No matter what your fitness goals may be, gaining muscle mass is something everyone should be focusing on. There—we said it! The truth is, you won’t gain muscle mass if you don’t do certain exercises. Why are they so important? Well, they’ll help you burn fat, maintain a high metabolism, improve your sports performance, and keep you feeling healthier overall. Ready to start your journey? Here’s exactly how to gain muscle mass through five exercises that get the job done efficiently.
If you’re looking to build muscle mass, I recommend starting off with full-body workouts and prioritizing mostly compound movements. They recruit the most muscle fibers and are the best use of your time and effort. You want to perform an exercise from each of the major movement patterns: push, pull, squat, hinge, and single-leg. After you’ve finished those exercises, then you can finish off with single-joint movements such as training your arms, shoulders, and calves.
Looking to gain muscle mass and haven’t had much luck in your fitness journey? Then add the following exercises to your routine. You’ll be impressed with your results! Aim for three to four sets of the following:
Begin this first exercise by lying on an incline bench with a dumbbell in both hands. Hold the weights over your body with your arms fully extended. Pull your shoulder blades back and down into the bench as you lower the dumbbells to your chest. Get a solid chest stretch at the bottom of the movement, then press the weights back up to the starting position, squeezing your upper pecs and triceps. Complete three to four sets of eight to 10 reps.
Start off this exercise with one hand and knee firmly planted on a workout bench. Hold a dumbbell with your opposite, non-bench hand, extending that arm down toward the floor. Pull the dumbbell up to your hip, squeezing your lats and upper back at the end of the motion. Then, straighten your arm back down toward the floor, getting a solid stretch at the bottom. Complete three to four sets of eight to 10 reps on each arm.
For the barbell front squat, stand underneath a barbell so that it’s on the front of your shoulders. Place your fingers on the bar outside shoulder-width, pointing your elbows forward. Un-rack the barbell, step back, and squat down, transitioning your weight onto your heels. Next, push yourself back up, flexing your glutes and quads. Complete three to four sets of six to eight reps.
To set up for this exercise, grab a barbell, and position it in front of your body. Keeping your chest tall and knees soft, hinge your hips back while dragging the barbell down your thigh. Once you feel you’re getting a solid hamstring stretch in, drive your hips forward, squeezing your glutes to finish. Complete three to four sets of 10 reps.
This final exercise calls for two dumbbells—one in each hand. Next, take a big step back with one leg. Plant that heel on the ground, then lower your body into a lunge until your back knee graces the floor. Gain momentum by pushing through with your front leg to come back up. Perform three to four sets of 10 reps.
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.