In a recent post I recruited some lab rats to test out an exciting new experimental bodybuilding protocol I had developed.
The initial goal was to see if I could come up with a way to gain half an inch on your arms in just 7 days! Considering most people (excluding beginners) are having a hard time achieving this amount of fat-free arm-mass in a year, this was an ambitious and exciting target to say the least!
The protocol was birthed out of around 6 months of research I had conducted from summer to winter 2009.
I knew I was onto something but needed to conduct a study of sorts to glean some real-world results.
I got the volunteers easily – thank you guys 😀 .
The protocol involved only 1 bicep & tricep workout on 1 day lasting a mere 10-15 minutes! However, volunteers were in for a hell of a 15 minutes!!
It involved no changes in supplementation and no changes in diet. The only instruction I gave was the workout itself as well as some explanatory science as to WHY I wanted them to do what I wanted them to do.
Now I am ready to report back with the results!
Was it a success? In short, Yes!
Results varied from 0.5 cm to almost a full inch in 2-6 days!
I didn’t expect everyone to gain half an inch but like I said in the previous article, we might as well shoot for the moon, if we fail we’ll at least land on a star.
But I’m sure you’ll agree that any permanent growth in such a short period of time is quite phenomenal!
So enough from me, let’s here from the guys who took part in the experiment…
Greg Magisana, Kingaroy, Queensland, Australia. GAINED 2CMs or 0.8 INCHES!
“Hello Mark. I have finished the Blast Arms Routine and I am happy to say that it has worked for myself. My arm measurements were as follows…
Before the ‘Arms Blast’ they were 34cm relaxed and 36cm flexed. It didn’t change at all until the 4th day afterwards when they seem to have grown overnight. Now the final measurement is 35cm relaxed and a huge difference flexed come to 38cm .
I thought it was a good experiment and worked very efficiently. Yes I did feel like dropping the weights during the workout but I put my mind into gear and held out till absolute failure . I can see the difference in the size and my muscle seems to be more solid/harder when flexed. Thanks again. ”
Giulio Antonio Castorina, Ancona, Italy. PEAK GAIN 1CM / 0.4 INCHES. (Was 1 CM for 5 solid days, then atrophied to 0.5cm from the 6th day forward)
“The experiment was great I felt my arms very “full” the 2 days after the routine. Anyway I believe I can have more improvements in the weeks to follow as I told you I was starting training (last week was my second after the rest) after a month’s lay off. For these reasons I couldn’t also increase the weight more which I believe would help more in future.”
TJ From South Africa. GAINED 0.5CM / 0.2 INCHES.
“Hi Mark. My arms had grown half a cm, being my peak measurement at day 4.
I was able to do the whole set for biceps and triceps, but it did push me to the max but I pushed through the burn, so it is possible. Thanx for the exercise. It is definitely worth doing. Many thanx”
Mark Held. St Louis, USA. GAINED 3/8ths INCH (just under 1/2 inch)
“The workout was fun to do, very intense on my arms, really good feeling, I am going to give it a try again in a couple of weeks when my ten week cycle comes to an end. Problem with my Wednesday measurement, I did not actually do the measurement with my arm flexed.
I will take the proper measurements this time, and will update you again.
Thursday left 15.75 | Right 16.25
Friday Left 16.25 | Right 16.5
Sat Left 16 3/8 | Rt 16 9/16
Sunday Left 16.5 | Right 16 5/8 [ed. this was 5 days after the Tuesday workout]
Monday L. 16.25 | R. 16.5″
Les. Holland, MI USA. PEAK GAIN 3/8ths INCH (just under 1/2 inch)
Following are the measurements for each day, taken around the same time. I believe I hit the workout at 100%; I was extremely sore afterwards and could barely hold up the phone that evening. It may be subjective, but I think the muscles feel harder.
