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The Priority Training Principle

The Priority Training Principle

Priority training is a Weider´s training principle, used when a muscle (or muscle group) is not developing at the same rate as the rest of the body. The difference between a good physique and a great physique is proportion, balance and symmetry.

The ideal physique is symmetrical, the upper and lower body are in proportion, and there are no muscles which stand out to the eye as over or under-developed in relation to the others. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t always develop evenly.  After a few months of starting a regular training program, most people have already noticed that some muscles grow faster than others. 

Two main factors cause this unbalanced muscle development:
  1. Genetics: meaning that even if you’re diligent about training every muscle equally with the same amount of intensity and consistency, you’ll probably see some muscles fall behind others. That’s simply your body following its natural genetic pattern.
  2. There’s also a natural (unconscious) behavior. Most people give certain muscles special treatment, while other muscles are neglected. The body parts you don’t focus on, your least favorite body parts, or the exercises you find most difficult or unpleasant often get left to last and trained as an afterthought, or blown off completely. If you recognize errors like these and correct them, you can develop outstanding proportion, balance and symmetry.
Balanced body
The good news is, even the most stubborn muscles can be improved by working hard and using the right training strategies. It’s all about making weaker muscle groups your top priorityAmateurs focus too much on their strengths. Priority training is a principle used to improve muscles that lag behind the others. 
 
Here is where priority training begins: with honest assessment. Your first assessment is right in the mirror and you can do that immediately. Next come photos, videos and the opinions of fellow athletes, trusted friends and expert coaches.
Once you’ve identified body parts to prioritize, you’re ready to start making changes to your workout schedule and using priority training techniques. In some cases, this means training completely the opposite of the way you’re used to. That will take an open mind and willingness to change your training habits.
 
Priority training is not a single tactic, but a group of them, designed with one purpose: to put more attention, energy and effort into training the lagging body parts until they come into balance with the rest of your physique. 
 
Here, you’ll find the best priority training techniques that I’ve used and which I’ve taught to my clients over the years. These are classic techniques, dating back to the Weider era, so they’ve been tested and proven for years. Some people start by choosing the one strategy that seems most logical or appropriate based on their situation. But keep in mind, to get better results, you can attack your weak areas using multiple strategies.

1. Change the order of your exercises (train your weak body parts first)

Whatever you train first in your workout usually gets trained the hardest simply because you have more energy and strength at the start of the workout. Whatever you do last in the workout is usually trained with the least effort.
 
Change the order of the exercises in your workout so that the body part that needs the most work is done first, when you are mentally and physically the freshest. Never train your weak body parts last.

2. Change exercises to emphasize specific parts of a muscle.

A muscle has different sides, angles or facets. Some muscles are more complex than others, with fibers that fan out in multiple angles or which have separate heads with different tendon attachment points.
 
For example, the deltoids are well known for being multi-angular with distinct movement patterns for the front, side and rear portion of the muscle.
 
How much you can isolate individual heads of each muscle is controversial, but we know it’s possible to place some added emphasis on different portions of a muscle by choosing the exercises that best activate those portions. 
If you carefully choose the exercises to work the part of the muscle that needs the most work, that one simple change, combined with persistence, can bring everything into balance and create an impressive muscle from any angle.

3. Use a body part split routine with dedicated days for your high priority muscles

Full body workouts are popular, effective and ideal for beginners, for anyone with strength goals or limited days per week to train. There’s nothing wrong with full body training in those cases.
 
However, body part split training is ideal in the case of priority training to bring up a weak muscle, it’s one of the best strategies. You simply choose or create a custom split routine that gives you an entire day dedicated to your prioritized muscle group.

4. Increase your training intensity for your prioritized body parts

This simply means putting more physical and mental effort into every set and every rep. The whole idea of priority training is that you don’t push harder for every exercise or body part; you conserve your energy and put the extra effort only into your prioritized body parts.

5. Increase the volume (more exercises, more sets)

Usually, when you think of progressive overload, you think of increasing how much weight you lift. But another way to increase overload is simply do more sets (increase the volume). That could be more sets of the same exercise, or additional exercises.
 
For priority training, simply do more sets for the lagging body part. More is not always better, but as long as you have the time to do more sets and to recover from the added volume, this is a simple and effective way to increase growth.

6. Train overdeveloped body parts with less volume, intensity or frequency

Although most of these strategies revolve around working harder on the body parts you want to improve, it is entirely possible that to balance your physique to the proportions and symmetry you want, you may also need to back off training your most well-developed muscle groups.
 
It’s ok to train some muscle groups harder, and at the same time train others lighter, if they are already highly developed.

7. Mentally train yourself to focus on improving your priority body part

Mental training is a vital part of achieving your muscle-building or fat loss goals. In the case of priority training, it’s important because many people develop negative belief systems about their “weak” body parts (often blaming them too much on genetics).
 
The mental training starts with believing it’s possible to grow and change your body. You must visualize it and mentally see yourself training hard and growing into exactly what you want to look like. 
 
Change everything to the positive. What you used to call a weak or lagging body part, you can start calling it a priority body part. Stop thinking about it as weak.

These guys could help you in so many ways:

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8% body fat loss in 3 weeks

Glenda won my last contest three weeks ago. Her biggest problem was that she ate too much fast food and industrial bakery. Nor did she drink too much water. So we focus on their eating habits and add a training circuit four times a week. She has already lost 8% body fat. This was Glenda:

And this is her progress, in numbers:

You´ll have to wait to see her new image until we finish, but you can see how she loses weight, the perimeter of his belly is reduced, she loses body fat, and she gains some lean muscle mass. Also, she wrote me an email last week that I´d like to share with you:

“David,
        I luckily have had the opportunity, as you know, to work with you online. I could NEVER have imagined how it would change so much of my daily routine in such a positive way!! I just wanted to thank you and tell you some things that have gone terrifically RIGHT!
 
      I was overwhelmed by the instant response to the questions you had concerning what goals I wanted to achieve and my physical state (WHICH HAS IMPROVED VASTLY!) my likes and dislikes and allergies to foods, etc.
 
    Overnight , you had figured out my dietary needs , my body fat% and exactly what plan for workouts I should do. Then days in, I had a little medical tweak and almost instantly you had a new plan that I could follow. I think you are an amazing, insightful, innovative trainer!!
 
     I know you did not intend to actually change my life style but IT IS WONDERFUL!! Before I started this online training and diet diary; I ate so much just bad stuff and drank probably 1000 calories a day in super sweetened coffee and my gin and tonics;-) and I woke up tired and stayed that way most of the day.
 
      Now that I keep that dietary diary; my water intake has gone to  8 glasses a day …my coffee is unsweetened and no more than 2 cups and the gin and tonics are 1 a day…my snack habits of candy and pure carbs has changed to apples and bananas.
  
       I wake up earlier and go straight to the gym after a light healthy breakfast. I have loads of energy and I’ve lost 7 pounds in nearly 3 weeks!!!!!!!!!
          
          My husband LOVES those new meals! For the first time in FOREVER, he actually wants to help pick out meals. It’ s more than checking off the box and his habits are changing, too!
 
      I have told my friends! I wish I could tell others that if they have an opportunity to work with you and they don’t take it that they are missing out on a truly beneficial experience!
 
      I love the chat information everyday..There’s so many remarkable things I want to say to you about you.
Mostly THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I am really grateful to work with Glenda, because she is super motivated, very funny (always have some funny anecdote to tell me), and does everything I suggest, apparently effortlessly!! 

The next one could be YOU

These guys could help you in so many ways:

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Plazah

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