With so much hyped up information and bogus “breakthrough” exercise methods popping up all the time, most lifters seem to have lost sight of the basics.
While the basics may not be as flashy and exciting as what most of the “other guys” out there promote, they’ll pack raw muscle size and strength on to your body faster than any other method you’ll come across.
In this article I am simply going to list each major muscle group on the body, along with some basic tips for building that muscle as quickly and efficiently as possible. Nothing “revolutionary” or “innovative” here… Just the bare-bones truth about building muscle fast.
Let’s get right to it…
If you want to get the most bang for your buck and develop your chest as quickly as possible, then forget about flye movements such as the pec-deck, dumbbell flyes or cable crossovers. Instead, place all of your focus on the big basic pressing exercises such as barbell presses, dumbbell presses and wide-grip dips.
If you want to include a few flye movements here and there at the end of your chest workout then that’s fine, but your primary focus should be on consistently increasing the poundage on all of your compound pressing exercises.
Use bent-legged barbell deadlifts as your primary back-developing exercise. There is simply no other lift out there that will pack more raw muscle size and strength onto your back and your entire body than the basic barbell deadlift.
It is extremely challenging and uncomfortable to perform, but the rewards are well worth it. It will work you from finger to neck to toe, and if you haven’t been deadlifting up to this point, be prepared for some serious gains once you start.
Laterals raises are fine to include to isolate the medial head of the shoulder, but the meat and potatoes of any effective shoulder training routine is based on a compound overhead press.
Either perform a standing or seated military press with a barbell, or an overhead press using dumbbells. This should be the first exercise in your shoulder routine, with side laterals being performed at the end.
The front and rear heads of the shoulder receive plenty of stimulation during your chest and back exercises and therefore do not need to be specifically isolated.
Cut down on your training volume and understand that the majority of your bicep growth is actually a product of hard and intense back training. Heavy chin-ups, pulldowns and rows all provide plenty of stimulation for the biceps, and direct curling movements are far less important than most people think.
Including a few sets of direct bicep work is still recommended, but going too far overboard can easily over train them and will actually slow down your bicep growth rather than speed it up.
The same thing goes for triceps as well. Any time you perform a compound chest pressing exercise or an overhead shoulder press, your triceps will be heavily stimulated. Because of this, performing direct tricep isolation exercises should be done so cautiously and with only a small number of sets to prevent over-working them.
Since spot reduction is impossible and you cannot target fat loss from specific areas of the body, stop placing so much emphasis on the idea of achieving “6-pack abs” through the use of direct abdominal exercises.
Attaining defined and sculpted abs is mostly a product of your bottom line body fat percentage, and has very little to do with specific training techniques. Include a few sets of direct ab work for the sake of strengthening your core and building up the abdominal muscles themselves, but performing endless sets of situps and crunches is nothing more than a waste of time.
If you aren’t performing a basic barbell squat as the cornerstone of your leg training routine, you’re missing out big time!
Squats are by far the most effective lower body exercise in existence, and by a good margin. Not only do squats provide serious stimulation for the muscles of the legs, but because they force the body to secrete greater amounts of powerful anabolic hormones (such as testosterone and growth hormone) they will increase your upper body size as well.
As the saying goes, “you ain’t squat ‘till you squat!”
Leg curls should be included in your hamstring training routine, but the real secret to a massive set of “leg biceps” is the stiff-legged deadlift.
You can perform SLDL’s using a barbell or dumbbells, and not only will they pack size onto your hamstrings faster than any other lift out there, but they will strengthen your lower back and add size to your upper back as well.
If you really want those stubborn calves to respond, then stop worrying so much about “feeling the burn”, and instead focus on truly training your calves to the point of muscular failure.
Rather than slapping on an arbitrary amount of weight and pumping out 20-30 reps until it starts to hurt, load up as much weight as you can possibly handle for 8-12 high quality reps. Execute each rep in a slow and deliberate manner, squeezing at the top and using a full range of motion until you cannot perform another rep despite your best efforts to do so.