The Smartest Way to Build Muscle, From 7 Top Scientists | Summary and Q&A

January 20, 1970
Jeremy Ethier
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The Smartest Way to Build Muscle, From 7 Top Scientists


Learn from seven muscle building scientists on the optimal exercises, volume, frequency, nutrition, and training techniques to maximize muscle gains.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How many exercises should I include in my muscle-building routine?

According to Dr. Mike Israetel, 2 to 4 exercises per muscle group per week is sufficient to maximize gains while conserving variation.

Q: What are the best exercises for each muscle group?

Dr. Mike Israetel recommends flat barbell or dumbbell presses, incline work, and flying movements for the chest; pull-ups, rows, and deadlifts for the back; bicep curls from a stretched position for biceps; overhead movements and isolation extensions for triceps; rear delt and side delt work for shoulders; and various exercises for legs.

Q: How often should I change my exercises?

Change exercises when they start causing joint pain or irritation, and if there are other good exercise alternatives available.

Q: Should I train each muscle group more than once a week?

While training a muscle group once a week is sufficient for growth, there may be a moderate benefit to training it more frequently with higher volumes of 8 to 10 sets or more per week.

Q: Should I lift heavy or focus on increasing reps for muscle growth?

It is recommended to lift moderately heavy weights in the 5 to 15 rep range for most exercises to stimulate muscle growth. Use a technique called "double progression" to increase reps before adding more weight.

Q: Should I train to failure in every set?

Training to failure can lead to more growth, but it is important to find the right balance based on individual recovery abilities. It is recommended to train 2-3 reps shy of failure for most sets, except for the last set where going to failure can be beneficial.

Q: How much muscle growth can be achieved with length and partial range of motion exercises?

Research has shown that length and partial range of motion exercises can lead to as much as 5-15% faster muscle growth when compared to full range of motion exercises.

Q: How many calories should I consume for muscle growth?

The recommended calorie surplus varies based on body fat percentage and experience level. Beginners can start with a 2% body weight gain per month, while intermediates and advanced individuals may aim for 1% or less.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Gain nearly a pound of lean mass per week by following the advice of seven muscle building scientists.

  • Optimal exercises for each muscle group suggested by Dr. Mike Israetel, including chest presses, pull-ups, bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder lateral raises, squats, and lunges.

  • Determine the right volume, frequency, and workout split for muscle growth according to Dr. Brad Schoenfeld's research.

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