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Worst Things First

Turn your physique’s weaknesses into strengths with the Weider Priority Principle.

Sure, you may think you know what the “Weider Muscle Priority Principle” means. “Oh, yeah, I prioritize certain workouts — I make sure to do chest and arms three times a week, because I want them to be huuuuuuuge.”

And thus, an army of misshapen gym rats has been released among the snickering masses, giving a bad rap to everyone else who toils with aesthetic balance in mind. Yes, sleeve-busting guns and prominent pecs are cool, but all that work you’ve put into them is merely fodder for a punch line if the rest of your body hasn’t kept pace.

Not to just pick on the beach muscles, either. We all tend to have a favorite. Some embrace the contrarian spirit and focus diabolically on their backs and chests to the detriment of anything else. Others embrace the stomach-churning nature of heavy leg day, creating a pyramid of a physique — all foundation, tiny top. Perhaps you know someone with cartoonish forearms, or half-cantaloupe delts that bulge in the front and fall flat in the back.

In a sense, all these represent “prioritization” but certainly not in the spirit of the late Master Blaster’s intent.

The Muscle Priority Principle is instead all about embracing your least favorite bodyparts to train. Using this simple yet often ignored concept, you make sure to do your weakest, most underdeveloped muscle groups first in your training split, and first in your workouts, even making sure to give them their own dedicated training session if that’s what it takes to make improvements.

That way, you hit the muscle when you’re strongest, have the most energy, and can give it the full attention it needs.

A Case of the Mondays

Let’s flip the script and consider a hypothetical scenario in which your chest is actually a lagging bodypart and not a fave. (Hey, it happens — some guys have shoulders and triceps that respond with ease, while their chest gets quickly overpowered during heavy pressing movements.)

Because his chest is relatively weak, our subject doesn’t really embrace barbell and dumbbell presses, and instead has poured much more effort into widening his shoulders. His current split may look like this:

Monday: Shoulders & Triceps

Tuesday: Chest & Biceps

Thursday: Back & Abs

Friday: Legs

In this split, he’s hopping into the gym after a weekend, well rested and ready to tear into his delts and tri’s. It’s no wonder they’re growing like crazy. But Tuesday, he’s probably still feeling a bit of fatigue in his delts and arms as he tackles chest, meaning his intensity and the amount of weight he can handle suffers. The pecs fall further and further behind those Monday bodyparts.

How can he fix the problem? Here are two potential remedies: