Want to find the best exercises for mass? Don’t worry. We’ve got them all right here. You can thank us later.
Achieving a head-turning physique is something worth working for. What we want to let you know is that there are many exercises out there that will add a lot of muscle to your frame. If you are someone who struggles to add muscle mass, these exercises must be in your training program.
Which exercises are the best?
Don’t worry. You don’t need to spend hours searching for it.
We’ve got them all right here…
The Back Squat
First, let’s start with the king of all exercises. Depending on who you ask, the back squat is arguably the best exercise when it comes to adding size and strength. The back squat is one of the most historic exercises there is.
Deadlift vs squat is often a heavy debated topic.
This exercise is seen at all levels of fitness. Squatting is something that you will see babies doing on a daily basis. If you watch a young child, you will notice that he or she has near perfect squat form. As we get older and start exercising, we start to see the results from this challenging exercise. Give this a try and we are sure you will agree with us that the barbell back squat is one of the best moves to gain the most muscle.
It’s important to invest in your squats technique and form.
The back squat targets all muscle groups. That includes everything from the quadriceps to the hamstrings, glutes, upper posterior muscles (traps, rhomboids, traps), lower back (erector spinae) and even abs. There are also other exercises that are great alternatives and will also add a lot of muscle mass to your frame. These include the box squats, barbell lunges, and front squats.
The various squat variations are great for people who are built differently from a biomechanical point of view. Some people will have greater success from a period of front squatting and lunges. If you really want to gain the most muscle while burning the most body fat, try super setting, heavy squats with high volume lunges.
Back Squat Workout For Mass
A1. Back Squats @ 65% of 1 Rep Max – X 3 Reps
A2. Walking Lunges – X 4 Minutes
A3. Rest for 90 seconds
- Repeat for 3 sets
This exercise is something that doesn’t get brought up much in a commercial gym.
Maybe it’s because many believe the deadlift is too dangerous. At least, that’s what the reputation is. Well, my friends, that is far from true. There are many people who are in their later years, still doing a deadlift variation.
Whether this exercise is implemented into your training early or late in life, you will change your overall strength and muscle mass. Just take a look on Instagram. You will see guys in their thirties and forties pulling 500 plus pounds. This exercise is also done by many of the strongest guys in the world. If you want to gain the most muscle possible, the deadlift must be in your training program.
What makes it so special?
The deadlift targets so many muscle groups you’d really be missing out if you didn’t include it. In fact, you could say that, like the back squat, it targets all muscle groups. That includes the lower back (erector spinae), glutes, upper posterior muscles (traps, rhomboids, traps), hamstrings, quadriceps, abs and the arms as a whole. For some great alternatives, you could try sumo deadlifts, good mornings and glute ham developer.
You will want to ask yourself which deadlift program is right for you.
For the deadlift, this exercise is simply a hip hinge movement. The same goes for the other three exercises that are listed as good alternatives. If you incorporate any of these four hip hinge exercises in your training program, you will notice an overall increase in your full body strength and size.
Deadlift Workout For Mass
If you really want to gain size and strength, perform this quick circuit four times over the next four weeks:
A1. Deadlift (Sumo or Conventional) @ 80% of 1 Rep Max – X 2 Reps
A2. Good Mornings X 10 Reps
A3. Rest for 1 Minute
- Repeat for 5 Sets
If you have ever wanted to have monster traps and upper back muscles, you should look into this exercise a bit more. Assuming you have access to a power clean platform, using this exercise will give you muscle gains that will make you wish you started doing it years ago.
You will have to research how to power clean.
Very similar to the back squat in terms of intensity, this exercise will help you develop full body strength and power. Having a strong, powerful body will allow you to move more weight in any exercise. Typically, being able to move more weight means larger muscles. And, like the other exercises we’ve mentioned, it targets all muscle groups. That includes the lower back (erector spinae), glutes, upper posterior muscles (traps, rhomboids, traps), hamstrings, quadriceps, abs and the forearms (arms as a whole).
Similar exercises include the hang clean and high pull. The power clean is an exercise that is usually done with more weight while using the most muscles possible. The more you can clean, the more you can squat and deadlift, so get good at this exercise.
Power Clean Workout For Mass
If you really want to gain the most muscle, you must do this exercise. Try the following for your training program:
A1: Power Clean: Reps of 2 / 2 / 2 / 1 / 1 / 1
* Work up to a 1 rep max in a workout.
* Make sure you are doing this exercise with proper technique. The better your technique, the more weight you will lift. And, needless to say, your odds of being injured will also be reduced.
Having the ability to perform a pull-up is something that many set as a not just a short-term goal, but also as a life goal.
