Science is great and all, but it’s not always responsible for getting you jacked out of your mind. Too many people care too much about science, but building muscle isn’t always correlated with science. There are trainers that’ll tell you everything done has to be scientific or else you’re wasting your time. These trainers are usually on the smaller and weaker side of life.
While I pride myself on basing my principles on science as well, what I end up using with clients to get jacked is what works best for them regardless of what the research says. Sometimes their program will be based completely opposite of what’s agreed to be optimal. Over the years of getting skinny guys bigger, I’ve found a few techniques that will help you build more muscle than ever that aren’t the most scientific if you will.
These techniques shouldn’t be used every day, but I’ve seen them do magical things when used on occasion. They are unconventional, a bit extreme, and some might even label as complete bro-science. Call it what you want, but these techniques will pack on slabs of sweet muscle regardless of what the nerdy research says.
Some techniques that go against research will still work because we need to keep in mind science can be:
- Inconclusive: Not all research comes to a definitive answer
- Conflicting: There are so many conflicting topics in this industry from back squats vs front squats all the way down to organic vs conventional foods
- Incomplete: Science can draw conclusions that shouldn’t have been concluded when newer research reveals hiccups. This happens all the time
- Boring: Sometimes the best techniques aren’t fun and there’s no point in getting jacked if it’s not fun
Here are some of the most meathead saturated techniques I’ve seen successfully add some extra cuts of meat on people. They are not for the weak at heart, but if done successfully will unleash your inner bro that has been suppressed for far too long.
Running the Rack
This is a deeply old-school technique often used in high school football. It entails the task of doing bicep curls with a certain weight for high reps and then proceeding to grab a pair of dumbbells 5lb lighter. You repeat until you’ve completed the whole rack like a boss.
I’ve always known about this technique watching the football players in high school do it with such intense agony on their faces. I always thought it was way to meatheaddy to produce anything substantial.
That is until one day, I was training my client Kyle who’s arms needed a little more work. I thought it would just be a fun way to end the workout, so I assigned running the rack for the first time ever in my training life on the spot. Boy was his pump gnarly. His veins were pulsing out of his arms like never before.
Kyle’s face was gasping for relief, but afterwards, he told me it was fun and strangely wants to include them more often. We began to implement it every 7-14 days and his arms blew up like a hot air balloon.
I began implementing it in my own training and was shocked that this meathead technique was so powerful. It requires little thinking and deeply unleashes your inner bro.
Start with the highest weight that you can do for 8-15 reps. Curl for 10 reps or till failure. Then repeat with 5lbs lighter until you’ve run the entire rack. Your arms will grow, your body will hurt, and sleeves will be on the brink of tearing.
My favorite exercise for running the rack has always been bicep curls, but they also work great for skull crushers, floor presses, shoulder presses, and lateral raises. Always do them at the end of a workout to maximize efficiency.
Ridiculously High Volume Workouts
Before I became a trainer and was fed calculated information from fitness managers, my bros and I would see some of our biggest growth from ridiculously high volume workouts. While the frequency we chose for these workouts was beyond idiotic, they can still be useful on occasion to spark growth or fill in holes in your training.
Progressive overload is great and getting stronger will build muscle, but as your base of strength gets more developed, volume becomes even more important especially for lagging body parts. That’s why volume also needs to be prioritized.
For these ridiculously high volume workouts, every exercise we would do sets of 8 with increasing weight until we could no longer do sets of 8. We would then go to sets of 6 until we could no longer do them. The last exercise was a finisher till failure because that made us feel way tougher than we actually were. Regardless I’ll still incorporate these high volume workouts on rare occasion to get more growth going.
Here’s a sample leg workout we would do:
A1. Back squat
C1. Leg Press
C2. Hamstring Curl Machine
D1. Leg Extension
E1. Weighted sit-ups
F1. Calf raises or Walking Lunges till failure
This monstrous amount of volume is definitely excessive if done frequently, but you’d be surprised how much your body will grow. Again do these on rare occasions as the volume is high and the workouts are dreadfully long. A good time to do them is before a long lazy vacation filled with food.
