T Nation

specialization time periods

In specializing on certain body parts, how long can the non-specialized parts be ~ignored before strength loss is sufficiently great as to make it not worthwhile? What level of training should be used on non-specialized parts or should none be used at all?

I ask this because my weight has shot up a few pounds over the past couple weeks since I’ve had tendonitis in my tricep tendon which has rendered me unable to perform all pressing movements and many other upper body lifts. I haven’t gained weight this quickly in a very long time and I would like to play with this technique more.

I personally wouldn’t ignore any body parts, just do maintenance work. It sounds like your arms are your priority (or at least your triceps). Check out Ian King’s “Great Guns” Program. There is a maintenance program in one of the reader’s mails, just do a search for it. As for the weight gained that is a result of poor diet definitely get that in check first.

Specialization as far as hypertrophy of a specific body part or set of body parts is concerned should never be done to the exclusion of all else.

While I generally recommend 8 weeks of specialized training to increase the strength (or size) of a lagging muscle, 12 or 16 weeks is not what I would call “excessive,” assuming you’re paying enough attention to your other muscles and not creating an imbalance, or allowing one to develop because of lack of stimulation.

Normally my specialization programs are 8 weeks long, made up of 4 week blocks separated by a week of detraining. After that, the movements change a bit.

Again, never ‘ignore’ your other body parts, but rather maintain them. For maintenance, strength training works very well. How exactly to break up the muscle groups not being specialized depends heavily on your training schedule. I have found that 3x5 training 3 times per week is excellent in terms of mass/strength retention in all non-specialized body parts.

Hope this helps.