Maybe it’s because we can all recall having such a tough time with it during gym class. But, that’s not all.
The pull-up is an exercise that can really help develop a great V-taper. If you want to wear shirts that will drape over your waist and help make you appear bigger, being able to do pull-ups is a great tool to have.
Gaining the most muscle in your back will not be possible without the pull-up. Think back to all of the blockbuster movies with Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Those guys really knew how to utilize the pull-up.
So if you can or want to smell what The Rock is cooking, you’ll start doing pull-ups.
It targets so many muscles.
The muscles it targets are the latissimus dorsi, rear deltoids, biceps, abs and forearms.
When it comes to being able to do a pull-up, you might find it to be challenging. That’s why it is okay to use the lat pulldown machine. Loading up the lat pulldown machine will undoubtedly target the same muscles with the same muscle contractions. One great thing about this machine is that you can do very slow eccentric muscle contractions on the upward phase of the pulldown. This will allow your lats to really stretch and break down. That will allow more room for muscle growth.
Back Workout For Mass
Try the following circuit for muscle growth in your back. You can thank us later.
A1: Pull-ups (wide grip) x as many reps as possible (AMRAP)
A2: 1-Arm Dumbbell Row x 10 reps
A3: Hex Bar Pulldowns x 8 (heavy reps)
A4: Straight Bar, Straight Arm Standing Pulldowns x 15 (light weight)
A5: Straight Bar Standing Pulldowns x 15 (light weight)
A6: Rest for 45 seconds
- Set a timer for 20 minutes and complete as many cycles as you can.
“Yo, bro! How much do you bench?” Everyone knows Mondays are international bench press day, right?
Well, this is a life changer for almost any male who starts lifting weights at a young age. If you are someone who just started the weightlifting journey and want to see results quickly, take on the bench press for a few weeks. Beginners can see their bench press go up 20 to 30 pounds in just a few short weeks.
Time to check out a massive chest workout.
To gain the most muscle in your upper body, you must utilize this exercise. Some people might not believe it, but if you are benching heavy, this exercise is a full body exercise in itself. It targets the pectorals (major and minor), triceps, deltoids (front), latissimus dorsi, abs (if going heavy) and quads (if going heavy).
Sometimes your gym may not have a flat barbell bench press. Don’t worry. That is okay. You can use a set of dumbbells to really target the anterior upper body muscles. But, with this exercise being a very flashy one in most commercial gyms, this could have quite the lineup. Still, you shouldn’t skip out on it.
You also must remember that push-ups should not be cast aside. If you want to have the most muscle in your chest, shoulders and triceps, the simple push-up exercise will really develop your upper body. Check out this tri-set if you want to take your chest workout to another level.
Chest Workout For Mass
A1. Flat Barbell Bench Press (or dumbbell) x 6 to 10 reps @ 65% of 1 rep max (be in control)
A2. Regular Push-ups x 6 to 10 reps
A3. Diamond Push-ups x 4 to 8 reps
A4. Wide Push-ups x 2 to 6 reps
A5. Rest for 60 seconds
- Repeat for 4 sets
You must be thinking, why is this an exercise for gaining the most muscle?
Take a look back to the days of the Golden Era of bodybuilding. If you do that you will quickly see this exercise was done by the biggest, most ripped men (and women) in the world.
The weighted sit-up doesn’t just target your abs. It will also hit your chest and shoulder muscles. The target muscles for this exercise are the abs, pectoral muscles, deltoids and hip flexors (quadriceps and inner groin).
Whether you are doing this exercise on a decline bench or from the floor, you are bound to see great results. When it comes to the target muscles, you don’t want to rely on your hip flexors to do the movement. Make it a priority to really focus on your abs. They should be doing the movement during this exercise.
A great challenge is to see if you can do 50 reps in a row with a 45-pound plate. If you can do this exercise on the floor or decline bench with a 45-pound plate, you will have a great set of abs in no time.
Weighted Situps For Mass
Try this workout today:
A1. Weighted Sit-ups w/ 45-pound plate x 10 to 50 repetitions
- Repeat for 2 to 4 sets
What is missing from this list of exercises to gain the most muscle? Well, there could be arguments made for many exercises. But, if you are looking to add the most muscle in a short period of time, staying with the exercises that are true to the past is the best way to go.
On this list, you have the big three (squat, bench and deadlift). You also have the king of all past time bodyweight exercises, the pull-up. As for power and speed, the power clean can be argued as the best exercise on this list. Yet, let’s not forget the weighted crunch exercise. With this simple, yet very effective and challenging list of exercises, you can create your own training program to help you gain the most muscle.
By Patrick Thompson, NSCA-CPT