In a previous article, I listed some basic
compound that are essential for building
Here they are again:
- Bench Presses (works the chest, shoulders,
- Overhead Presses (shoulders, triceps)
- Pull-ups/Barbell Rows (back, biceps)
- Squats (legs, lower back)
- Deadlifts (legs, back, shoulders)
- Bar Dips (shoulders, chest, arms)
There are endless variations of these exercises,
and all will build mass as long as you train heavy and lift with proper
form. Unfortunately, many people will think that by simply lifting as
much as possible, they will grow. This increase in weight is usually accompanied
by bad exercise form. Anyone can lift more weight by cheating, but that's
not helping. More weight and bad form does not equal more muscle, it equals
injuries and wasted time! Only more weight and proper form equals more
muscle stimulation and growth. If you can't do the reps with proper form,
then decrease the weight and do them right!
My favorite overall mass builders are Squats
and Deadlifts. Unfortunately, these are the least performed and most misunderstood
exercises. Many believe that they are bad for your knees or back, which
is of course not true. In fact, squats will help to strengthen your knees
and deadlifts will help to strengthen your lower back if done correctly.
That's the key. Proper form is required, or you WILL get injured. Whether
you use these exercises or not, is your choice, but without them, you
are limiting your potential progress, as they are proven mass builders.
Below I will describe the correct way to perform these movements, but
if you are still unsure, it's best to start out with very light weight
until the exercise feels comfortable and you are able to do the exercise
Much of the negative comments about deadlifts
are also due to ignorance and people using bad form. It simply involves
squatting down, picking up the barbell on the floor in front of you, and
standing straight up with it.
Start with a weighted barbell that is resting
on the floor, or an elevated platform. Next, step up to the bar and assume
a narrower than shoulder width stance with your toes pointed slightly
outward. Get your shins as close to the bar as possible (this gives you
more leverage and makes sure that you are lifting straight up). Now grab
the bar with an overhand grip. But remember you are not lifting with your
arms, just holding the bar with them.
Keeping your shoulders back, chest out,
head forward and back slightly arched, stand straight up with the bar
while you exhale. Keep the bar as close to your body as possible. As you
rise, straighten your knees and hip simultaneously. Once at the top, do
not arch your back! You should pause, take another breath, and slowly
lower the weight in the same manner, while exhaling. Once the weight lightly
touches the floor, you will begin the next rep. Never slam the weight
on the floor!
When starting out doing deadlifts, concentrate
on form and use lighter weights and high reps until your lower back and
shoulder muscles have developed enough for heavier weights. You may also
have trouble using heavier weights until you develop sufficient grip strength.
sure you are warmed up and loose before performing this exercise. Concentrate
on stretching your groin, hips, hamstrings and quads.