Hacking strength: Gaining muscle with least resistance

Least resistance

  1. Reduce transaction costs to engaging in productive behavior
  2. Erect transaction cost to engaging counter-productive behavior
  3. Minimize opportunity cost. Do what you’re best doing, and partner with specialists when you need to do something else

Growing muscles

  1. To gain weight, you must eat more calories than you burn.
  2. When you gain weight, some will be fat and some will be muscle.
  3. To gain muscle, you must eat protein.
  4. To boost the ratio of muscle to fat gain, you must exercise.
  5. To gain muscle and strength, you must engage in resistance exercise.
  6. To prioritize strength over size gains, aim for 2-6 repetitions per exercise, where failure occurs on the last repetition.
  7. To prioritize size over strength gains, aim for 8-12 repetitions per exercise, where failure occurs on the last repetition.
  8. To maximize gains per unit of exercise, do not work the same muscle group two days in a row.

Basic Rules

  1. To continue gaining strength, you must increase resistance.
  2. To optimize strength and size gains, vary repetitions over time.
  3. To improve bodyfat percentage and gain weight, you must cycle through phases of gaining muscle and losing fat.
  4. Rest thoroughly.

Form the habit first

  • Developing an exercise habit is more important than the specific exercise you do.
  • Do it on three non-consecutive days a week for about half an hour.
  • Eat protein every meal, and before and after exercise
    • 0.8 – 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day
    • Hydrolized whey, “pre-digested.”
  • While gaining weight, I aim for about 20 sets of 8-12 reps to failure.
  • While cutting fat, I aim for about 15 sets of 4-8 reps to failure.
  • If it can handle more sets, do more sets. If you’re sore days later, do less.


  • Creatine
  • Whey Protein
  • Vitamin D

Measuring progress

  • Keep a spreadsheet to track 1, 5, 8, 10 and 12 rep maximums.
  • Record the weight at which the muscle fails for the given number of reps.
  • Track maximums to ensure progressive overload.

If you hit 12 reps, it’s time to increase the weight.

Notes from http://matt.might.net/articles/hacking-strength/

2020 © Jerico Aragon