Friday before – 14.25 inches
Tue before workout – 14.25
Tue after workout – 14.75
Wed – 14.5
Thu – 14.5
Fri – 14 5/8 (double checked this measurement multiple times..was hungry all day and overate quite a bit) [ed. this was 3 days after the Tuesday workout]
Sat – 14.5
Sun – 14.5
Mon – 14.5
The same ratios, but it starts at 13.75 inches
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Jonathan Baker. Salem, OH, USA. GAINED 3/8ths INCH (just under 1/2 inch)
“Before: Right (13”), Left (13”)
I actually did the workout on Monday 11/23
Peak (Sun. 11/29—6 days later): Right (13 3/8”), Left (13 1/4”)
It was a tough workout—though it only lasted 15 min. I definitely felt some muscle fatigue for the next few days (but not much soreness)… I had a harder time with the triceps and had to redo my left arm—perhaps the reason for the smaller growth. Thanks for letting me join in!”
Craig. Sydney, Australia. GAINED 1.5CMs which is OVER 1/2 an INCH!
To begin with, my measurements – were taken unflexed (sorry I had already gotten into it before I got your email about measuring them whilst flexed)
Left arm began at 29cm and finished up at 30.3cm – taken on the Monday (second last day)
Right arm began at 30cm and grew to 31.5cm – also taken on Monday. [ed. this was 6 days after the workout]
It has been a very interesting ordeal and I am surprised to see the slight amount more growth in my right arm, I found the cadence a really good way to train to failure – I was so concentrated on counting those intervals that it meant I trained to true failure because I didn’t know what rep I was on.
The static failure was REAL tough to give 100% but I definitely found it gave me a deep burn in the bicep for at least 10 minutes after I had completed the set (something not usually experienced for me)
Thank you so much for the opportunity
Mike. Texas, USA. GAINED 3/8ths INCH (just under 1/2 inch)
Ok, here are my results. This was an awesome experiment! Thanks for letting me be part of it.
Right – 14
Left – 13 5/8
My biggest measurement was on Saturday (4 days after the Tuesday workout)
Right – 14 1/4
Left – 14
I was excited to have had the results I had and was wondering if you were going to develop a full body routine using the same methods. It’s good to hear you might. What an intense workout it was, but the results spoke for themselves! Thanks again for letting me be a part.”
Mark in Cheltenham, UK. GAINED 1/2 INCH!
*** 1 day before workout L = 12.5″, R = 13″
Workout Tues 24/11/2009
*** 1 day after workout L = 12.5″, R = 13.5″
*** Sat measurement L = 13″, R = 13.5″ (peak) [ed. 5 days after the Tuesday workout)
*** Last measurement L = 13″, R = 13.5″
So I have gained 1/2 inch on both, feels about right.
I liked the workout, I workout with a workout partner who did not embrace the theory as much as I did, however I will be incorporating this protocol into my workouts. I think the general feeling was that it felt like you hadn’t been in the gym long enough to work up a sweat and feel like you’d had a proper workout, although I know that this is the point, I liked it though and would be interested to see if it works for other muscle groups.”
Shay (female). Brooklyn, NY USA. NO PERMANENT GAIN (1/8th INCH MAY HAVE BEEN TEMP. PUMP)
“Friday Arm Measurements (Before).
Left Bicep – 11 inches
Right Bicep – 11- 1/2 inches
– I had a 1/8 inch pump on Wednesday the day after the workout; this went away the following day however and did not return, measurements were the same as before the workout on all other days.
What I did notice is as follows.
– Nice tightness in biceps post workout
– Good kind of soreness overall that lasted for 2 days
– I believe if I continued to perform these exercise 2x a week, over a 4 week period I would see some real growth and change and definition in my biceps and triceps.
Wed Arm Measurements(After).
Left Bicep – 11 and 1/8 inch (This is an eighth of an inch change over the prior even 11 inches)
Right Bicep – 11 and 7/8 inches (This is an eighth of an inch change over the prior ½ an inch)”
MuscleHack Forum user ‘nedworthy’, Chester, UK. PEAK GAIN 1/4 INCH.
First off, really enjoyed the ‘blast’. I gave it everything I had. Before measurement was 16″ tensed. Peak was 16 1/4″ 3 days later. Arms have now settled at 16.1″.
No amazing results for me but some growth nonetheless!
Hope this helps. Will be keen to hear how the other guys got on.”
Ed/forum user ‘luckyyou’ (no location details). GAINED 0.2 INCHES.
“My starting measurement was 12.4 inches.
My peak measurement was 12.6 inches and this was recorded 2 days after training, through to the Monday after [ed. 6 days later]– so it stayed the same for 4 days without a further increase/decrease.”
