and/or hanging from the bar.


Why both? Sounds like a good way to burn out before you make good progress. I brought my chest up okay hitting it 2-3 times a week, and eating more.

All I did was DB Flat, DB incline and one set of cable flies. And my rep ranges for work sets rarely were with a weight I could lift more than 8 reps.

I'm no expert, just seems like you are going to reach the point of diminishing returns if you bump up volume and frequency at once.

Make sure to work your rear delts and other shoulder heath work too...


Quad (width/sweep) are my problem area, I don't get on great with squats. I'm using close stance leg press, split squats and extensions.

Foreams are less sucky these days, Pinwheels and fat gripz have helped.

Biceps are less sucky, but still should be bigger - just focused on getting stronger nothing complicated.

Lat head of triceps are difficult (elbows don't enjoy extensions), but PJRs have helped.


My biceps seem to gain strength the slowest out of any group. I haven't really progressed much lately on any exercise for them other than cable movements. I got up to barbell curling 120 for 4-5 reps, but stopped because of wrist pain. I think pinwheel curls with some english actually got them to grow some, because I got some wicked looking stretch marks after introducing them in.

Going to try the lower volume, higher frequency approach, and spend 1 workout really just ''feeling'' the muscle work since my biceps seem to lack that mmc, especially my right 1.


Good advice.


I dont believe any muscle I have is stubborn. If I hit it with good form often then it grows. If I dont target it directly it won't grow. Thats it.


[quote]BurnMyEyes wrote:
I think pinwheel curls with some english actually got them to grow some, quote]

Be careful with those, some idiot can interrupt you because you are doing them ''all wrong with body english'', and you will end up losing your cool and damn near smaking his head with the dumbell

but yeah they work


Forearms - Farmer's walks or wrist roller to failure 2-3x.

Calves - Stand on a step and crank out 50 toes in, 50 straight ahead, 50 toes out, all done single leg or on a leg press machine, something I did (and I have freakishly big calves btw), is hold the lock out position for as long as I could with a heavy load after repping out with it.

Tricep Long Head - Single Arm DB Pullover Extensions, control the weight.

Quads - 20 rep deep squats if you're man enough. I've been doing Myo-Rep style squats and I've been feeling my VMO & quads like crazy.

Abs - Recently I tried leg raises and sit-ups/crunches on my bed instead of the floor or bench, and man what a difference it's made. I've always had a hard time 'feeling' my core work, but doing those exercises on my mattress have helped with that a ton as of recent.

Medial Deltoids - Another recent feeling for me, was letting my arm come across the front of my body, it felt like it was stretching my medial deltoid a lot from the rear anyway, I suppose if you did the same sort of movement to the rear of your body it might help the front medial area.(<<

One of the best ways to gain muscle control I've found is via EMS. When I had ACL surgery the therapist left me with the machine and I sort of played with it, turned it all the way up as hard as I could handle and I got great muscle control in my left VMO as compared to my right.

Practice flexing as well, the mind-muscle connection is no joke.




Matty thanks for the calf training one I might give it a go. When you say you have freakish calves were they a stubborn muscle for you at one point and you used those methods to bring them up? or have they always been large?


Thanks for all the forearm tips to those that posted them.

I do find it interesting that in my forearms thread I got nothing but flames for saying my forearms are small compared to the rest of my arm and was looking for advice with pictures. Then I post in a thread stating I'm actually starting to see progress and now I get all this advice AND pictures. HAHA Where were you guys when I needed you?? :wink:


Triceps-mine only respond when I really go heavy on compound moves, and then tons of volume on isolation excercises to get a huge pump eg:

Bench/Military ramp up to 3-5RM over 7-10 sets
2 Isolation excercise like pressdowns 10x3
The a finisher like FST-7 7x15(20-30 secs rest)
then I stretch the tris hard for 90 secs for a really painful pump. If have time might then wait 3-5 mins and repeat finisher and or throw in some DC weighted streching


Back Width- Wide Rack Chins done with very controlled negative(3-4 seconds) and a "1 1000" pause at the bottom.
Overall Back- 10-25 rep "Kroc" Dumbbell rows since that's what everyone is calling them. Full stretch at the bottom and strapped up.