Jeff Nippard Explains How To Train for Pure Muscle

Jeff Nippard breaks down training for pure muscle mass

Training for pure muscle mass is something that is easier said than done. A lot of people believe that doing heavy, intense training sessions like that of Mike Mentzer or Dorian Yates, then others say that higher volume is the key to training for muscle mass. Jeff Nippard recently took to YouTube to discuss the aspects of training for pure muscle mass, and it may be a little different than what you had thought it’d be.

Let’s take it down.

Who is Jeff Nippard?

jeff nippard
Image via Instagram @jeffnippard

Jeff Nippard is an all natural bodybuilder and powerlifter, meaning he has never used anabolic steroids or any other performance enhancing drugs. Despite being natural, he still sports a massive physique and demonstrates some serious work ethic. With a large following on social media, he uses his platform to promote himself and inspire others to see the gains they want most.

Full Name: Jeff Nippard

Weight Height Date Of Birth
155-165 lbs. 5’5’’ 10/06/1990
Profession Era Nationality
Bodybuilder, Powerlifter 2010 Canadian

Training for Pure Muscle

At the beginning of the video, Jeff states that he is making the video to discuss how to get bigger and stronger, and it is not mainly about strength. He lays out that he will be breaking down five crucial bodybuilding principles on how to train for muscle growth. So, let’s take a look at them.

Tension is King

Jeff nippard

The first principle he lays out is that tension is king. Tension is the force that muscles experience when they stretch and contract under load. Jeff uses the analogy of muscle fibers being like a rope during a game of tug of war, and stretching and pulling on the rope is tension. The tension on the muscle signals that it needs to grow bigger, adapting to increasing loads and tension. So, how do you maximize tension on the muscle?

Use Bodybuilding Technique

Jeff goes on to explain that to achieve maximum tension, you need to go through exercises using a specific technique that Jeff calls “bodybuilding technique”. It differs from the powerlifting technique as well as the standard lifting technique. What bodybuilding technique entails is a controlled 2-4 second negative, as he states that the negative part of a rep (eccentric) is more important than the positive part (concentric). He states that many people lift with the opposite approach.

He states that you should be more forceful and explosive on the positive, then really control the weights on the way down. Jeff states that this tension rule applies to most exercises, whether you are on a machine, using dumbbells, or using barbells

Next, Jeff states that when training for muscle mass, you need to be using a full range of motion, this is part of his bodybuilding technique. You want a deep stretch on each exercise. However, Jeff does say that partial reps can be effective when done in the stretched part of the lift, not the squeeze part. But, do not compromise your form too often to do cheat reps, as this takes away from the tension on the muscle groups, and if you are training for pure muscle you want the tension on the target muscle.


Jeff then states that you need to hit your sets hard, meaning you need to push pretty close to muscular failure for them to be effective. One way to go about this is to choose exercises that are safer to fail on, and generate less fatigue. If you choose exercises that are less costly recovery wise, you can push closer to failure in a safer manner. Jeff references a study that shows as you get closer to failure, the more muscle growth you will see. 

However, he also references a study that says muscular failure is unnecessary. So, which do you choose? What Jeff recommends when it comes to training for pure muscle is to do two or three working sets with one or two reps left in the tank, then do one last set until absolute failure. If you go to failure on every set, you’d be far too fatigued.

Give Your Muscles a Reason to Grow

jeff nippard training for pure muscle

It may sound odd, but Jeff says that you need to give your muscles a reason to grow. What this means is that if you do the same thing over and over, you will plateau. So, in order to avoid that, you should be incorporating progressive overload, where you increase variables such weights, reps, and sets gradually. One option that Jeff states you can really work to improve when it comes to training for muscle growth is the mind-muscle connection

The mind-muscle connection helps to establish a better feeling of the target muscle during exercise. While it may not be as effective as using more weight or doing more reps, research has shown that a mind-muscle connection can help when training for pure muscle. 

Choose High Tension Exercises

The last of Jeff’s bodybuilding technique principles is to choose high tension exercises. This means that sometimes choosing exercises other than the squat, deadlift, or bench press is the way to go, as you are training for hypertrophy, not strength training. Jeff states that the barbell exercises do not have the proper amount of stimulus to fatigue ratio. You want to choose exercises that maximize the amount of stimulus to each muscle, but have lower fatigue. He uses the example of the deadlift, which is very high in both stimulus and fatigue.

That being said, the standard barbell lifts and other exercises like pull ups do not provide the amount of tension that other lifts do, such as cable or machine exercises, and you want as much tension on the target muscle as possible. He uses the example of dumbbell bicep curls that have the most tension when the elbows are at just about 90 degrees, whereas with cable curls there is tension throughout the whole movement. 

Wrap Up

Overall, there is a lot more that goes into training for pure muscle than just hitting a good amount of volume with some heavy weights. Jeff Nippard has laid out five principles for training for muscle, and they make a lot of sense. 

Do you agree with these principles?

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Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.