To scuplt an eye-popping upper body, like top IFBB figure pro Nicole Wilkins, consider seven to be your lucky number. That’s the key behind the FST-7 program, developed by Wilkins’ trainer, Hany Rambod, to help create sleek muscles—not big and bulky ones. FST stands for “fascia stretch training,” and the seven refers to the seven sets performed at either the beginning or end of a workout that’s targeting a specific body part.

“Heavy weights build thickness and density but can also create bulk,” says Rambod. “[FST-7] adds clear definition to each muscle group by engaging the deep muscle fascia, so muscles get a fuller, more rounded appearance.”

For proof this training method works, look no further than Wilkins, who has been training with Rambod since early 2013.

“Incorporating FST-7 has helped increase the intensity of my workouts and bring up lagging muscle groups,” says Wilkins. She especially likes the technique for her upper body. “It helps me improve the roundness of my shoulders, particularly the rear delts, and the shape and definition of my triceps.” 

For some attention-grabbing arms and shoulders of your own, follow Wilkins’ favorite workout on these pages. Start by getting clear on the technique then pick up your weights and get pumping. 

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Fast Facts About FST-7: Hany Rambod has been using the FST-7 method for more than 10 years, with top male bodybuilders like Jay Cutler and Phil Heath, as well asfemale competitors like Wilkins and Amanda Latona.

What it does: Using heavier weights for your first few sets of each body part builds muscle. Adding an FST-7 set targets deep fascia surrounding muscle. “As you pump up the muscle, a little blood escapes, similar to the way air escapes from a balloon when you take a breath,” explains Rambod. “By taking a short break between sets, you increase the volumeexponentially rather than allowing the pump to subside.” That triggers a growth response for better muscle definition.

How to do it: Keep it light. Stick with 12 to 15 reps, max, and don’t rest for more than 30 seconds between each of the seven sets. (For the remainder of the workout, rest 45 seconds between sets.) Don’t do FST-7 more than three to four days a week. “It’s intense, and you need time to recover,” says Rambod. Avoid doing FST-7 with more than one body part at a time, and do no more than two muscle groups per workout.

When to use it: You can use FST-7 as a finishing move of a targeted body part (like Wilkins does here for shoulders) to fully overload the muscle. Or do it at the beginning of a set (see what Wilkins does for triceps) to set the tone, increase blood flow, and improve the mind-muscle connection.

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