8 Top Mass Building Exercises

Before we list the top 8 mass building exercises we need to emphasize that no matter what movement you do, if your objective is to put on lean mass then you need to plan ahead. Training the top 8 mass building exercises listed below without any kind of plan is just planning to fail.

Believe it or not you can gain 10lbs of good quality muscle in only 30 days, but you need a plan. The first step is to plan your nutrition correctly, which this article is not going to cover. Gaining muscle needs quality nutrition to help supply all the carbs, fats and good quality protein you need to gain an extra 2 or 3 pounds of muscle every week for a month.

The 8 movements listed below should be split into two parts. The first two weeks of your four-week muscle building program needs to be low reps with a heavy weight, doing reps of 6 to 8 in each set. If you training four times a week you then split the 8 movements below into training chest on one day, then back, then shoulders and then legs with only one or two isolation movements for triceps and biceps.

After doing 6-8 reps for two weeks you then move onto 10-12 reps for the last two weeks so that intensity is increased, designed to promote muscle growth (hypertrophy). Your overall volume should increase a bit because of the additional isolation exercises, doing compound movements before isolation movements is called pre-exhaustion that will dramatically improve intensity, if used correctly.

In conclusion, it's a good idea to switch up your training a bit on the last two weeks. For example, instead of training chest and triceps you train chest and back and then do an arm training day, or something similar. We have listed the 8 best mass building exercises below in no specific order so that you can create and design your own training routine using these movements.

1. Bench-press

The primary muscles worked are your pectorals, anterior deltoids and your triceps. For maximum stimulation you should position your torso lying prone on a bench with an arch in your lower back and ribcage pushed up high and your shoulders shrugged down and backwards.

2. D/B or Barbell pull-overs

The primary muscles worked are upper Pectorals, Lats, Teres Major and your Triceps. Whether you're targeting your chest or your lats, you need to select a weight that gives you a full and a deep stretch while you push your hips down.

3. Bent-over Barbell Rowing

The primary muscles worked are Lats, Rhomboids, Mid-Traps, Rear Delts, your Lower Back plus your Biceps, your Brachialis and your Forearms. It is recommended that you use a use a grip that is wide/overhand so that you can isolate muscles in the upper back strongly. A closer/underhand grip will target the belly of your lats, improving your V-shape.

4. Deadlift

The primary muscles worked are Lower Back, Quads, Hips, Glutes, Hams and your Upper Traps and Forearms. You should deadlift off the ground if you want to focus on improving overall strength, increase power and sports performance. You should deadlift using a Smith machine or a rack from mid-shin to around knee height if your objective is to increase muscle strength in your back.

5. Pull-ups or Chin-ups

The primary muscles worked are Lats, Rhomboids, Mid-Traps, Rear Delts and your Biceps, Brachialis and Forearms. It's a good idea to always vary your grip widths plus the angle of your torso when pulling to stimulate all the four muscle groups in the back musculature.

6. Squats

The primary muscles worked are Quads, Hams, Hips, Glutes and Lower Back. Never sacrifice your full range of motion just to increase the weight. Controlling each rep to a depth that gets your thighs parallel to the floor or a couple inches below is vitally important.

7. Seated D/B press or B/B Military press

The primary muscles worked are Shoulders, Triceps and Upper Pectorals. In order to put a greater emphasis on your anterior delts, you should press the D/B's with your palms facing. To work your anterior delts and your lateral heads, pressing the D/B's with your elbows held back so they are in line with your torso, palms facing forward.

8. Upright Rowing

The primary muscles worked are Shoulders, Traps, Biceps and your Brachialis and Forearms. Always using a wider grip than your shoulders raise the bar to nipple level. To isolate the traps put your hands closer together raising the bar to your chin.

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