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  • Top 5 Exercises to Help You Gain Muscle



    Gaining muscle requires specific exercises. While you can lose weight by increasing the number of calories you use up, gain flexibility by performing specific exercises, gaining muscle involves exercises where you lift weights. While there are many exercises that require you to lift weights, some are more effective in building muscle mass. To ensure that you build muscles evenly throughout your body, you need to perform a specific set of weight lifting exercises.

    Squats: These exercises are aimed at building the leg muscles. They need to be performed with care to ensure the maximum benefits. The back needs to be arched throughout, the face facing forward and up, and the legs slightly more than shoulder width apart. To do the exercise, pretend to sit on a chair and get up with the weights held in your hands. Just make sure that you do it safely and carefully since squats can cause back issues if not done properly.

    Dead Lifts: These exercises are meant to build and strengthen the back muscles. Try to do these exercises toward the end of your routine. Keep your legs shoulder width or less apart and your hands within your knees. You need to arch your back as you lift the weights to ensure that the lower back muscles get their workout.

    Bench Press: This is a marvelous exercise to build your chest muscles. However, you need to ensure that your back is pressed close to the bench. Begin with the weight lightly touching your chest and move it up until it is above your chin or mouth.

    Military Press: This is the exercise that builds shoulder muscles. Sit on the bench and keep your forearms perpendicular to the bar as you lift it above your head.

    Straight Leg Dead Lifts: This variation works the hamstrings. It is similar to the dead lift but you need to focus on pushing your butt out and bend only at the hips not your back.

    Comments 27 Comments
    1. Jeffrey Becker's Avatar
      Jeffrey Becker -
      I agree these movements, and their variations, should form the base foundation of any lifting program. The only thing I would add which I have found useful at times, are kettlebell swings and snatches.
    1. Ferdinend's Avatar
      Ferdinend -
      Hi Benjamin,
      Your post will be of great info and help for those who are trying to gain muscles and like to add besides engaging in regular workouts, eat big, eat in the middle of the night and increase your calories intake. Overload progressively, train heavy and keep a workout journal to measure your progress.
    1. ChrisPBacon's Avatar
      ChrisPBacon -
      Benjamin,

      You have two hinge movements on your list and no pulling movements.

      Remember, there are six basic compound movements to be worked.

      1. Vertical Press (overhead press variation)

      2. Horizontal Press (bench press variation)

      3. Vertical Pull (pullup, pulldown, etc.)

      4. Horizontal Pull (bent over rows, seated rows, etc.)

      5. Squat (squat variation)

      6. Hinge (deadlift, kettlebell swing, etc.)

      Of course, some movements are hybrids of several of these. Especially, the Olympic Lifts.
    1. Testoman's Avatar
      Testoman -
      Pretty good list those are all big muscles which release testosterone in the bloodstream when training. I have recently done this workout program, it's from the 40's and works like a charm!
    1. jonathanb's Avatar
      jonathanb -
      Can you get just as good ''results" with machines at the gym as opposed to free weights. I know this question has been out there and answered many times, but I'd like to get your take.
    1. jger242's Avatar
      jger242 -
      I believe that free weights are best for overall strength and muscle gains because they force us to use the stabilizer muscles. Multi joint movements (squats, bench press, dead-lift, etc) create the best overall strength and muscle mass gains.

      Machines help with isolation movements and are also good but if I had to pick one over the other I would stick to free weights.

      I use mostly free weights with limited assistance exercises on machines.

      The best advice is to:

      1) have good consistent form
      2) do not overtrain
      3) consume protein within 30 minutes post training
      4) be consistent in training and lifestyle(sleep, diet, etc)
      5) enjoy training and its benefits
    1. Nelson Vergel's Avatar
      Nelson Vergel -
      Free weights are also the number one source of injury. I hardly use them. I focus on cable and other machines as I grow older. Luckily, I have not injured myself in 30 years. I see guys doing free weights during the first 6 months at the gym and injuring themselves. This gets them out of the game.

      Free weights should be used by people who know what they are doing and are strict with their form. Not for beginners. My two cents.
    1. White Menace's Avatar
      White Menace -
      Id Skip out Normal Deadlifts for Barbell Rows
      Squats and rows will strengthen the lower back enough, to me, deadlift is more a Power and strength movement to help strengthen the core and lift alot.

