strong man pushing big rock uphill, surreal concept

Are Feeder Workouts Legitimate or Just a Myth?

Feeder workouts have sparked discussions, among fitness enthusiasts. At glance they may seem like thinking based on instincts. However if we dig deeper we'll discover that they actually leverage established principles of bodybuilding.

Lets be clear from the start; Feeder workouts don't claim to be the solution for muscle building. They were introduced to the fitness community by someone with a controversial background. So if you're considering incorporating these workouts into your routine lets explore how they work, what their objectives are and whether they have a place in your fitness regimen.

What Are Feeder Workouts?

Feeder workouts revolve around the concept of increasing blood flow providing volume, to developed muscle groups and focusing on engaging all muscles involved in compound exercises. In theory it sounds quite promising.

Muscle growth happens through a process called hypertrophy where micro tears are created in your muscles during exercise. Your body then diligently repairs these tears over time resulting in more efficient muscle fibers. This process demands a protein intake. Requires both time and patience.

That's why your diet, exercise routine and rest days are so crucial for your fitness journey.

The key is to avoid overexertion when incorporating feeder workouts into your plan.

Feeder workouts target muscles using weights and higher repetitions in supersets. For example if your triceps are not keeping up during body sessions you would include a tricep feeder workout on another day. Similarly if your calf muscles need attention you would add feeders to your lower body routine.

These feeder sessions don't require heavyweights; think calisthenics or dumbbells ranging from five to fifteen pounds. The number of sets is also not exhaustive; you might do two sets of twenty five reps for muscles like triceps or three sets of twenty for muscle groups like quads.

What's interesting is the suggestion to stand in front of a mirror after the feeder exercises, flex the targeted muscle group, visualize its movement and interaction with muscle groups and then go to bed. This practice is believed to improve the mind muscle connection by prompting the brain to direct nutrients towards those developed muscles.

Feeder workouts challenge wisdom in various ways.

By giving your muscles a day of rest the idea is to keep them active throughout the week in order to prioritize continuous improvement, in specific muscle groups.

For example if you follow a 4 day split routine and notice that your grip strength and calf muscles are struggling to keep up you can incorporate feeder workouts like this;

  1. Day 1 Focus on pushing exercises for the body.
  2. Day 2 Engage in pulling exercises for the body along with forearm feeder exercises.
  3. Day 3 Work on quads, hamstrings and calves.
  4. Day 4 Target shoulders, traps and forearms along with calf feeder exercises.

The concept of feeder workouts as we know them today gained popularity thanks to Rich Piana. Rich Piana was a bodybuilder who achieved success as a three time National Physique Committee titleholder and Mr. California in 1989. His impressive physique even earned him some television appearances. However it's important to note that Pianas muscular development wasn't solely due to his time at the gym or his renowned feeder workouts. He openly admitted to using steroids during his prolific YouTube career starting at just 18 years old. Although he never encouraged his audience to follow the path and consistently emphasized the consequences of using steroids he eventually faced the repercussions later in life.

Setting aside the topic of steroids it is undeniable that Piana stood out in the field of bodybuilding. His unparalleled determination and unwavering dedication set him apart. His achievements were truly remarkable.

Tragically Piana passed away in 2017 following a heart attack that left his brain deprived of oxygen for thirty minutes. He spent two weeks in an induced coma to alleviate brain swelling. Unfortunately succumbed to his condition. An autopsy revealed enlargement of both his heart and liver which supposedly he was aware of. While there is no link between his death and steroid use it does cast a shadow over his accomplishments.


One man, standing outdoors by the wall alone, shirtless and very fit, shadow reflection

Firstly let's delve into what the mind muscle connection entails. It might sound reminiscent of something you'd hear in a yoga class. That's not far off. Essentially it refers to a state of mindfulness experienced during challenging exercises – akin to mastering a demanding yoga pose.

This is where feeder workouts excel.

To optimize your workout routine try incorporating repetitions of low intensity exercises followed by moments of observation, on the muscle groups you've been targeting. This approach allows you to understand the movements, interactions with muscle groups and the sensation of working those particular muscles along with increased blood flow. By dedicating focus to a muscle group you'll develop a deep understanding that will help you engage it effectively in future workouts.

It's truly remarkable how our bodies and minds can achieve things when we set our sights on a goal and execute it meticulously. Feeder workouts leverage this phenomenon to help us overcome obstacles that once seemed insurmountable.

Think of these sessions as opportunities for meditation or comprehensive lessons about how your body functions.

While some may view elements like flexing in front of a mirror and adhering to a bedtime as fanciful feel free to skip them if they seem excessive. The key components here are isolation exercises. Gaining a greater appreciation for the intricate details of your own physique.

After integrating feeder workouts into your routine you'll return to your regimen armed with insights into how certain lagging muscle groups have held you back and how best to engage them for more productive workouts.

Fueling Your Body for Effective Feeder Workouts

Feeder workouts focus on muscle building, which means it's crucial to provide your body with nourishment. We've previously discussed the process of building muscle. Without supplying your body with the building blocks progress will be limited.

This is something to watch out for when incorporating feeder workouts into your routine. While targeting areas to build muscle it's important to maintain a diet. Without protein intake feeder exercises won't yield results.

Carbohydrates are equally important. Showing up at the gym without energy for your workout isn't a test of willpower – it's also counterproductive. Your body, like any functioning machine, requires fuel to operate at its best. Neglecting this aspect can hinder your lifting capacity.

At times making informed dietary choices can be challenging especially when you're feeling low on energy after a gym session. Just as your body needs energy to function efficiently your brain also relies on it for control and critical thinking. Setting aside time to plan and prepare meals in advance can help keep you on track.

It would be a shame to miss out on the potential of feeder exercises because of an oversight, like not considering protein intake.


Incorporating feeder workouts into your routine doesn't mean eliminating rest. Rest days are just as important as days because without balance progress can stagnate quickly.

Rest days don't have to mean sitting around for 24 hours. If you want to stay active during the week, engaging in cardio is an option. Cardio exercises improve blood flow. Help you focus on breathing, ultimately benefiting your main workouts. Muscles require oxygen to perform so improving your fitness on rest days can be advantageous.

Stretching is also valuable when it comes to building muscle. Maintaining flexibility while developing muscles has benefits in aspects of life. If you find it challenging to incorporate stretching into your up routine, dedicating time for it on rest days is an alternative. Stretching enhances blood flow. Can contribute to improved muscle building and performance.


Feeder workouts are not a solution for muscle building; you cannot simply will your muscles into existence. However they can effectively increase the workload on muscle groups. Promote their growth.

Essentially feeder workouts can be advantageous, for anyone as long as you choose the areas to focus on and execute them properly. These additional exercises contribute to your strength. You'll notice the results gradually building up over time.

Feeder workouts provide an opportunity to truly understand your body's structure teaching you how to lift weights. So if you're ready for the challenge and approach it with commitment feel free to give them a shot.

James Freeman


Meet James Freeman, a California native whose passion for fitness emerged during challenging times, reshaping his life. With over two decades of coaching experience, he's not just a coach; he's a real-life example, shedding over 100 pounds in a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond his coaching career, James is passionate about inspiring at-risk youth and promoting wellness in schools. In his downtime, he enjoys swimming and cycling, connecting with nature. Join him on his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles for insights into his empowering fitness journey.