This will be part one of a two part series in which we explore some of the basic fundamentals of optimum muscle enhancement through resistance training.
Today, we are going to discuss angles!
Believe it or not, the angle at which you perform a lift, or the angle at which you hold your resistance plays a huge role in not only which muscles are worked, but what part of the muscle is worked.
If sculpting, building muscle or strength for particular muscles is what you are aiming to do, then this information is vital for your everyday life.
By hitting certain angles you can isolate muscles to the work allowing them to reap the benefits, as well, when changing the angle you can hit the various heads of muscle tissue creating strength that is functional through the entirety of the muscle, not just in your tried and true method.
Some examples of this in practice:
When performing the Bench Press, when our hands are directly over our shoulders or closer to our midline, more of the effort work is placed on the triceps muscle as opposed to the pectorals. Continuing from there, if we move our hands further apart, the effort work shifts more into our pectoral muscles and less in our triceps
Your elbows angle to your body during many exercises also plays an important role in this. When performing a pushup, if our elbows are up at 90* to our torso, most of the effort work will be transferred to the front of our shoulders in the deltoid. A 45* angle to the torso will put most of the effort work into our pectorals and a 0* angle will focus most of the effort into the triceps.
Curious to experiment with these angles? Give it a try! Pay very close attention to your body, perform the moves slowly and feel the muscle and sinew contract in the various locations. The slower you go, the easier it will be to determine which muscles are working the hardest.
Some more examples? Let’s take a look at the legs. If we were to take a supine position (laying down on your back) and perform hip raises, the angle of our knees would directly determine how much effort would be performed by the glute muscles and the hamstrings. If we were to move our feet FURTHER from out buttocks, the effort is more concentrated in the hamstrings. If our feet are closer to our buttocks, the effort is transferred more into the glute muscles.
We can also change the angle by raising our shoulders onto a surface. This will also drive more of the force into the glute muscles.
These are just a small number of examples. The truth to take from this is that angles play an important role all over the body with resistance training.
If you are ever uncertain, slow it down, take a moment, and listen to your body and how it is responding to the work you are making it do.
The next important part of this is about the planes of motion and how we as human beings can manipulate the space around us, but we’ll talk more about that next week!
Till then, I urge you to experiment for yourself. If you are trying to develop one muscle, try various angles and listen to how your body responds.