Odds are, you’ve never heard of FST-7. But after reading this post, I guarantee you’ll want to try it out.
FST-7 was created by Hany Rambod. He’s a celebrity in the world of bodybuilding for his ability to create professional bodybuilders- one of which being the current Mr Olympia, Phil Heath (who, mind you, gained an additional 16 pounds of muscle after incorporating FST-7 into his workouts). FST-7 (Fascia Stretch Training, and the 7 is for the 7 sets of an exercise you do at the end of a workout in order to accomplish the fascial stretching) is a training method designed to stretch and grow the fascia surrounding the muscle. The theory is that by growing tlhe fascia, you create the ability to grow the muscle as well. Weak, small fascia supports weak, small muscle. If you have small fascia, you can’t have large muscle, it won’t support it.
But first, what is fascia? Fasciae are similar to ligaments and tendons as they are all made of collagen except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, tendons join muscle to bone, and fasciae surround muscles or other structures. The idea behind this method, which has been used for several years exclusively with Hany’s athletes and has only recently been made available to the wider public, is to stretch the fascial layer to capacity to allow for greater muscle growth. This method works for every level of fitness from the beginner, to the highly advanced (when Phil Heath, Mr Olympia, indtroduced FST-7 into his workouts, he gained a staggering 16 pounds of muscle).
In Rambod’s own words:
FST-7 training is a two-tier training system. The first principle of the system is that a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle, so we say that you will still have to maintain a certain minimal strength level and will need to gain strength as you try to get bigger.
The second theory revolves more around the fascia itself and the belief that the way to expand this fascia is through a high volume of sets, hence the seven sets, and pumping as much nutrient-rich blood into the muscle bellies to help expand the fascia, all with a minimal amount of rest in between the sets (30 to 45 seconds) after you have done your base sets comprising heavier movements.
The heavier movements can consist anywhere from one to three sets. For some of my clients we do high intensity style training, maybe only one working set. Sometimes they will do two or three working sets. But those are the base exercises, the first two or three exercises before the FST-7 exercise.
The last set is all about volume. That doesn’t mean you go so light that it is all about the pump; you still use a good amount of weight where you are going to be able to feel the eight to 12 reps, and sometimes as high as 15 (reps).
You are not going so light where all you are doing is just getting fatigued. You are still going to failure somewhat, but you are doing it not so light where you stop and go, ‘well I could have probably done ten more reps.’ You are going pretty close to failure at the 12-to-15-rep mark.
I did an FST-7 routine about a year-and-a-half ago for several months, and absolutely loved it. It’s certainly worth a try. Try it out by throwing in 7 sets at the end of your workout by following the rules above, and let me know what you think after trying it!
– The Squad
EDITORS NOTE: Several people have said that this was in some way confusing and not clear on what you do for an FST-7 routine. In simple terms, at the end of your workout, do an exercise that hits the same muscle. Do 7 sets, with 8-15 reps per set, with only 30-45 seconds of rest between each set.