When it comes to training for growth, we’re sure everyone has his own favorite routine that is guaranteed to deliver some great results. Determining the best training method is one of the top priorities of anyone looking to pack on some serious mass and with such a wide range of different programs available, choosing the right one can be a rather tricky journey. That being said, some exercises are better than others, and some are simply essential when it comes to continually reaping huge mass gains. There is a good reason why some movements such as the squat, deadlift, bench press and shoulder press are considered all-time classics which are better suited for maximizing your gains than assistance lifts and isolation exercises. But if you were to choose only one exercise per body part that you would keep performing for the rest of your life, how would the list look like?
If you’re having second thoughts, we’re here to help with our own list of ultimate muscle building exercises for each body part that you’d be a fool to ditch, no matter if you’re a rookie in the weight room or a seasoned lifter.
Chest: Bench Press
The bench press is the king of upper body exercises because it offers the perfect opportunity to progressively overload your pecs while decently hitting the front delts and triceps as well. Besides being highly effective for both building mass and increasing pushing strength and upper body power, regularly performing the bench press can improve bone mass and density, enhance muscular endurance and stimulate better anabolic environment for overall growth, as long as it’s performed with proper form and technique!
Lower Back: Conventional Deadlifts
The deadlift works more muscles than any other exercise on the planet (including the squat) and it’s another quintessential weightlifting exercises that can help you build a great amount of mass in all parts of the back including the spinal erectors, lats, traps and core, while also contributing to immense overall functional strength gains. If you’re hoping to build your dream physique any time soon, don’t give up on this one.
Lats: Barbell Bent-over Row
This exercises will powerfully hit your lats, rhombs, serratus, rear delts and traps and can help you increase width and thickness in the back more than any other exercise. Moreover, performing barbell bent-over rows will help you increase the explosiveness of your movements and your overall upper body pulling strength in a short period of time. Want to upgrade your back routine and maximize your potential for growth? Make this one a staple.
Anterior Deltoids – Overhead Press
Nowadays, this fundamental muscle-building exercise doesn’t get the attention it used to get during the golden era of bodybuilding, and we believe that’s a shame. The overhead press lets you move serious weight around and build size in every muscle in the upper body, especially the anterior delts. This cornerstone exercise helped many bodybuilding legends sculpt their impressive physiques, so it should be good enough for you too.
Lateral Deltoids – Lateral Raises
If you’re looking to build some broad, thick, 3D shoulders, you need to make sure to hit both anterior and lateral delts, as well as the supraspinatus and trapezius muscles. How? Perform lateral raises on each and every shoulder workout.
Posterior Deltoids – Rear Delt Dumbbell Flyes
Having well-developed shoulders means having thick and strong rear delts to complete the look. Is your rear delts development lagging while the rest of your shoulder muscles are huge? Don’t be that guy. Hit the gym and train your posterior delts with the rear delt dumbbell fly to fix this issue.
Quads: Back Squat
Squats are incredibly versatile and offer more benefits than any other exercise on the planet, including creating optimal anabolic environment for better overall growth. Obviously, they can help you build big and strong leg muscles, especially quads and hams, but they will also strengthen your abs, obliques and multifidus. If your core is weak or your quads aren’t where they should be, add more back squats to your routine.
Hamstring – Straight Leg Deadlifts
The straight leg deadlift is the biggest move ever invented for build thick and shredded hamstrings. This movement is definitely not an easy one to master, but we guarantee that it will force you to reach your full bodybuilding potential in less time than you think. Needless to say, it will also greatly improve your overall performance in the weight room. Make sure to wear wrist straps and a belt to minimize your risk of injury.
Triceps – Close Grip Bench Press
If you have to choose one single triceps exercise, make sure it’s the close grip bench press. Why? Because this old-school triceps mass builder allows you to safely handle the heaviest loads, offers multiple biomechanical advantages that translate to greater growth, it effectively works your chest and front delts and finally, it doesn’t place undue pressure on your elbows. Oh, and did we mention that it allows you to use a lot more weight than if you were doing some triceps isolation exercise?
Biceps – Preacher Curl
If it seems like your biceps simply refuse to grow, forget all other bicep movements and focus on training them with preacher curls. The superiority of this exercise can be best seen in its ability to activate the biceps 100% without any shoulder or triceps involvement. Additionally, the preacher curl will give you a better contraction and an improved range of motion, resulting with more muscle growth.
Abs – Rope Crunches
If you’re looking to improve your core strength and sculpt your abs, look no further. Not only are abdominal rope/cable crunches fantastic for strengthening the abs and all surrounding core muscles, they also allow you to generate variable resistance to further boost muscle growth. The list of targeted muscles includes the abs, obliques, serratus, lower back muscles and all other muscles that help stabilize your spine. Needless to say, improved core strength translates to improved performance in all of your major lifts.
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If your goal is to build a well-balanced physique graced with a high level of functional strength and sculpted, tight muscles, these exercises should never leave your list of mass-building staples. Stay lean and keep on pumping!