These exercises have proven to be the absolute best bodybuilding exercises you can do if you want to add slabs of hard muscle to your frame in the quickest possible time.
There’s over 100 years of evidence to support that fact, and I guarantee there isn’t one elite bodybuilder alive or dead who hasn’t used most of if not all these movements to build their championship winning physiques, be they male or female.
You’ll notice they are all compound movements, and that’s not by coincidence. Compound movements are always the route to go, because they stress the largest amount of muscle the quickest.
It’s also not coincidence that the first 3 are lower body movements. This is because the leg muscles are the largest muscles in the body. Always remember, the quickest way to get bigger is to build the biggest muscles in the body.
I’ve listed them in order of importance, because although all compound movements are terrific exercises to do (assuming you have no physical limitations), some are more terrific than others;
1/ The Dead lift
The dead lift has been used for over 100 years as a prime muscle building exercise. It stresses all the major lower body muscles and the hip muscles. It also works the back muscles very hard.
There’s more than one way of doing the dead lift, but the absolute best way is with a trap bar. This is because heavy dead lifting puts major stress on the lower body and the lower back. Most of us find that our back gets fatigued before the legs, which means it can be hard to get enough work for the legs. The trap bar takes a lot of the stress off the lower back, so you can work the legs harder.
2/ The Squat
Some trainers rate the squat above the dead lift. I’m not totally sure about that, but assuming you have no physical limitations, you should definitely do at least one or the other. It’s also important that you can do the movements in safety to avoid injury. For the squat you need either some sort of power rack in your gym, or at least 2 and better still 3 competent spotters, especially when you get to the heavier weights.
Because it’s easier to train the dead lift hard and in safety at home (no spotters or rack needed), I rate it slightly above the squat.
3/ The Leg Press
If you can’t squat or dead lift for physical reasons (eg bad back), you may be able to leg press. This is the absolute best mass builder for the lower body after the dead lift and squat. Make it a rule never to neglect leg training.
4/ The Chin
Sometimes called the upper body squat, which gives some idea of how effective it is. A terrific upper body mass builder, especially for the lat muscles.
5/ The Shrug
This builds the trapezius muscle, the big diamond shaped one in the middle of the back. This is one of the biggest muscles in the body, and the shrug is the easiest and best way to train it.
Again, use a trap bar for this exercise if you have access to one.
6/ The Bench Press
Ah, the dear old bench press. I don’t rate it as high as any of the movements above but it is a terrific upper body exercise, and most of us just love to bench. Most of us also do the bench the wrong way, in that we press from too high up on the body. The bar should be at nipple level of even an inch lower, to take strain off the shoulders.
7/ The Overhead Press
Traditional trainers rate the overhead press above the bench press. The overhead press puts less emphasis on the chest and more on the shoulders. If you do this standing up it’s called the Military Press. My preference is to do it seated with your back well supported – this makes it more of an upper body movement, and makes it harder to cheat the weight up by driving the bar up using the legs and hips.
So there’s the top seven exercises you can do to transform your body in the shortest time. Try and incorporate some of them at least, train them consistently and watch your body grow!