Use Different Angles to Build a Better Muscle

Depending on what plane we’re using, we can work different aspects of the muscle. Take the traps for example. When we’re upright, performing a shrug, we work the upper trap. When we’re faced down on an inclined bench, we’re working the mid/upper portion of the trap. As that angle changes, and we move into more of a pull-up angle, we work a lower part of the muscle.

The chest is the same. However, there are other plains that we may not be using in our training that can make a set much more difficult, and help us build more muscle in the process.

Take video #1. I use the push-up as an example, but the same technique can be used for chin-ups, squats, barbell curls, you name it. Take squats. If we want to focus on the outer muscles of our quads and gluts, add an outward force as we perform the exercise. If we want to work the inner muscles of our quads, groin, and hip flexors, add an inward force.

Video #1: inward force to isolate the pectoral muscle, adding more tension to the muscle from a unique plane.

I do the same thing with exercise #1 of video #2. It’s essentially a squeeze press performed on a medicine ball. What this does is bring a lateral angle of tension to the pectoral muscle that is coupled with the press of the push-up.

With the third video, we’re looking at understanding the muscle we’re trying to work. I use the lats as an example. When most of us perform a pull-up, we tilt our bodies backwards, isolating a portion of the lower lat. But to isolate the entire muscle, we need to use a vertical plane.

Try this next time you’re in the gym, you’ll feel it immediately, if not the next day as you recover. By changing the plane, we can more effectively train the muscle we’re trying to focus on.

Pay Attention to Your Plains

To build a full, balanced muscle, you and I need to train that muscle from each and every angle. We need to be doing decline, flat, and inclined bench presses while adding an inward tension to further isolate the chest. We need to be doing vertical pulldowns, as well as seated rows, and inverted rows to work the entire lat muscle, while adding an outward force to further isolate the muscle.

Know the muscle. Understand how it flows and which angles work it best. In this, an anatomy chart of the body’s muscles is your best friend. Happy training!