T Nation

Site Specific Growth


I'm not entirely sure how to phrase this, but basically I'd like to know the deal with site specific growth.

What I mean is, if you do incline bench, can you 'bring up' your upper chest? If you do a specific type of bicep curl (can't recall the name) can you develop a peak in your biceps? (this sort of thing)

Can you do this sort of site specific growth, or is it genetics that make the determination?

I've read some conflicting stuff on this and quite a bit of bro-science. I'm interested in the scientific as well as the anecdotal.


Yes, different exercises can target different heads of a muscle. A great series of articles done by Bret Conteras goes through many exercises with EMG's attached to show the different activation levels.

However bicep peak is mostly genetic.


you can make a muscle bigger but shape and insertions are all genetic.


imo, if you geuinely have an underdeveloped muscle then it can definitely be brought up...

but the way your muscles are shaped is purely genetic...i had a peaked bicep even before i started lifting weights...

i don't think doing concentration curls is going to give you a peak...it may give you a better contraction which may lead to your bicep getting bigger overall...

edit - you guys basically said what i wanted to say lol


While you guys are correct, don't you believe that as you hypertrophy and hyperplasia the muscle a bicep's peak, a triceps horse shoe, etc can be "molded" somewhat? You cannot change insertions, but can you not effect the shape?


no amount of lifting will change the shape of a muscle. obviously as it gets bigger the shape becomes more pronounced. everything just gets larger and is easier to see. if you have a full bicep with no peak it's just going to be a bigger bicep with no peak.


look at this pic of yates...looks the same except a lot bigger...

there are ton of examples like this...


this might be a good read for you:



True... All you can do is make bigger what you have... You can stress different heads of a muscle to various degrees, easier with those which have very different functions from others or originate/connect at different places... Say, long head of the triceps, the deltoid heads and so on...
But you can't actually change the shape of an individual head (like meat said, long and flat biceps stay long and flat no matter how big. You can bring up the brachialis to push them up a little in some poses, but that still won't change the shape or length of your bicep heads and won't give you a peak like Arnold's...)


i will say one thing tho...

if you don't take a muscle through it's full rom with resistance throughout the entire range than some muscle fibers will not fire...

for ex in BB curl there is only resistance for 1/2 the movement really and you are not taking the bicep through its full range...plus most people suck at recruiting their biceps in this exercise...

so finishing off with cable curls or concentration curls will get the fibers that were not previously hit from bb curls...