The qualifying criterion used in this article is the stimulation of the muscle mass. Without doubt, most of the guys slaving in the gym want to get bigger and stronger. In fact, the bodybuilding discipline itself is about getting bigger.
Now, before we get into any details, I want to tell you the basic principles of building bigger and better physique. First of all, there is no magic formula for achieving this goal, you will have to train like a beast to become a beast. Plus, you have to place special emphasis on a proper nutrition plan that could fuel your work in the gym and you will definitely need enough rest. If you don’t follow these ground rules, there is no workout in this world that could assist you in getting bigger.
Once you have got the fundamental things correct, you can focus on the other things that will help you gain maximum mass possible. And, these excellent exercises can help you stimulate the most number of muscles, which in turn will help you achieve great mass gain results.
When it comes to building great all-round exercise, there is one exercise that stands head and shoulders above all and that is heavy deadlifts. Now, many will argue that the squats are the best compound exercise and they are right. But, when it comes to creating all round physique, the deadlifts are better option because the squats work and engage mostly lower body muscles. However, the deadlifts work virtually every muscle with special emphasis on the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus and majority of back muscles as well as the forearms.
Along with improving muscle size and strength, the deadlifts also give a major boost to the production of testosterone and growth hormones. As the deadlifts and other compound lifts engage several muscles at the same time to lift heavier weights, it triggers stress response in the body as the energy demand for the physical exertion is unusual and huge. This stress response triggers the increased production of testosterone to give an extra boost to accomplish the task.
To reap the immense benefits of the heavy deadlift, you have to ensure that you are doing it with the right form. The right form will not only help in maximizing your gains, but will also ensure that you are safe from any injury.
The deadlifts are a common exercise, so there is no need to get into stepwise details about the execution of the exercise. If you have some doubts on how to do this exercise perfectly, refer to the video placed below this segment. However, there are certain common mistakes that you have to be especially careful about.
- Your shins should be as vertical as possible. Avoid angling your shins forward, because this would turn it into squat form. When your shins are too far forward, you can’t effectively and efficiently engage the glutes and hamstrings, which are the main targeted muscles for the exercise.
- Remember deadlifts aren’t squats. So, don’t use the same hip movement for the both. For deadlifts, you have to hinge the exercise movement at the hips. You don’t have to move your hips up and down as in squats.
- Last is arguably the worst mistake you can make while doing heavy deadlifts. And, that mistake is rounding your back. The rounded back can open you up to potential spinal injuries and lower back pulls and sprains. You have to keep a neutral spine throughout the exercise as it internally absorbs the strain of the exercise and protects your back.
Also known as 20 rep squats, they are a brutal and challenging form of the traditional squats. It is arguably the most exhausting and demanding workout routine, you will do in your life. But, trust me, the results would be amazing. The idea is to do 20 full squats in the workout. You might think that it doesn’t seem that challenging. However, the catch is that you have to use weight that normally allows you do 15 squats only. So, the last five reps would be nothing short of torture, you will have to take more rest between the repetitions and will have to take assistance of the spotter to complete single set.
Like deadlifts, the squats are very demanding exercise. It engages and uses all lower body muscles to complete the exercise movement. The employment of so many muscles at the same time places lot of strain on the body and creates stress on the central nervous system. And, as discussed earlier, this forces brain to increase the production of testosterone and growth hormone to cope with the immense demands. So, the key to stimulating the most muscle gain is placing immense stress on the central nervous system. And, the breathing squats are very effective in creating stress overload that sends your central nervous system into frenzy.
However, you have to be very careful about the exercise form in this variation of the squats. The failure to adhere to the right form can have serious repercussions, even far serious than there can be for regular squats. First of all, you have to ensure that weight isn’t too heavy. Yes, it has to be heavy enough to tax your muscles, but lifting it shouldn’t force your body to make big compromises on the exercise form. Also, never attempt to do the breathing squats without a power rack or safety pins. The regular squat mistakes should be avoided as well.
- Don’t do half squats. To reap the full benefits of the squats, you have to do complete range of motion, which means you have to lower your hips until top of your thighs are parallel to the ground. Squatting too deep for the breathing squats isn’t good idea either.
- Allowing knees to go too far ahead of the toes. This would put too much strain on your knees and could lead to serious knee injuries. Also, you won’t be able to lift heavy enough weight, if you don’t have strain placed at muscles.
- Lastly, don’t round your back. Keep your back straight and core tightly squeezed throughout the exercise. As said earlier, rounding your back while doing heavy lifts can lead to long term back problems.
Due to the unique mechanics of the movement, the weighted dips deliver excellent upper body mass and strength gains. This excellent exercise works your chest, triceps, shoulders and core muscles. If done correctly and with right form, it can add pounds of muscle to your upper body and also improve your strength for other exercises such as bench presses and military presses. The reason behind weighted dips efficiency in stimulating huge muscle mass and inclusion in this article is that the weighted dips are a multi-joint exercise like squats and deadlifts. As the weighted dips hit more muscle groups, they build mass quicker. And, the central nervous system overload concept works for this exercise as well.
Another great thing about the weighted dips is that the exercise form is easy to execute and progression is very straight forward. The normal dips itself are challenging enough for the beginners. But, once you overcome the initial challenge, you can steadily add weight using the weight chain and can make dips progressively difficult.
To emphasis triceps and chest alternatively, start in an upright position, lower your body until your arms form a 90 degree angle at the elbows, and then use your triceps to pull you back to the starting position. Now, do another rep by lowering yourself steadily and slowly down, but this time, lean your upper body a bit forward so that your chest gets fully stretched this time. Do this alternating sequence for as many repetitions as you could. However, make sure you aren’t doing more than 12 reps. If you find yourself in a situation where you can easily do 12 repetitions, increase resistance by adding the weight to the weight belt.
However, if you have poor shoulder mobility or have shoulder or elbow joint injuries or problems, you might experience discomfort while doing the weighted dips. In such cases, you should do other compound exercises such as bench press or pushups. In these exercises also, try to keep your repetition range between 8 to 12 as this is the most efficient rep range for building mass. Also, you should avoid following mistakes while doing dips.
- Not going low enough is one of the most common mistakes, you will see guys committing in the gym. You have to go all the way down until your arms form a 90 degree angle at the elbows. Doing half reps won’t take you anywhere. For complete failure, you should always execute the full range of motion for all exercises.
- Going too low can also be a problem. Yes, it is less common than the one mentioned earlier, but some overzealous fellows do make it once in awhile. Going too low can put awfully lot of stress on your shoulder joints and elbows, which can lead to potential injury.
- Lastly, you should do the exercise at the steady and controlled pace. Bouncing up and down on the parallel bar and sprinting through the set, won’t deliver the best results. By going fast, you are allowing the momentum to take over, which means your targeted muscles are getting worked less to do the required work. Apart from decreased exercise efficiency and effectiveness, doing exercise at a brisk pace can lead to potential injuries as well.