Here's a Report Card style summary of what the past year in the gym has done for my major muscle groups in two categories - Effort and Results:
1. Legs - My legs have always been strong from all the walking I do at work, but doing squats and deadlifts, along with regular calf work and isolated hamstring work has made my legs stronger and more muscular than at any time in my life - not bad for a 50-something. Grades: Effort A Results A
2. Shoulders - Always a sore point until this year, my shoulders were too narrow and bony. I've worked hard to pack meat on them, and I've been pretty successful. My upper traps are beefier too, mainly as a result of deadlifts. Grades: Effort A Results B
3. Chest - My chest was decent before joining the gym, but now looks 'deeper', with more visible separation in the pecs. I tend to put weight on in this area (as well as my belly), so I need to work especially hard to tighten things up, and more work is needed. Grades: Effort B/Results B
4. Back - I usually work my back harder than any other upper body area. I have seen good results, with visible widening and some thickening. But I when I flex, my back still lacks the muscle separation that you'll see in a well-defined posterior chain. More work is needed. Grades: Effort A Results C
5. Core - I don't much direct core work. Working abs via crunches causes pain in my middle spine, so I stopped doing those. Leg raises hurt in the area where I had hernia repairs - a convenient excuse, I know, but I am very prone to inflammation there.
Despite this, I have improved in overall core strength due to emphasis on exercises like squats, deadlifts, and overhead press. I also do unilateral training, which demands core stabilization. Still, my obliques are too thick, which detracts from the wider lats that every bodybuilder strives for. Grades: Effort C Results C
Arms - Triceps account for about 3/4 of arm mass, and I'm happy to report than my Tri's look bigger and better-defined. My biceps have always been big, and I just don't spend much time on them because 1) I prefer to work on weaker areas and 2) They get indirect stimulation with all the pulling I do. A few curls each week or so seems to be all they need. Grades: Effort C- Results B+