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Targeted Hypertrophy Training (THT)
T.H.T. TRAINING IS 100% FREE
You’re about to be LIGHT-YEARS ahead of 99% of the guys at the gym. And it’ll take just 10 minutes. What you’ll discover here will accelerate your muscle gains…forever!
If you’re serious about building slabs of new muscle, and you want stellar results like all these guys got, or these ladies got, keep your eyes glued to this post (and make sure you click here to download the full workout and app for free).
No other single article on web covers it so completely – or so correctly. In points 1-8 we’ll deal with correct training. And points 9 – 12 deal with the diet side of things. You need to get both right to succeed!
First, let me clear up what muscle growth actually is. Watch this quick video below, which explains this well (it’s only 40 seconds long, but it’s awesome).
So muscle tissue is made up of individual muscle fibers. Training in the correct way damages these fibers. Resting and eating for growth then repairs and enlarges the tissue. Done!
Downloading Targeted Hypertrophy Training (THT) training now is the BEST move you can make in your quest to build muscle. Join tens of thousands of others and let today be the beginning of a new way of training which will finally bring you the results you desire. Just input your email below (it’s totally free).
Your muscles will have no reason to grow if you don’t place them under ever-increasing demand. Put simply, your goal is to get a little stronger week in, week out. Without this foundation, you just won’t succeed.
What this means is that the weight you can lift on any given exercise should increase slightly over time. No increase = no growth. This is the concept of Progressive Overload.
Hypertrophy means an increase in muscle size. You want to specifically target this, as opposed to strength-training, which has its focus primarily on strength (not size) gains.
Almost a decade of research and training has led me to identify the following rep ranges as optimal for building muscle size:
8-12 reps per set
6-8 reps per set
The idea is to train for about 10 weeks in 1 rep range before switching to the next rep range. Always start at 8-12 reps for your first training cycle before moving on. Training at lower rep ranges than these won’t produce much real SIZE increases. This is one of the problems with workouts like “5×5”. To see why 5×5 workouts don’t build a lot of muscle read this article.
NOTE: Would you like a list of the TOP 12 MOST EFFECTIVE EXERCISES for building muscle as identified by science? The results come from electromyography (EMG) tests – they are absolutely the best movements you can do to build muscle for every single body part. If you are not doing these exercises, you are not gaining like you could be. Grab them below.
You don’t have to go to your email to click a confirm link; the info you need will appear immediately after you enter your email. Enjoy your gains 🙂
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Just picking up a weight and doing 8-12 reps over and over again isn’t going to get you anywhere. Intensity matters, and here’s how to make sure you do it right…
Let’s say you can do 10 reps of barbell curls; you simply can’t get 11 reps and 5 reps feels easy. 5 reps would then represent 50% Intensity of Effort (10 being 100%). If in every set you stopped at 50% intensity of effort, do you think you’d ever grow? You and I both know that you wouldn’t. It’s too easy. There’s simply no threatening stimulus being placed on the body forcing it to adapt and grow.
The necessary recruitment and stimulation of the maximum number of muscle fibers comes in those last few, almost-impossible reps of a set. Stopping short of this point ensures that you don’t switch on the mechanism for growth. I could write a book on this topic alone, but read one of my latest posts here to see why those final reps are all important…and why you’ll never make up for a lack of intensity by doing more and more sets (more volume).
Always remember that building muscle is a defense mechanism by the body. If there is not a good enough reason provided (i.e. sufficient intensity), the body simply has NO reason whatsoever to trigger the adaptive response of making your muscles larger.
It’s like getting a tan. Intense sunlight is required for the body to build up a tan, which is its way of protecting your skin against further sunlight stress. If the light isn’t intense enough, you could sit out 16hrs a day for 30 days and you won’t even be remotely tanner. The defense mechanism of building more muscle mass is only triggered by high intensity training. You can be in the gym 3hrs, twice a day, 365 days a year, and you won’t build so much as a pound of muscle if the intensity isn’t there.
