Putting on overall body mass means you'll need to work for it — nothing comes easy and when you're trying to bulk up, there are most certainly some exercises that are more effective than others. When you understand the best possible workouts for your current goals, you will maximize results.
Try These 7 Compound Exercises to Boost Muscle Mass
If you're a beginner, it's important to distinguish between a compound and isolated exercise. Basically, as the name suggests, an isolated exercise targets one key muscle group, whereas a compound exercise works multiple groups. In turn, you are able to build more mass. In order to reach your goals, building a larger, stronger body, try these seven exercises:
1 - Pull-ups
This classic exercise works your lats, biceps, shoulders, and back. No matter what your current fitness level is, pull-ups benefit everyone. All you need to do is find a bar that is safe — it needs to be able to hold your weight. Unlike a chin up, a pull-up begins with your hands facing away from you. As you grip the bar with your hands shoulder width apart, hang all the way down and then pull yourself up so that your chin is above the bar itself. After a slight pause, lower yourself slowly, all the way back down to your starting position — then go up again. If you can only do one or two at first, do them in sets, improving each and every day.
2 - Standing Barbell Military Press
Once again, this exercise focuses on your chest muscles, but will also work your shoulders, triceps, and abdomen. For this immediate exercise, you will require an E-Z curl bar. Here's how to begin:
Working your triceps and shoulders, this strength exercise requires a barbell and minimal experience. Depending on your current fitness level, choose weights appropriately. Once you have done so, grab the bar with your palms are facing forward, gripping so that your hands are wider than shoulder width apart. Keeping your wrists above your elbows, ensure that your core is tight and that you're ready to lift. As you raise the bar above your head, complete the full range of motion, pushing the bar up as high as your arms will extend. Come back down as you inhale, stopping at your collarbone — repeat.
3 - Bent Over Barbell Row
Working a wide range of muscle groups, including your middle back, lats, shoulders, and biceps, bent over rows will also require a barbell. Once again, choose weights that match your current fitness level, gripping the bar with your palms facing down. As you slightly bend your knees, bring your torso forward — making sure that your back is straight. As your torso remains stationary, breathe out and lift the barbell towards you. Your head should remain up and your elbows need to stay close to your body — only use your forearms to hold the weight. Once you have raised the bar, squeeze your back muscles and pause briefly. As you inhale, lower the bar back into starting position.
4 - Dumbbell Pullovers
This is a more intermediate exercise, working your chest, shoulder and triceps. In order to perform this exercise, you will need parallel bars — if you're a beginner, utilize a dip assist machine if available. If not, a spotter that will hold your legs is recommended. If you're more advanced, add a weight belt to challenge yourself
5 - Deadlifts
Working your hamstrings, calves, lower back, and glutes, deadlifts are essentially a lift that is performed from a standing position. Recommended for those who are at a more immediate level, you will require a barbell and an experienced spotter for safety purposes — especially if you've never tried a deadlift before. Begin by approaching the bar, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the bar, bending at the hip — your shoulder blades should protract. Take a big breath and begin to lower your hips, as you flex your knees. Your shins should contact the bar before you begin to lift the weight upward. With your back straight, use your heels to drive the weight upward — once it passes your knees, aggressively pull the bar back. This will force your shoulder blades together, before you bend your hips once again, lowering the bar to the floor. Once again, if you're a novice, do not perform this exercise without supervision
6 - Squats
Switching things up is critical when you want to achieve overall body mass. When you take advantage of squats, you work your calves, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. If you're a beginner, just start with a traditional squat, working your way up to a more advanced variation. For those who are in need of something more advanced, focus on barbell squats, increasing resistance and intensity. As you begin to descend, flex your knees — keep your head forward and your torso as upright as possible. Once your upper legs make contact with your lower legs, bring your body and barbell upwards, reversing the original motion — repeat.
7 - Barbell Lunge
Just like squats, a barbell lunge works the same muscle groups. The main muscle you'll work is your quads and since this is intended for those who are experienced, make sure you have a spotter if you're unfamiliar with the exercise itself. Regardless of your fitness level, perform this exercise inside a squat rack for elevated safety. Set your bar in a rack, so that it's just below shoulder level. Next, step under the bar and place the back of your shoulders across it. Using both arms, hold the bar and lift it off the rack, pushing with your legs as you tighten your torso. Step away from the rack, stepping forward with one leg. As you squat down through your hips, maintain an upright position with your torso. As you step forward, please ensure that your knee does not pass your toes — this places excess strain on your knee joints. Using mainly your heel, push up and go back into your starting position. Repeat — performing with the opposite leg.