When it comes to building muscles, there’s an infinite number of exercises and variations out there that will help you achieve your goals in gaining muscle mass and improving your physique. But let’s be honest, no one has the time to go through all of them or even implement the ones we might like to get through during our limited time at the gym. Since most of us are working around busy schedules, finding the most efficient exercises according to our goals can make our lives a whole lot easier. That’s why we’ve created this article listing the best compound exercises (exercises that use more than one muscle group) so that you can build muscle mass in the most efficient way possible.
Exercise 1 – Squat
If you’re not squatting regularly, you better get started right away. No one wants to have an out of balanced body with a big, bulky upper half and thin chicken legs. Squats are a great compound movement that engage around 67% of your total muscle mass, making it not just a powerful leg workout, but also a great all-rounder. This exercise also has the potential to improve muscles not directly involved in the squat.
Exercise 2 – Deadlift
Deadlifts are definitely claiming one of the top spots on our list and are, along with the squat, our favorite muscle building movements. The deadlift is, like with the squat, a great compound movement and targets up to 20 different muscles at once, when performed correctly.
This exercise targets the whole posterior chain of muscles from your calves up to your upper back, including your hamstrings and glutes. Since both the deadlift and the squat are movements that use heavy weights and your lower back, you want to make sure you keep an accurate form throughout the exercise and follow through completely. If you haven’t had any previous guidance performing these, a personal trainer could be the perfect way to make sure you are getting the gains you are looking for. Personal trainers can also help to ensure you avoid injury as injuries relating to your lower back can have severe repercussions.
Exercise 3 – Bench-Press
There is nothing like a good old fashioned bench-press which remains a favourite among many and for good reason. This exercise earns the number three spot on our list due to its capability in increasing both chest and triceps size.
Whilst performing the bench-press, aim to incorporate dumbbells and free weights as much as possible, rather than using a machine. This will add a challenge in stabilizing these weights, integrating both smaller muscles around your pecs and triceps as well as your shoulder muscles.
Exercise 4 – Pull-Ups
The pull-up is another great exercise when it comes to gaining muscle in your back and achieving a V-shaped torso. This exercise will definitely be a great friend to anyone who’s dedicated to improving their physique. The pull-up engages almost all of your upper-back as well as your biceps, shoulders, traps and forearms. Your core will also be working to stabilize your body throughout the movement.
Although it can be a difficult exercise to perform with high repetitions in the same way as the bench-press, getting a tailored pull-up routine from an online personal trainer can help you to achieve a minimum of 10 reps within 4-8 weeks. This will of course vary depending on your current fitness level.
Exercise 5 – Rows / Bent Over Rows
This is a great movement for adding bulk to your back and is also a crucial exercise to incorporate into your routine if you’re already performing bench-presses on a regular basis. If you focus on bench presses more than the horizontal row, you’ll likely develop muscle imbalances and symmetry deficiencies which can lead to injury.
There’s an array of variations for executing the row exercise and as alternate angles will target different parts of your back, the best versions for muscle growth are bent barbell rows. In order to promote maximum growth and to avoid injuries, ensure your lower back is straight, fully extend your arms and bring the weight close to your chest.
Exercise 6 – Dips
The king of triceps exercises claims the sixth and final spot on our list today. The dip delivers both great mass and strength to your upper body with a particular focus on your triceps as well as your chest. Bodyweight dips will also improve your bench-press form due to its multi-joint nature. When you perform a dip, the repetition will not be complete until your elbows lockout. Those final few inches of the rep can be the most difficult part, and will transfer directly to the lockout phase of the bench-press.