      I'm not a fan of the Military press, Got better results with Upright rows, but both are just as bad for shoulders as each other, in terms of risk.
    1. GlennMarsh's Avatar
      GlennMarsh -
      Great read having much ideas to gain muscles easily,.,.
      I love bench press and dead-lifts i thinks 5 sets of chest bench press is too much to gain chest size if you increases weight on every set,.
    1. GlennMarsh's Avatar
      GlennMarsh -
      Quote Originally Posted by GlennMarsh View Post
      Great read having much ideas to gain muscles easily,.,.
      I love bench press and dead-lifts i thinks 5 sets of chest bench press is too much to gain chest size if you increases weight on every set,.
      What is your routine,.?
    1. nufal's Avatar
      nufal -
      I am quite agree with your point of view. the exercises which you are mentioned no doubt those are all time best but you didn't mention any diet plan as far as i think proper diet is equally important as workout
      Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin View Post
      Squats
      Dead Lifts
      Bench Press
      Military Press
      Straight Leg Dead Lifts
    1. Vince's Avatar
      Vince -
      I'm a big believer in squats, going low, using the hamstrings and no bounce.
    1. halimiro01's Avatar
      halimiro01 -
      The best advice is to:

      1) have good consistent form
      2) do not overtrain
      3) consume protein within 30 minutes post training
      4) be consistent in training and lifestyle(sleep, diet, etc)
      5) enjoy training and its benefits
    1. BuzzzardMarinePumper's Avatar
      BuzzzardMarinePumper -
      What thoughts do you have to older men using lighter weights and higher reps to prevent injury ?

      Additionally if you read many today dated reads on Nutrition you will read to ingest a mid level carb pre and post Work out ( small amounts of an apple , small bowl of pasta a small bowl of rice ) and the thoughts behind this is to give delayed but readily available source of card energy during training and a source for muscles to have slow release of energy to help repair muscles when sleeping and muscle rejuvenation ?

      Please by all means share your opinion on this nutrition ingestion routine ?
    1. croaker24's Avatar
      croaker24 -
      Quote Originally Posted by BuzzzardMarinePumper View Post
      What thoughts do you have to older men using lighter weights and higher reps to prevent injury ?
      This. I want to get stronger, but I do not want to bulk up and look like a Hulk Hogan because I prefer to do sports such as golf which relies on flexibility and some strength. I do stretches and balancing exercises in the morning for about 25 minutes daily, intense 20 minute cardio sessions every day except one, using interval methods. Then 3 days a week I do fundamental stuff like push-ups, and rubber bands; the other 3 days some basic abs stuff.
    1. Nelson Vergel's Avatar
      Nelson Vergel -
      I have had back surgery, quad surgery and hand surgery (all unrelated to the gym). I use machines and cables and stay pretty pumped. As we get older, heavy weights can only increase injury and wear and tear.

      Follow this thread and you will see my exercise videos in the second post:

      Exercise videos: Click on the body part you want to exercise

    1. hemantlatawa's Avatar
      hemantlatawa -
      Here are tips as well as exercises to help you gain muscle:

      Chest Pump
      Arm Pump
      Over extension Kickback

      Bench Dip
      Supinating Dumbbell Curl
      Ab Pump
      Modified Bicycle Kick
      Reverse Crunch
      Roll-up

      Warm Up
      Work harder, but shorter
      Work your whole body
      Limit your cardio training
      Get your rest
      Lower your stress levels
      Target your pecs with chest exercises
      Target your triceps with arm exercises
      Target your biceps with arm exercises
      Work your quads and hamstrings with squats
      Target your abdominal muscles with crunches and core exercises
    1. Loki's Avatar
      Loki -
      For me it is all about timing of what I work... The order is critical to me... 6 Day per week program.

      Day 1- Chest (pre exhaust Triceps and Shoulders)
      Day 2- Biceps- Most say it is to small to work by itself but it has worked well for me
      Day 3- Shoulders- Lead off with a step incline (safer than overhead and hits chest)
      Day 4- Triceps- 2 Days of separation from chest
      Day 5- Legs- I hit all major lifts except DL
      Day 6- Back- Almost every exercise also pre exhaust my biceps hence the separation. Plus I do Dead Lifts w/back
      Day 7- Rest

      I use a combo of Bar, dumbbells and machines.. Trying to hit 16-20 sets... When I pyramid it's usually 12,10,8,6... I also do a lot of supersets, strip sets and burn outs.... I start out heavy and pyramid and finish with the higher reps sets.... Everything I do is raw... With this type of training I can still (at my age) do 225 for 45-50 reps....

      My 2 cents....
    1. Nelson Vergel's Avatar
      Nelson Vergel -
      I work out my entire body every other day and use moderate weight (mostly machines and cables) since back, guad and hand surgeries (unrelated to working out) in the past few years. I think I am the biggest I have been even with TRT+ HCG and moderate weight settings. My friends think I am lying.
    1. ERO's Avatar
      ERO -
      Nice! I wish that my body had the ability to recover from exercise well enough to do that. Even when I was 18 I could never train a body part more than once a week and hope for it to recover before the next workout. Now that I am on TRT and had hoped that my ability or speed at which I recover from a workout and get stronger would have improved, but I have found that it has not. And yes, I am getting plenty of protein, good macros, good sleep...its just not something my body seems to be able to do. I am not an Ectomorph, never have been, but my body thinks it is...