Did you know that muscle growth occurs during the rest periods between workouts, not during the workout itself? The workout produces microtears in the muscle tissue which stimulates the process of repair and growth to begin when the workout is over.
However, if you don’t rest enough between workouts, and work the same muscle again too soon, you’ll actually stop this process from completing. In your over-enthusiasm you’ll actually prevent muscle growth from happening. You must rest! Think of it in the same way as a scab. If you pick it, it won’t heal. So tear up the muscle in the gym, then rest and let nature take its course if you want optimal growth.
This diagram illustrates the growth process perfectly…
Studies show that both full body routines and 5-day splits work to build muscle.
With a full body routine you’ll train your whole body 3-times per week. If using a split routine, you’ll train each body part once a week but do more sets per workout.
Here are examples of how to do this in the super-effective THT Training:
Now Here’s a 5-Day Training Split…
If you want to download these workouts, you can do so at the bottom of this page (100% free).
In my free THT training routine we use both of the above approaches. Do 10 weeks of the 3-Day Routine, take a week off and rest, then do 10 weeks of the 5-Day Routine. Do both these workouts in the 8-12 rep range. After doing both these cycles, repeat the process in the 6-8 rep range. This will complete a year of non-stop gains and your body will be utterly transformed!
That week off is important. In order to maximize muscle gains you need to take a well-deserved break every now and then. Although local muscle recovery doesn’t require this length of time, full SYSTEMIC recovery requires a full week off after about 10 weeks of continuous training.
Furthermore, after your week off your body will be primed to respond to a new stimulus all over again. You’re back and the body is forced into adaptation mode all over again!
Compound exercises are crucial, they involve many muscle groups simultaneously and allow you to lift pretty heavy loads. They can be defined as exercises that involve rotary motion around more than one joint. Key compound examples are squats, deadlifts, and overhead press.
Isolation movements have got a bum rap in recent years. These are exercises that involve rotary movement around one joint e.g. bicep preacher curls.
While the ‘compound-only’ enthusiasts talk of “working” multiple body parts in one exercise, it must be understood that this is NOT to say that each individual muscle group is worked with sufficient intensity to stimulate growth. You may be “involving” the triceps during a bench press, for example, but you will not recruit enough muscle fibers in the triceps, nor bring them to a point of failure with this movement. Pushdowns are a fantastic tricep isolation exercise.
This is why isolation exercises are a key component of any good muscle-building program. Isolation movements allow 100% recruitment of the muscle fibers in the worked – or isolated – muscle. That’s why we isolate it. You simply CANNOT stimulate fibers to grow that weren’t even recruited in the exercise, so isolation exercises are an absolute requirement for maximizing growth stimulation. There’s a good reason why all top bodybuilders use both compound and isolation exercises.
No matter what bodybuilding diet you are on, you need to eat enough to supply your body with what it needs to grow. Eat roughly 200-300 calories above maintenance level every day. The usual advice of 500 above maintenance is too much. That’s 3500 surplus calories every week. You will get fat. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to get fat to build muscle.
Go here to see exactly how many calories you need to build muscle. Get on a great bodybuilding diet to ensure that you are supplying the correct amount of calories and protein. My free GLAD diet meets all the above requirements and is perfect for bulking up.
