Episode 119. How to Build a Great Physique

Sep 3, 2018 | 0 comments

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Show Notes

What’s the best training strategy to build a bigger, more muscular physique?

Recent research supports what Scott learned and preached in the real world of bodybuilding: training for strength isn’t the quickest path to a more muscular physique.


Physique development and strength aren’t the same thing

  • Popular gym dogma says that training heavy is the way to build a better body, but recent research says it’s not about how much weight is on the bar.
  • A 2016 study found that the amount lifted per rep doesn’t muscle size or—surprisingly—develop strength.

    “…contradicting dogma, …the relative load lifted per repetition does not determine skeletal muscle hypertrophy or, for the most part, strength development.”
    – Morton et al, Journal of Applied Physiology

  • Current recommendations that suggest “heavy resistance training with relatively heavy load is a prerequisite for maximizing hypertrophy” isn’t supported by long-term studies.
  • Results from a 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggest that more sets may result in greater muscle hypertrophy.
  • These studies support Scott’s statement, “train for development and strength will come.”
  • High reps, lighter weights, doesn’t mean training easy.
    is the common underlying factor when it comes to muscle development.
  • The muscles work the weights, the weights don’t work the muscles.
  • Higher reps were a central principle during the golden age of bodybuilding. The late French bodybuilder Serge Nubret—as seen in the documentary Pumping Iron—seldom trained with fewer than 15 reps per set, often repping 20 or higher.
  • Scott covers these concepts in The Abel Approach, The Hardgainer Solution and his FREE course Innervation Training.


Morton RW et al. “Neither load nor systemic hormones determine resistance training-mediated hypertrophy or strength gains in resistance-trained young men.” J Appl Physiol (1985). 2016 Jul 1; 121(1): 129–138. Published online 2016 May 12. doi:  10.1152/japplphysiol.00154.2016

Mitchell CJ, et al. “Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men.” J Appl Physiol (2012) 113: 71–77, 2012.

Schoenfeld BJ, et al. “Muscular adaptations in low- versus high-load resistance training: a meta-analysis.” Eur J Sport Sci 16: 1–10, 2014.

Burd NA et al. “Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men.” PLoS One 5: e12033, 2010.


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