T Nation

Bodypart Specialization Programs


What are some of your opinions on specialization routines? Focusing on one or two muscles for 4-6 weeks while doing maintenance work for the rest of body. Anyone ever tried this and utilize it on a regular bassis? With all the recent superhero movies out lately and how most of the actors get ready for the roles usually only emphasizing a few muscle groups I was wondering how this could be implemented with a more whole body development approach.

Focusing on say legs for 4 weeks with three weekly sessions and just doing one day of lifting for the upperbody then transistion to a general lifting approach whatever that may be once a week splits twice a week or whatever the individual may want to do for the same amount of time as the specialization routine. Then going into another specialization phase to bring up a different muscle for the same amount of time and keep repeating the cycle like that.

It seems that frequency seems to play a big part in why someone would do these routines along with reducing recovery needs for other muscle groups. But you have people that already train muscles twice in a week already, so would training like this benefit them? Allowing for better recovery maybe?

I'm aware there are articles on the subject but most just outline workouts to do and offer the principles, wanted to see if anyone has used this method long term and if it has any real benefit over generalized body part training.


First time poster, long time reader. It seems Thibs is a big proponent of specialisation routines, and I have always been interested in a lot of the suggestions and outlines he discusses in some of his articles.

I think you hit the nail on the head with your comments around frequency playing a big part of how these routines would work for an individual. As an example, I work on a 6 day split: Chest - Back - Quads - Shoulders - Arms - Hammies. When I do any specialisation work I combine the two leg days and mix in the second bodypart day somewhere that fits well. As you mentioned also, I will run this for about 4 weeks. I don’t continue with other bodyparts though, I roll straight back into my 6 day split (unless there is another glaring weakness I want to focus on).

Another example I am currently using is a chest specialisation. This is currently my biggest weakness, mainly because of my dominant shoulders. So I maintain my stand alone chest day, but drop the volume on shoulder day and add in 2-3 chest exercises. This way my shoulders are pre exhausted and don’t take over too much on the chest exercises…

Long story short, I really think they have their place in training, particularly around weaker body parts. However, I try to maintain intensity and volume across other body parts also.