No you don’t need astronomical amounts of protein to build muscle, but you do need more than the average guy. In this article I show the 2 best ways to find out how much protein you need to build muscle at an optimal rate. Use either of the the following 2 calculations:
Easy Way: Consume 1g of Protein Per Pound of Body Weight
Hard Way: Your Lean Mass Weight (Kg) x 2.75 = Daily Protein Requirement
Here’s a quick list of high protein foods along with their protein content in grams:
- Steak. 6 oz = 42g protein
- Chicken breast. 3.5 oz = 30g protein
- Chicken meat (cooked). 4 oz – 35g protein
- Pork chop = ~22 grams protein
- Ham. 3 oz serving = 19g protein
- Bacon. 1 slice – 3g protein
- Fish fillets or steaks. 3½ oz / 100g of cooked fish = 22g protein
- Tuna. 6 oz can = 40g protein
- Egg = 6g protein
- Milk. 1 cup = 8g protein
- Cottage cheese. 1 cup = 30g protein
- Hard cheese = ~10g protein per oz
- Natural yogurt. 1 cup = ~10g protein
- Tofu. ½ cup = 20g protein
- Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc). 1/2 cup cooked = ~7-10g protein
- Soy beans. ½ cup cooked = 14g protein
- Peanut butter. 2 Tablespoons = 8g protein
- Peanuts. ¼ cup = 9g protein
- Almonds. ¼ cup = 8g protein
- Pumpkin seeds. ¼ cup = 8g protein
- Flax seeds. ¼ cup = 8g protein
- Sunflower seeds. ¼ cup = 6g protein
To build muscle at the maximum rate you need to drink enough water. Use this formula:
Body weight (lbs) X 0.6 = Water Intake in ounces.
Remember strength can decrease by up to 15% with a drop in hydration levels of only 3%!
Not strictly a diet tip, but important! Your muscle tissue repairs itself and grows during rest periods, but sleep is more important than waking rest. Here’s why:
- The release of growth hormone reaches its peak during deep sleep
- Your metabolic rate slows which is perfect for muscle tissue repair and growth
- Increased blood flow to the muscles
In addition, studies show that those who sleep 4 or less hours per night have 60% less total testosterone and 55% less bio-available testosterone than those who sleep 8 hrs or more.
You must rest, guys. And rest well. So make a good night’s sleep a priority in your life.
All of these 12 factors are fully taken into account in THT training. Downloading THT now is the BEST move you can make in your quest to build muscle. Join 67,000 others and let today be the beginning of a new way of training which will finally bring you the results you desire. Just input your email below or at the top of this page (it’s totally free).
Get started today and feel free to connect with me on my social networks:
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Train With Intensity!
P.S. I know that putting together a diet for mass gains or getting shredded abs can be a pain in the butt, especially if you are new to this – that’s why I offer a service where I will do all the tough ground work for you.
You probably don’t know how many calories you need, or how many grams of protein, carbs or fat you need (based on your personal stats)…BUT I DO. Then I can take these numbers and create an exact meal plan for you to hit those numbers spot on! You’ll know what foods to eat and even when to eat them. All you have to do…is do it. No thinking involved. If you’d like me to take care of this for you, see the Get Me Shredded option on my Coaching Page here.
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- And this quality, inexpensive creatine ~ Mark McManus
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Great summary. Always good to read thru the basics again. It’s just too easy to get caught up in the nasty details when all you really need is the basics. Thanks!
Great Article! Very informative.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks Patrick & Blake. Building Muscle can be made needlessly complicated by some people, it’s always good for a refresher on what actually works.
Definitely touching on some stuff here that’s important.. Good article bud..
cheers Mark! love your work, you are such an inspiration!
Wow, this article is great! I really appreciate people who share their knowledge… Mark, you are my new idol! 🙂
I have just recently started bodybuilding. I started last monday. The trainer in the gym created a training plan for me which consisted of a full body workout (threadmill first (20 min) then legs/chest/biceps/triceps/abs/shoulders) for one month on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It took me 3 hours to finish everything.
Is this OK? I’m 27 years old, 5’9″ at around 150 lbs, i’m kinda thin… so my main goal is to really build some muscles..
please advise.. thanks in advance
3 hours per workout session!? Waaayyyyy to long.
Also, if your goal is to build muscle, the cardio is counter-productive, especially done BEFORE your weight-training, just mind-boggling as to why that was recommended.
Alex, I’d love to help you my friend, so first thing’s first, ditch this workout plan. Get my free book if you haven’t already.
@ Ernst. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a piece of equipment that would accommodate that. Sit-up bench’s are fairly inexpensive though.