The Till Failure Workout
If you’re an absolute glutton for pain, then this technique will be your new best friend. It’s deeply simple, choose 5 exercises, do 2 warm-up sets, then proceed to do 1 vicious working set till failure.
Here’s a sample workout that will leave your body begging for mercy:
A1. Bench press 1 x till failure
A2. Back squat 1 x till failure
A3. Pull-up 1 x till failure
A4. DB hip thrust 1 x till failure
A5. Preacher curl 1 x till failure
The 2 warm-up sets are to ensure you don’t injure yourself as well as prepare you to handle fairly heavy weight in your 1 working set. With that being said this technique should still use a weight that’s light enough to get at least 12 reps.
In doing so, you will increase time under tension, increase work capacity, and skyrocket mental toughness through the roofs. Going to failure is also a great way to achieve amounts of volume in just 1 set. You’ll know you’re doing it right if you feel massive devastation succumb your muscles.
I recommend including this technique every 2-3 weeks. You can even do them once a week if you’re not used to chasing the pump to spark some new growth. More frequent than once a week might put you in the hospital, so experiment with care. These workouts are also a great time to train with your fellow bros to strengthen any existing bromance.
Conventional wisdom always tells you that it’s wise to pair exercises that work different muscles like a bench press and a row, for example. The theory is that there’s no point in pairing 2 exercises back to back with little rest that trains the same muscles.
This is why traditional supersets never pair 2 presses together or 2 curls together. Compound sets completely slap science in the face by doing just that and I must say I think they’re quite effective to target certain movements or muscles.
A compound set is simply a superset, but rather than pair together opposing exercises, you pair together 2 exercises that attack the same muscle group.
Nerds will say compound sets are dumb because they take more time and don’t allow for recovery within the same muscle.
But I would argue compound sets could potentially save more time by providing more stress, therefore, resulting in less total work needed. And while compound sets don’t provide ample recovery, I would argue that this is exactly what makes compound sets so effective. When the same muscle is forced to contract again after being fatigue it sparks a truckload of metabolic stress and muscle damage which are 2 out of the 3 muscle building mechanisms.
Compound sets also provide different angles to ensure no strand of fiber gets untrained which is one huge superior factor over traditional supersets.
Here are some of the most effective compound sets I’ve found:
- Bench press with Close grip bench press
- Pull-up with Lat Pulldown
- Strict EZ bar bicep curl with DB hammer curl
- Front Squat with Leg press
- Weighted sit-ups with plank
These will get a lot of volume going in a short amount of time. Compound sets could actually be done fairly frequent especially for lagging body parts.
I began using this technique when one day I finished deadlifting and thought, “Man, I sure would love to do isolation work for my entire body, but I’m pretty short on time.”
I thought well machines take practically no setup, are great at isolating body parts, and there’s a machine for every single body part. The meathead idea of doing a machine circuit was born and I couldn’t be happier.
It’s as simple as it sounds. Start from one machine and move to the next after doing one vicious set of 10-15 reps. It’s a great way to target lots of muscles, but give them the individual isolation they need in a short amount of time.
You’ll find your muscles burning hotter than Carrie Underwood and surprisingly your heart rate will be pounding. Who would’ve ever thought you could get your cardio in from the shoulder press machine?
Overtime your recovery rates will get better as you do them more often.
You might not enjoy the pain these circuits give off 1 minute into the circuit, but you will definitely love the amount of time it will save you. Finishing one full machine circuit might be faster than waiting for the new guy taking selfies on the preacher curls.
After you’ve experienced a few machine circuits, to progress, either aim to decrease time transitioning between machines or progressively add weight until you’ve maxed out on all the machines like a boss. Either way, massive muscle growth is inevitable.
Bro-Science Is Still Science
Look the foundational pieces of training are based on science and rightfully should be, but that doesn’t mean science is flawless. There are a wide variety of techniques that have stood the test of time by bros who swear on their left bicep vein.
These techniques might not be smart to do every day, but can be the missing component you need to get more slabs of muscle on your chest or arms. I’ve seen the power of these results myself and don’t mind preaching them without official research. After all, Bro-Science still has the word science in its name, right?