The Most Difficult Muscle to Build, Ranked

Choose the muscle you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Jun 22, 2024 06:32
Building muscle is a journey marked by personal effort and biological variability. Some muscles are notoriously stubborn, resisting growth despite diligent effort and targeted exercises. For gym enthusiasts, knowing which muscles are particularly tricky can help in adjusting their training regimens and setting realistic goals. By participating in this live vote, users contribute to a collective understanding, helping to highlight these challenging areas based on wide experiences and diverse workout routines. This up-to-date ranking not only provides insight for newcomers but also serves seasoned athletes seeking to optimize their workout strategies.

What Is the Most Difficult Muscle to Build?

  1. 1


    The gluteal muscles can be tough to build because they require targeted exercises beyond typical lower body workouts to effectively stimulate growth.
    • Muscle Group: Buttocks
  2. 2


    Hamstrings are often overlooked and can be challenging to develop due to their role in compound movements and the difficulty in isolating them.
    • Muscle Group: Upper Leg
  3. 3


    While not the hardest, biceps can be challenging to grow bigger due to their small size and the tendency to plateau in strength and size gains.
    • Muscle Group: Upper Arm
  4. 4


    The abdominal muscles can be difficult to build and reveal due to factors like diet, genetics, and the need for a comprehensive workout approach.
    • Muscle Group: Core
  5. 5

    Calf Muscles

    The calf muscles are notoriously difficult to grow, largely due to their muscle fiber composition and frequent use, which makes them resistant to hypertrophy.
    • Muscle Group: Lower Leg
  6. 6

    Lower Back

    The lower back muscles are difficult to build because they require careful training to avoid injury, and they're often neglected in favor of more visible muscles.
    • Muscle Group: Back
  7. 7


    Deltoids can be difficult to develop due to their complex structure and the need for varied exercises to target each section.
    • Muscle Group: Shoulders
  8. 8


    The trapezius muscles can be hard to build because they require specific exercises to target all parts of the muscle effectively.
    • Muscle Group: Upper Back/Neck
  9. 9

    Forearm Muscles

    Forearm muscles can be tough to build because they are used often throughout the day for various tasks, making them stubborn to growth.
    • Muscle Group: Forearms
  10. 10


    The quadriceps are a large muscle group that can be hard to build due to the need for heavy lifting and the risk of imbalance with the hamstrings.
    • Muscle Group: Front of the thigh

Missing your favorite muscle?

Error: Failed to render graph
No discussion started, be the first!

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult muscle to build. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or muscle is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 35 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each muscle once every 24 hours. The rank of each muscle is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


Additional Information

More about the Most Difficult Muscle to Build

Rank #1 for the most difficult muscle to build: Glutes (Source)
Building muscle takes time and effort. Some muscles, however, are harder to develop than others. These muscles require special attention and consistent training. Many factors contribute to the difficulty of building these muscles.

Genetics play a key role. Some people have a natural advantage. Their bodies respond well to exercise. Others have to work harder to see the same results. This difference can be frustrating, but it is important to stay committed.

Age also affects muscle growth. Younger people tend to build muscle more easily. As we age, our bodies change. Muscle growth slows down. Recovery takes longer. This does not mean older people cannot build muscle. It just means they need to be more patient and persistent.

Diet is crucial. Muscles need protein to grow. Without enough protein, progress will be slow. Carbohydrates and fats also provide energy. A balanced diet supports muscle growth. Hydration is important too. Water helps transport nutrients to muscles. It also aids in recovery.

Training methods matter. These muscles need a mix of exercises. Compound movements work best. They engage multiple muscle groups. Isolation exercises target specific muscles. Both types of exercises are necessary. Consistency is key. Regular workouts lead to better results.

Rest is often overlooked. Muscles grow during rest, not during workouts. Overtraining can hinder progress. It can also lead to injuries. Proper sleep is essential. It allows the body to repair and grow muscle tissue.

Form and technique are important. Poor form can lead to injuries. It can also make exercises less effective. Learning the correct way to perform exercises is crucial. This ensures that the target muscles are engaged.

Progressive overload is a useful principle. It involves gradually increasing the weight or resistance. This challenges the muscles. It forces them to adapt and grow. Without progressive overload, muscles may plateau.

Patience is vital. Building these muscles takes time. Results will not appear overnight. It is important to stay motivated. Setting realistic goals can help. Tracking progress can also provide encouragement.

Supplements can aid muscle growth. Protein powders, creatine, and other supplements can be beneficial. However, they should not replace a balanced diet. They should be used to complement it.

Stretching and flexibility exercises are often ignored. They can improve muscle function. They can also prevent injuries. Incorporating stretching into a routine can aid in muscle growth.

Mental strength is just as important as physical strength. Staying focused and disciplined is crucial. It is easy to get discouraged. Maintaining a positive mindset can make a big difference.

Support from others can be helpful. Working out with a friend or a group can provide motivation. It can also make workouts more enjoyable. Sharing experiences and tips can lead to better results.

In conclusion, building these muscles is challenging. It requires a combination of factors. Genetics, age, diet, training, rest, form, progressive overload, patience, supplements, stretching, mental strength, and support all play a role. With dedication and the right approach, progress is achievable.

Share this article