Thank you so much for the response, Mark. It’s not so much an issue of cost as it is of space. Are the exercises performed on the sit up bench truly much more effective than just regular sit-ups or crunches performed on the ground?
Wow this article is actually making alot of sense. I guess i need to modify my regime if i want to increase my muscle bulk. Making reps in 15 is really not helping. …
What a great list! One thing that i would add is to avoid overworking a muscle, let the muscle rest for AT LEAST one day in between workouts otherwise you’re wasting your time. Mark let me know if you disagree.
@ Ivan. Thanks man.
@ Joe. I agree with that although I leave a full week between working the same muscle group
your right i tried your tips and the hypertrophy how many reps should i do artical and i made a workout useing your info and i gained 4 pounds in 1 mounth of muscle and im naturally a hard gainer so thankyou verry much
Glad I could help Nick!
Great to hear you’re finally making the gains you deserve.
hey mark … lsn man i realy need ur help .. am soo small dude i dont know what to do i play alot in the gym its not working man help me .. tell me what to do !!!
Hassan, download ‘Total Anabolism 2.0’ tomorrow October 6th, it’s all gonna be in there.
hy guy help i only gain mascels but dont have any adie how to diet
Awesome site man! im 19 and ive been working out for a few months now, got a routine going, but i dont want to lose my fitness / stamina, so i run for 15-30 mins almost 3/4 times a week is this too much to build muscle? i workout 4 times a week, Ive been doing this for about 3 months now, and been taking these products for about 2 months; Metrx Xtreme Size up before each session and MetRx Pure Creatine Caps(700mg) 3 before 3 after.. tbh, ive seen some improvement in muscle size and my weight has gone up slightly but the results arent hugely impressive :'(
i eat a fair amount of mainly meat, rice ad vegetables during the week. How can i improve?
Hi Give Me Some Exersice For My Biceps
just wanted to say thanks
you have changed my life around.
with MANS diet, i lost nearly 6 kilos of
i was once a lazy couch potato
and you motivated me to work out!
i wish you a great new year!!
keep up the good work mate!
Well, being a wrestler in the off season, I was looking for a way to build more mass. I must admit the basics that are listed are very informational, and have a great effect. I love it. The basics are the best. 🙂
Do you have any posts where you outline a workout plan of some sort?
hi mark.m following 5 day schd. guide me on my lats day cuz m nt getting enough pump with these exercises.1) chin ups 2)behind neck lateral pull down 3)t-bar 4)pull over
nd i do lower back same day- deadlift & hyper ext.
pls…suggest me best lateral exercises.
Mark, great post, A very good start for most people learning the fundamentals. With so much information floating around, people can easily go down the wrong track.
I agree no cardio if your building muscle mass, this dramatically reduces your results.
This Shit works you guys follow the steps to body building sucess!
Thanks a lot! great article, especially the rule for drinking water;-)..
That is very nice explanation! i’ll try to follow it.
Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.
hey mark, im already heavy, im lifting weights try to build muscle, should i not eat alot if im already heavy?
Hi great article I am beginner just 7 week before i start my work out i am happy about my progress three days a week i am working out Saturday leg and stomach Monday arm and Thursday chest and back .my bench press become 50 kg to 80 kg .dead lift 70 to 110kg Scot 60 to 105Kg and 45 degree leg press 160 to 250 Kg but i am unable to perform dumbel curl more then 20 kg it is not increasing .and my body weight also fixed 66 kg (145 pound)not increasing or decreasing my arm increase only 1” but i loose my body fat according to American army scale calculator 27 % to become 16.5% and my back become big according to my wife and i notice my calf muscle get major gain .but i want to increase my arm .I am 42 year old height 5’5” ,chest 39” wast 32 before 34”.i am vegetarian but now i start eating egg 6 egg a day . dry nuts.Almonds 15 Nos ,Brazil nuts 3 Nos ,hazelnut 15 etc.three times a week tuna 150 gram .in addition to my previous diet. and I am diabetic how do i increase my arm .
i am 16, we are currently doing muscle building excersises in gym, thanks to your artical i have introduced these points into my workout and seen great results, thankyou
hey mark quick question, if im doing THT working out out Monday- Friday and my diet is MANS, would it be fine for me to begin my carb up on Saturday 12pm til 9 pm sunday? thanks so much
@Jesh. No probs
Good recap article.