Forum user ‘FitWithMitch’ (no location details). GAINED 1/4 INCH
“The experiment didn’t go so well for me. I measured at 13.5″ before the experiment, my peak day was 13.75” about 3 days after the workout.
The workout itself was probably one of the most painful workouts I’ve ever endured and I turned a lot of heads with my grunting, but I made it through in one piece. I couldn’t lift my arms afterward for a while though.
I made sure I kept my mass gain diet the same, and I gained about 4 lbs in the week. I also got 6-8 hours of sleep each night.”
About 10 people that signed up could not take part for one reason or another…sickness, job, other commitments etc. A few others didn’t report back at all unfortunately.
Now, I’m sure that all of you who have been training for 6 months or more can appreciate how outstanding these results are! I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out! 😀
But check this out…Apart from the great results, can you see the pattern that developed here?
You may have noticed from my work that I bang on quite a bit about the fact that “recovery comes before overcompensation”. In other words, you must leave enough time for the body to recover before it even starts to overcompensate i.e. grow larger than it was before the workout. No recovery, no growth!
Remember, the workout itself is catabolic. From the time the workout ends, the body’s anabolic machinery kicks into gear. However, you don’t grow in a matter of minutes or hours. In fact, it’s quite normal to register a decrease in muscle mass within 24-48 hours after a workout.
When you’ve recovered, you’ll come back to pre-workout size. Then NEW growth begins. I speculated (again from my research) that people could expect their peak growth around day 5 i.e. the 5th day after the workout.
Go back now and look at the bold text section of each response where the participant reveals how long it took to reach peak overcompensation.
I was so heartened to see this pattern play out in real-life because this is exactly what I had theorized would happen!
The participants experienced the following timeline over 2-6 days:
- Workout (with this unique protocol)
- Back to baseline
- New growth (overcompensation)
- Decompensation will start to take place if you leave it too long to workout again after overcompensation has taken place.
If this were a line on a graph you would start at baseline. Over the course of a few days, the line would dip below baseline then come back up and break through it to establish a new, higher baseline. From here it would slowly make a decline back downwards if the stimulus was not brought back to the muscle again (atrophy/decompensation).
From this we can then say that to truly MAXIMIZE muscle growth you must carefully assess when your individual peak growth is. THIS is when you should workout again. With this plan, you could confidently EXPECT ongoing muscle growth until such times as you reach your genetic limit.
The guys that took part in this experiment had a ‘peak growth time’ of 2 – 6 days. I expect that if this was a full-body routine the recovery-growth period would be a day or 2 longer.
And that takes me to my next point. This protocol could be (and will be) developed into a quite revolutionary full-body training program. If you can physically measure muscle growth in your arms in a few days, think of what can be done for the whole body in a few weeks and months!
Should we have to settle for 3-5lbs of muscle growth in a year?! (conventional wisdom). I don’t think so.
Should it take 20 years to reach your genetic limit?! I don’t think so.
I know a number of you were keen for me to release details of the protocol publicly but the point is that the research is ongoing and I am uncomfortable about putting my name to something I’m not 100% happy with.
However, I WILL develop something for you guys free of charge in the new year. In fact, 2010 is going to be a VERY exciting year here at MuscleHack.
I want to take this opportunity to once again thank the guys that took part in this invaluable piece of research! You have helped me, and I have helped you. A great win/win situation.
Stay Motivated My Friends!
P.S. The requests for online personal coaching have also increased in recent months. I’ve always turned this down in the past but I WILL be offering this service in 2010. I still work a day job and will need to quit in order to facilitate this coaching program. This means that I will have to charge for this service (basically I need to make as much from this as I do my job or my family will be asking questions and the bank will come and take my house, lol). Also, I can’t take too many people on at any one time or the service will become diluted and less personal. So I imagine that 25 people will be the maximum I can take on in a calendar month. If you’re interested in truly taking your results to the next level and want to get in there early, get in touch with me via the contact form just stating that you’re interested. I’ll take a note of your name and email address and get back to you when we’re ready to start igniting some new growth! The tentative start date for this is February 1st 2010 as I need time to figure out how to run and operate a secure, members-only website for us. See you there!