The Best Exercises For Big Muscles
Want a bigger body? It really isn’t any more complicated than this. Pick any number of moves below to add to your current workout or download the poster and perform the entire 8-move workout three times a week with at least a day of rest between each session. In 28 days you’ll be a bigger man!
Dumbbell Clean and Press
Muscles grow because of a combination of load and time under tension. By starting each rep with the weights at your sides and then lifting them to your shoulders, you effectively double the amount of time your arm, shoulder and upper-back muscles spend working.
We’ve often said that if a move is worth doing, it’s worth doing in every workout. The squat is the most important exercise for building mass.
Straight-Leg Dead Lift
You’ll do this just after squats to give your hamstrings an extra stimulus. I call it a “tonic” exercise rather than a training movement because I’m looking for a specific effect in one set of muscles.
Five years ago, we would have listed the barbell bent-over row rather than the chest-supported row. Done correctly, it’s a marvellous exercise. Done the way you often see people do it in the gym, it strains the lower back. Rowing with your chest against a bench removes the risk to your lower back.
The pull-up is a double-duty move: a great lat builder and perhaps the best ab exercise we know. We’ve yet to find someone who can do more than 20 pull-ups who can’t also dominate any test of abdominal strength.
Barbell Bench Press
Together, the clean and press and bench press provide all the work you need for your chest, shoulders and triceps.
Many experts have abandoned the barbell curl because they think it’s an “isolation” exercise. But we see the strict curl (elbows aligned with the torso, no rocking, back straight) as a window into an athlete’s overall strength.
We hate being asked what the best movement is for size and strength. But the answer is the farmer’s walk. Put half of your body weight in each hand and take some steps; every centimetre of your body will have an opinion about what you just did.