I think you forgot the bicep in your 5-day routine above–I know you love your cable preacher curls, so I’m sure it was an oversight!
@Doug. Well spotted, pal. I’l get that fixed shortly. Thanks
@Jason. I’m using the the Marcy MP3100. It’ll do the job but if going for a smith machine (if training alone) I’d advise you to look for one that runs on ball bearings to remove friction. Mine doesn’t, but my next machine will.
another quick question sorry, when you say to watch for smoothing out (losing definition) during the carb up on MANS do you mean that you actually lose definition while carbing up and once you see yourself losing definition during your carb up you should stop eating carbs? or do you mean over time of carbing up for more than 24 hours and actually gaining fat over time then you should reduce the amount of time you carb up? thanks again!
@jesh. The first one 😉
THANKS SO MUCH MARK YOU’RE MY HERO! sorry for being so annoying haha and by the way im almost done with TSPA! probably like 3 more weeks, turns out im someone who has to get to like 8 percent bf to see some definition on my stomach since that’s where most my fat is placed. YOU ARE A LIFE CHANGER THANK YOU!
Nice to see a true free informative article written by a real person who obviously knows his subject!
I have trained like this for the best part of 10 years – injury free.
For anyone starting out stick to these principles especially the diet and rest and you will reach any goal you set.
LOL!! There are some pretty dumb questions on here, Thanx Mark! I’ve gained 8kg’s of solid muscle in 2 years, I think that is good going for an ecto.
How critical is it to rest at 10 weeks?
Due to holidays it would be better for me to train 12 weeks, have week off, train 13 weeks have 2 weeks off – would this be ok?
Also, do i necessarily have to change rep ranges or change from 5 to 3 day training?
I kinda like the 8-12 rep range and the 5 day a week routine…….
@Vince. Good to hear 🙂
@Matt. I do that sometimes myself if I’m going to be traveling somewhere, so it’s ok. I would advise everyone to try each workout and each rep range. If you know for sure that one works best for you, then stick with it. But you won’t know for certain unless you try the others.
Another masterpiece. You sum up everything anyone should know.
I have a question, in 3-day split log for 12-8 for example, for shrug and cable crunch the range is 8-12 but for 5-day split the range is 12-15 so I am wondering if I am on 3-day split and as you mentioned before some muscle need to exercised in higher range could I go for 12-15 or should i stick to 12-15?
@soshiant. I like 12-15 reps for those exercises. All movements that involve a smaller range of motion are trained better with a higher rep range. Another example would be calf raises.
fantastic …always gives me inspiration thankyou so much
Great article Mark.
Relatively new to MuscleHack, but looking forward to catching up on some of your previous posts. Solid stuff – pun intended.
I hope you have time to answer my quick question. I’ve been a subscriber and consistent reader of yours for many years now and have followed most of your HIIT protocol. Always great stuff.
I understand you recommend either a 3 day full body or 5 day split, but how do you feel about 3 day splits (I think that’s what they’re called)? Where I’m working my whole body twice a week.
This is my routine:
Monday: Chest, shoulders, abs
Tuesday: Legs, biceps
Wednesday: Back, triceps, abs
Friday: repeat cycle
GREAT summary page. I still get other gym people ramming their ideas down my throat! Especially regarding ‘shocking’ the muscles with variation and new moves. Tell me if I’m wrong, but the only understanding I have of what ‘shocking’ the muscle might mean is that in most cases no single exercise can maximally recruit all the muscle fibers in the targeted area. So by changing an exercise (or doing more than one type) will ensure all the muscle fibers are blasted. E.G. supinated barbell curl might hit 90% of bicep muscles really well. But the other 10% need V-bar curl to really hit them.
