What Are the Hardest Muscles to Build?

What Are the Hardest Muscles to Build?

Do some of your muscle groups seem harder to grow than others? That's perfectly normal, and a direct result of genetic factors influencing your gains!

That said, if you ask around your gym, you'll find there are some muscles that most people struggle with. There are a myriad of reasons why these muscles are hard to grow, from a lack of reps to poor workout form.

So, what are the hardest muscles to build? Read on to find out and learn more about how you should work them out!


There are very few people who don't struggle to strengthen their calves. This is because calves are among the most heavily used muscle groups.

See, we use calf muscles for walking and running all the time. As a result, they'll receive enough growth to deal with this daily load. Further muscle growth (also known as hypertrophy) then becomes challenging.

This daily load also builds endurance, which makes calves inefficient. Over time, calves develop slow-twitch fibers, which account for half the muscles. These fibers help reduce fatigue, but make calves harder to grow.

To work out your calves, add calf raises to your training regimen. Make sure to do them slowly enough and stand all the way up. Once you feel you're ready, start increasing the volume and frequency of these sessions.


Along with your back and hips, abs are part of your core muscles. They're not hard to isolate and develop, but actual growth can be a hassle.

The main factor in ab growth is your body fat percentage. This area of your body stores a decent chunk of your fat, making abs less visible. Even if you perform 50 crunches a day, high body fat will negate most gains.

The first part of the solution is simple: pay more attention to your nutrition. Enhance your diet with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and tea. For more efficient fat loss, invest in the right supplements.

When it comes to muscle building tips, targeting helps a lot. Use different exercises for lower abs, upper abs, and obliques. The best exercises include:

  • Leg raises for lower abs
  • Weighted crunch for upper abs
  • Russian twists and side-bends for obliques
  • Compound exercises


Other than glutes, hamstrings are the most powerful muscles in the body. We use them to walk, squat, climb stairs, and do many other leg movements.

Despite their potential, many people don't give their hamstrings the attention they deserve. Since hamstrings are powerful, they need a lot of stimulation to grow. Using proper form is also key to building muscle in hamstrings.

The best hamstring exercises involve compound movements. Common examples include lunges, deadlifts, and back squats. The straight-leg deadlift is perfect as it trains the hamstring through a full range of motions.

You should also add some isolation movements targeting the hamstrings. Leg and hamstring curls are solid options here. For best results, combine low reps and heavy weights with high reps and light weights.


A good way to think of forearms is that they do the same for arms as calves do for legs. They consist of three main muscle groups:

  • Forearm flexors: They move the bones of the arm in the vertical plane
  • Wrist flexors: They help with wrist movement
  • Brachioradialis: They flex the forearm at the elbow.

Like calves, we use forearms for a variety of everyday activities. As such, they contain many slow-twitch muscle fibers, making growth difficult. To build your forearms faster, consider switching to a high-protein diet.

One of the best tips for working out forearms is to do them at the right time. If you're doing a lot of compound work, for instance, leave the forearm building for the end of the workout.

The ideal forearm exercises are seated wrist curls. They stretch out your forearm muscles while making them work through a deep range of motion. Both overhand and underhand wrist curls are solid choices here.


Your shoulder muscles or the delts consist of rear, front, and side delts. Like hamstrings, delts don't get nearly as much attention as they deserve.

Even if you give your delts some love, you need to show restraint. Many people try to lift more than they should, which compromises their form. If you arch your back, for example, it's harder to activate the side delts.

As for how to get stronger shoulders, we have three words for you: standing dumbbell press. A seated press may allow you to lift more weight, but it's not as good at providing stability and strengthening your core.

The key to doing a standing dumbbell press is to use a full range of motion. For starters, bend your elbows to 90 degrees while raising the dumbbells. When you drive the dumbbells up, extend the elbows to the full 180 degrees.


Like abs, biceps are among the most sought-after muscle groups. If you're not sure how to grow them, though, you could be wasting a lot of effort.

The big issue with bicep growth is accounting for all the different movements. Many people can't hit all the muscles or focus on hitting a single muscle section. As always, the solution is to take it slow and balance things out.

First, limit the number of curls to avoid overtraining your biceps. Try not to go over eight sets that consist of 5 to 12 repetitions. Make sure to give your biceps 72 hours of rest in between sessions as well.

To stimulate your biceps more effectively, include some compound pulling exercises. Row variations and banded pull-downs are both great for this purpose. They also allow you to work other muscles at the same time.

These Are the Hardest Muscles to Build

The bottom line: there are plenty of muscles that deserve your attention. The best approach to building them is to work on your overall routine. The above guide shows you how to get started with targeting the entire body.

Now that you know all about the hardest muscles to build, it's time to start working them out! To make things a little easier, check out our Fat Free PM supplement that helps you burn fat while you sleep!

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