If you often find yourself asking “what are the best ways to build muscle and gain weight, naturally in the gym”, you need not look any farther than compound lifts. Compound lifts, or multi-joint lifts, are weightlifting exercises that force you to use more than one muscle group, preferably 3 or more. The answer is simple, and real, but because the market has been saturated with so many different supplements or “advanced exercises” (including the newest machines), often times compound lifts are overlooked as phased out, old exercises that have been replaced. Bodybuilding’s greats thankfully disagree – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, Frank Zane, and Jay Cutler all have used compound lifts throughout their history of training because they have been proven time after time to work.
Too many times do I see curious skinny gym members look over at the “gym buff” doing some funky exercise upside down on an exercise ball with one leg up flailing a pair of light dumbbells around thinking that if they learned how to perform that exercise they can look like him. Forget about it. Whether it works for him or not is irrelevant, the bottom line is that this type of exercise or anything like it will NOT work for hardgainers.Basic or compound exercises allow you to lift more weight, and the heavier weight, the bigger you can be. With that in mind, what are compound exercises and which are the best for maximum muscle mass?
- Squats (quads, hamstrings, calves, core, back)
- Deadlifts (hamstrings, quads, traps, lower back, forearms, core)
- Bench Press (chest, triceps, back, shoulders, core)
- Shoulder Press or Military Press (shoulders, triceps, core)
- Bent-Over Rows (back, lats, biceps)
- Pull-Ups (back, biceps, lats)
- Bar Dips (chest, triceps, shoulders)
Try starting your workouts out with one of these exercises first, before you do any other exercises for that same muscle. This will ensure you exert most of your energy into the most important exercises, the ones that will be most responsible for your growth. Remember, to get the most of your compound lifts, lift heavy with lower repetitions. This will ensure that you gain as much strength as possible while developing the maximum amount of muscle.
If you haven’t tried any of them before, than make sure you check in with a certified fitness instructor. They’re tough, they’re demanding, they take sweat and grit and everything you got. Turn your ordinary workouts into something extraordinary: incorporate compound lifts and watch your strength and size explode!