We all have a stubborn muscle group that won’t respond to any of the typical bodybuilding methods. Your biceps have been underdeveloped for years, even though you’ve tried everything from heavy weight training to high-rep sets to failure. But no matter what you do, you just can’t get the damn things to grow.
I’m not surprised.
For 18 years it’s been my passion to help people add new mass to their most underdeveloped muscles. As a professional trainer, I’m well aware of all the mainstream bodybuilding approaches, and I’ve also learned that virtually none of them work for someone with average genetics.
This is also the reason why subpar athletes make the best coaches. Genetically gifted athletes like Bo Jackson were born with all the physical tools to take them to the highest level of performance. Bo, in particular, is a guy that didn’t even need to practice – that’s much natural athleticism he was born with.
But the guys who had to sweat, bleed and cuss their way to top also had to learn all the tricks of the trade. Those hard-knock lessons through relentless experimentation are what make them such effective coaches.
Most professional bodybuilders are at the opposite end of that spectrum. Sure, they work very hard but it doesn’t take much of a stimulus for them to grow any muscle group. In other words, most training methods don’t work for you but almost everything works for them.
Throughout all my years of training, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about stubborn muscle groups. Here’s a brief overview:
1. Virtually every muscle group requires a unique approach: When I first started training I discovered effective ways to build mass in the quadriceps. But when I applied those same training parameters to the biceps, nothing happened. Each muscle requires a specific set of training parameters.
2. You must spare the joints: You don’t need to add more sets or reps to a workout in order to trigger growth in an undeveloped muscle. If that were the case, 50 sets of curls would result in noticeable gains the next day. There’s a limit to how much growth you can stimulate in any given workout. If you train beyond that threshold you’re creating excessive fatigue and overloading the recovery system.
More importantly, adding a bunch of extra sets to your workout for a specific muscle group will wear down your joints. To stimulate new muscle growth, you must train it more frequently – that’s true. But the only way to pull off that trick is by overloading the muscle more than the joint it crosses.
3. Stimulate the largest motor units when they’re fresh: The science of motor unit recruitment is pretty well understood. If you start a set without fatigue, you have the ability to immediately recruit the largest motor units that have the most potential for growth.
However, the typical bodybuilding approach doesn’t follow the science. Those sets start out slow and easy and only become difficult at the very end. The neuroscience research shows that the largest motor units with the most growth potential only come into play when you can achieve the highest levels of force – at the beginning of a set.
So when a client comes to me to add new mass to an undeveloped muscle group, I keep those three points in mind.
In 2012 I released the High Frequency Training (HFT) system, based on all the research and data I’d accumulated. The approach was pretty straightforward: you would choose an exercise such as the pull-up and do a total number of reps per say (e.g., 50) regardless of how many sets it took. Then you would add a rep to that total each day and continue for 6-8 weeks.
That approach works well for most muscle groups, but it does little for muscles such as the biceps. Since the original HFT came out I’ve accumulated a ton of data and feedback from the people that followed the program. This info was paired with the constant experimentation I was doing with my own clients.
I had to find unique ways to add mass to my clients because all of the typical methods didn’t work. That’s why they hired me in the first place.
Now I have new, novel ways to stimulate growth in any muscle group, no matter how stubborn it is. One of my most effective methods is an iso-squeeze countdown that I outlined a few weeks ago. However, that countdown method needs to be modified, based on the muscle that’s being targeted.
Let’s take the biceps, for example. If you apply the same iso-squeeze countdown parameters to the biceps as you do for the quadriceps, you won’t experience any gains. The biceps will only get bigger with high-tension exercises that overload the largest motor units. That’s why gymnasts who do the rings have incredible biceps and collegiate rowers don’t.
In order to build bigger biceps I use three unique training strategies. One of those three is the 3-1 Iso-Squeeze Countdown, but it only works for certain moves that target the biceps a specific way. I’ve had great success with the narrow, overhand grip inverted row to add mass to the biceps and often underdeveloped brachialis.
Here’s a sample from my newest muscle-building system, HFT2…
If you’re interested in learning about my latest, battle-tested approach for targeting growth to a specific muscle, or across the entire body, check out HFT2 by clicking the banner below…