Reciprocal Inhibition: How to use Antagonist Muscles to Strengthen One Another

Posted: March 6, 2014 in fitness, Muscle Building
Tags: , , , , , , ,

reciprocal inhibition

Wow, that’s possibly the longest blog title I’ve made to date, but this is a pretty cool concept in the world of bodybuilding.

Reciprocal Inhibition is a technique of training where you train antagonist muscles together ie. biceps and triceps; chest and back; quads and hams.

When a muscle contracts it also inhibits the antagonist muscle from contracting. Recent studies suggest this is an extremely powerful way to train as the “inhibited” muscle actually winds up being strengthened. For what it’s worth Arnold trained this way long before this science came out.

The 3-day split of Arnie supposedly used is:
Day 1: chest/back
Day 2: legs
Day 3: shoulders & arms

It is a pretty solid spit, however I prefer to spread it out a little more and set up my RI training like this:
Day 1: chest & back (rows)
Day 2: quads & hams
Day 3: shoulders & lats
Day 4: biceps & triceps

When doing this split I usually alternate between calves and forearms every training day as either a warmup, a finisher or both.

The idea with the above split is to do supersets of exactly opposite angles, such as bench press and barbell row. When doing this I find that my strength improves each set – lending to the validity of the method!

Don’t be shy, give it a try 🙂

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Super Hero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

  1. […] logs: week 1; week 2 Week 3 is a new split using reciprocal inhibition, and geared more towards “power”. That said, reps don’t go below 6 and there are […]

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