@Robert. Well you’re working each muscle once every 5 days as opposed to twice a week. See my diagram in point 4. If you get stronger and can make progress like that, fair enough. I’ve tried it. I was actually weaker as I wasn’t fully recovered in time. It depends on how many sets you do. You’d have to reduce the sets per body part to make this work. Therefore I’d rather reduce right down to 1-2 sets per body part and train the whole body Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You can stimulate growth and still be recovered this way.
@Richard. Some exercise do recruit all fibers, especially if the load used is heavy enough. This is the reason why I recommend 2 or 3 exercises at most for body parts each training cycle. There’s no such thing as muscle confusion. I wrote about it here…
I’m a bikini athlete and I like your spin on things.The glutes are a prime focus when it comes to training for bikini..would you recommend I throw in a Glute Specific day maybe Saturday based on the 5 day split?
@brit. No you wouldn’t need a separate glute workout. Go deep on your squats or leg presses, do stiff leg deadlifts, and do leg curls and go as high at the top as possible. That’ll sort it out 😉
thank you..;) you make it sound so simple.lol My gym doesn’t have a lying leg curl machine would a seated leg curl give benefit to the glutes as well? Also,I’d prefer to have a sprint workout in there somewhere especially w/contest prep would I just tack it onto leg day? Btw..I really appreciate your prompt response!
For #4 you don’t mention how much optimal rest is needed before training the muscle group again? Is it 48, 72, 96 hours before you can train the same muscle group again? That is what people want to know….
@Ty. You should download the THT workout where it is all covered. Now, the amount of rest is relative to the amount of sets you do. If you do 1 or 2 sets to failure, you can hit the same body part every 48 hours. This is the basis for the THT 3-day full-body workout.
However, you can do more sets (about 8) per body part, which will necessitate a week between hitting the same muscle. This is the basis for the THT 5-day split routine.
That’s it in a nut shell. Best explanation on building muscle going. No bull to confuse anyone and try to sell products. Thanks for all your hard work and being willing to share w/ the rest of the world.
LOVELY stuff 🙂 Can I give some humble feedback please.
Maybe I misunderstood, but p4 – taking enough rests between sets – then talks about rest between workouts. Can I suggest a tidy up and make it clearer what that section is about OR have two sections, one for rest between sets and one for rest between workouts. Both vital!!!
Another thing to maybe consider (to complement the THT) is a section on pre-exhaustion supersets (not antagonistic). I think you are not against that, as I’ve read your delt workout touches on side delts (iso) then all delts (comp). I would love to have your seal of approval on some perfect and focused methods of doing it for each body part. Even the best people must have some lagging body parts that could be torched with this method, at the right time/place/frequency…?
I love THT, JnR . . . but for whatever reason I’ve noticed even more growth in last two weeks of doing pre-exhaustion on arms and legs.
@Geoff. Thanks for the kind comments, buddy! 😀
@Richard. Well spotted! Section 4 is about Rest Between Workouts. I’ve changed the header to reflect this.
Yes I am for the pre-exhaust technique. Though to be used sparingly. I may do an article in the future of how to implement this for all body parts.
Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.
Great article Mark. I just want to say, all you have to do is look at your(Mark’s) physique and you will see the program works. No outrageous”20lbs of muscle in 4 weeks” claims and you(Mark) don’t look like a bloated cow with a six pack guy either if you know what I mean. Ripped, lean, jacked. All the proof you need.
@Caleb. Many thanks for your comment, bud 🙂
LOL no bloated steroid muscles and distended guts at MuscleHack.
Your guides have done more for me in 1year than a lifetime of fruitless workouts going nowhere.
At 62 Iam in great shape, and am happy to continue reading/learning from your articles.
Rob (New Zealand)
@Rob. That’s fantastic to hear, buddy. Very happy for you and your results 🙂 Glad you found MuscleHack and started training correctly.