1 Exercise You MUST Do To Build Muscle And Look Like A Gladiator


weight gain exercise

This is a guest post from my buddy Jason Ferruggia.  

Jason is very well known for his ability to take skinny guys and slap on slabs of muscle.  He’s currently having a 50% off sale until Wednesday, March 31st on his new product Triple Threat Muscle

When people ask me how to gain weight the first thing I ask them is if how to do deadlifts. If you are trying to get big but aren’t including deadlifts in your program you are simply wasting your time. There is simply no more effective exercise than the deadlift, even deadlift vs squat.

Weight Gain Exercise…

From your neck to your calves, nearly every muscle in your body gets activated and receives a powerful growth stimulus from deadlifts

Not only is the deadlift the most effective mass building exercise there is but it is also the most basic and has the greatest carryover to the real world. There aren’t many times in life where you would lie down on your back and press a weight overhead like you would during a bench press.

But hardly a day goes by when you don’t bend down and pick something up off the floor. And that is what you do when you deadlift. So it trains you for real life situations and helps to prevent the oh-so-common lower back problems that plague hundreds of thousands of adults

But the bottom line for all skinny guys and aspiring mass monsters is that if you want to know how to gain weight, you gotta learn how to deadlift

Although the deadlift works the entire body from head to toe, it is especially effective at building huge traps, upper back muscles, spinal erectors, glutes, hamstrings, and forearms. Plenty of puffed up bodybuilders have the big pecs and biceps but a dead lifter stands out from the crowd, looking powerful and intimidating with the mountainous traps and thick, ruggedly muscled upper and lower back.

To perform a proper deadlift, stand directly over the bar with your shins nearly touching it and feet approximately 8-14 inches apart. Squat down by breaking at the hips and pushing your glutes back. Keep your back tightly arched, chest up and head in line with your spine.

Your upper body should be at a 45-degree angle in relation to the ground. (NOTE from Vic: Me and Jason differ on this part, I keep my back at less than a 45-degree angle) Grab the bar with a vice grip and begin to pull up and back. As the bar passes your knees, drive your hips forward powerfully, push your chest out and pull your shoulders back to lockout the weight

When you lower the weight, be sure to begin by pushing your glutes back before you squat down. After the bar clears you knees, squat down while maintaining a tight arch in your lower back, allow the weights to touch the floor and repeat

Remember- a lot of deadlifts lead to huge, muscular physiques. If there was only one thing I could teach you about how to gain weight that would be it. Now get to the gym and start pulling some big weights.

Thanks to Vic for letting me guest post today!

– Jason Ferruggia

P.S. – If you want a proven plan for building muscle and looking like a modern day gladiator, then check out Jason’s new program Triple Threat Muscle.  If you hurry, you can pick it up at 50% off!  I believe the 50% off deal ends Wednesday night.

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1 Exercise You MUST Do To Build Muscle And Look Like A Gladiator
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Gym Junkies
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  1. I have added the deadlift to my routine, but I dont think I’m doing it right. For a guy my size, I should be able to do a lot more weight than I am doing without it hurting my back. Any recommendations?

    • It always comes down to checking the technique. If the “hurt” on your back is muscle soreness, your body will eventually adapt. But if the hurt is an injury, you must avoid the deadlift until healed.

  2. great workout with it & always gets the heart racing.
    i’m doing stronglifts 5×5 & deaflifts are only used every other workout & only 5 reps at that.
    I’d def like to move it up to a 3×5….just need to order more liquid chalk 🙂

    • Yeah, stronglifts rocks, I’ve altered it slightly to change workout b to include 5*5 deadlifts with less squats. Only bad thing is my hands are ripped to shreds by the bar! Chalk for me too methinks.

  3. Very humbly speaking, I think I have no problem doing deadlifts (but the above precisions are useful). All I have to focus on, for now, is increasing the weight (almost to the point of failure?).

    Vic, you already told me on this blog never to stop doing squats (or almost never).

    Is it the same thing here? In Wikipedia, I think they suggest a couple of variations. What do you think?

    I’m always afraid I’ll get bored and blasé 😉

    • Throwing in a variation now and again is fine, as long as you always return to the basic movement. I will occasionally do suitcase deadlifts and you will often see powerlifters doing the sumo deadlift. Also many people prefer the trap bar for deadlifts instead of the straight bar. As long as your technique is solid on the basic deadlift, experimenting with the other varieties may provide some benefit.

  4. Back in the late 80’s, 20 reps to stimulate Gh was popular, but I couldn’t do squats due to no squat rack. However, I did have a SoloFlex, and I was able to do deadlifts. I would do 3 sets of 8 HEAVY reps. Then, my last set was a set of 20 reps using the same weight. Whatever it took to get out 20 reps.

    Things have changed over the last 20 years, but my love for the deadlift never has.

  5. Hey, I started doing deadlifts this past October. I am 6’2″ tall, 192lbs in weight and 32 years old. What should I expect to be lifting? My 1rm is 345. I started at 205. The way I workout the deadlifts is by rotating them with back squats every other day. So i may deadlift once a week or twice depending on the week. My workout with deadlifts is 5×205, 5×255, 5×255, 5×305, and then try a one rep max. My goal is to lift 400lbs by the end of 2010.
    1. Does this sound like a good workout plan to increase the weight i want to reach 8 months from now?
    2. Does 345lbs sound reasonable or wimpy for my experience and height/weight?

    • You may want to experiment with rotating your five rep set workouts with 3 rep set workouts and even an occasional one rep set workout. It basically comes down to testing and tracking.

      345lbs is a reasonable weight for your experience for sure. Your next goal should be to deadlift double your bodyweight. From there your 400lbs goal will be within reach. Good luck!

  6. RIGHT ON!

    If there was one exercise that, if I had no choice but to pick one, it would be the deadlift.

    Mass builder, fat burner and all around badass lift. Everything stems from the deadlift. Like you said from your “calves to your neck.”

    The deadlift should be the foundation, or what I like to call the “heartbeat” of your workout program.

    I like to vary my rep range pending my goals.

    Thanks for posting this up! Awesome!

    • Great point about varying the rep range depending on your goals. One of my favorite brutal fat burning workouts is 10 deadlifts followed by 20 burpees repeated 4 times. The deadlift truly is an all purpose movement.

  7. I’m a 5’5”, 130lb woman. I don’t have a good idea what a reasonable starting point for me to be able to deadlift is. At the gym today I was able to do 90lbs, and it was challenging, but since it’s an exercise that is relatively new to me I’m not sure how fast I should be increasing the weight that I do. Advice?

    • Assuming your technique is clean. . . you should try to increase the weight each session. That’s a very general response. But small improvements in each session, whether that’s another rep or another 5 pounds on the bar, are what you should be shooting for.


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