This article will discuss why millions of people go to the gym. About what is the meaning of life for some of them. About something without which bodybuilding would not exist in principle. This material is about how to gain muscle mass using basic exercises.
Our muscles grow under the influence of external load. In order for a muscle to become larger, it is necessary to create stressful conditions for it, under which muscle fibers are destroyed, and in order to withstand stress, the body is forced to increase these same fibers in size. But in order for growth to continue, it is necessary to increase stress, that is, the load. This is called load progression, and the easiest way to do it is with basic exercises.
Basic exercises are movements in which several joints are involved, respectively, the number of muscles involved in the work is also several, which allows you to work with a lot of weight and more effectively destroy muscle fibers.
In addition, basic exercises have very natural movements for a person, which allows you to form a good mental connection between the brain and muscles. Without in any way belittling the effectiveness of isolated, single-joint exercises, it is still worth noting that for the formation of overall muscle mass, it is worth giving preference to basic exercises.
Machines or free weights?
Whatever adherents of free weights say that they say “simulators for girls, only a barbell, only hardcore”, the muscles don’t care where they get the load from. Whether it is a technically complex device with levers and cables, or just a piece of iron with a handle. No difference.
The only difference is how effectively you can load the target muscle. For example, for training quadriceps, extensions in the block are only suitable as a “finishing” exercise with relatively low weight. For a heavy load, the barbell squat is better suited as a multi-joint, basic movement that will be more effective in terms of mass building. But the biceps curl, on the upper block, is a unique exercise, because with free weight it is impossible to achieve peak load at the end of the movement. In addition, in the presence of certain injuries, it is not possible to do some exercises with free weights. Therefore, it is worth considering simulators in terms of efficiency, and not some stupid principles. But still, it is worth giving this exercise with free weights, which form the basis of the simplest and most effective movements for gaining muscle mass.
What exercises to do?
Consider the most effective exercises for each muscle group.
It should be understood that in this article mass-gathering exercises are considered, for building a “frame” of muscles, for other purposes it may be other exercises.
Machines or free weights
The basis of the basics, an excellent exercise for the muscles of the legs and for gaining mass in general. No matter how fantastic it may sound, but if you squat with a barbell and do no more exercises, then the muscles of the upper body will also grow. Up to certain limits, of course. Squats should be the main leg exercise. Depending on the position of the legs during the exercise, the emphasis of the load will shift. With a wide setting of the legs, the gluteal muscles receive more load, with a narrow setting, the quadriceps work more. During heavy squats, a large amount of anabolic hormones are produced, which makes this exercise very effective.
This is a more specific exercise for training quadriceps. Due to the lack of axial load, it can become a substitute for squats for spinal injuries.
The emphasis of the load shift will depend on the placement of the feet on the platform. Some athletes use a huge amount of weight in this exercise, and work in a very short amplitude, which can only be justified in advanced stages. At the initial and middle stages, it is necessary to work with normal (not extreme) weights and full amplitude.
Deadlift on straight legs
An exercise for training the biceps of the thigh, in which it is important to feel the muscle contraction in the target muscle, otherwise it is not the legs that are trained, but the back, as with a deadlift.
The calf muscles are the heaviest in terms of response to the load. You need to train them with a large number of repetitions due to the very small amplitude. The working weight should also be large. You can alternate between standing and sitting. When performing sitting, the soleus muscle works, it is located under the calf, and when it is enlarged, it pushes it out, giving the calves a peak.
Bent Over Row or T Bar Row
A very effective exercise for the thickness of the latissimus dorsi. The slope of the body is important, 30 ° is considered optimal, but everything is individual, it is worth focusing only on the muscular feeling. It is necessary to minimize the inclusion of the biceps in the work, for this you need to concentrate not on the projectile, but on moving the elbows as far back as possible.
Pull-ups or pull-ups
The main exercise for the width of the back. If you pull up more than 12-15 times, you need to hang weights. It is important to choose the right grip width. With a wide grip, the work of the biceps is well isolated and only the broadest muscles we need work, but the amplitude is short. With a narrow grip, the opposite is true, the amplitude is maximum, but the biceps steals the load a lot. It is worth experimenting with the width of the grip, the optimal one will most likely be medium or slightly wider than average. We train the back, so the grip should be straight (palm turned to the crossbar), with a reverse grip, most of the load goes to the biceps.
Horizontal block pull
In this exercise, you can work out the bottom of the latissimus dorsi well, for this you need to pull the handle as if to the groin.
It is necessary to pull with your back, and not with your hands, for this you need to think again about your elbows, trying to bring them as far back as possible. For greater concentration, you can work in turn with one hand. A similar exercise is the dumbbell row with one hand, in which you can feel the muscle very well.
Bent Over Row or T Bar Row
A classic of the genre, the best exercise for the pectoral muscles. There are many options for tilting the bench, it is believed that the best is an upward tilt of 20-30 °, in which all the muscle fibers of the chest work evenly. However, the most popular is definitely the bench press on a horizontal bench, since in this position it is possible to work with a lot of weight. The inclusion of triceps in the work will depend on the width of the grip. The wider the grip, the more isolated the chest works, but to the detriment of the amplitude, and vice versa, a narrow grip gives a greater amplitude, but the triceps are strongly turned on. At the top point of the arm, you do not need to unbend to the end, otherwise the load from the target muscle will go away. All movements are smooth, without rebound. You can perform with dumbbells, the amplitude will be greater, but you will have to sacrifice weight.
Bench press in the Hummer
The principle is the same as in the bench press, but due to the fixed trajectory of the movement of the projectile, you can concentrate more on muscle contraction.
Barbell curl for biceps
In fact, this is an isolated exercise, flexion occurs only in the elbow joint, but for the biceps, almost all effective exercises are single-joint, with the exception of pull-ups with a reverse grip, but due to the inclusion of the back in the work, it is unlikely that maximum muscle contraction will be achieved. PSNB is the main “basic” exercise for the biceps, which, depending on the width of the grip, will allow you to work out all the bundles of the biceps muscle.
In addition to the biceps, the forearm and brachialis (the muscle located under the biceps) are included in the work. The movements should be smooth, without swaying the arms and body, only the muscles should work.
Narrow Grip Barbell Press
A basic exercise for triceps, in which it is important to feel muscle contraction, otherwise the chest will work. A narrow grip does not imply contact between the hands, the position of the hands must be chosen in such a way that the work of the triceps is best felt. The elbows should be pressed to the body, trying to move primarily in the elbow joint.
Push-ups on the uneven bars
Here it is important to maintain a straight position of the body, not to lean forward. The main movement should occur in the elbow joint, which at the lowest point should not be bent more than 90 °. Work occurs in the upper part of the amplitude. You need to hang weights if you can do 12-15 reps without weight.
Push-ups on the uneven bars
5. Shoulder exercises
Stretch with dumbbells
An excellent exercise for working out the middle and back of the deltoid muscles, which give visual width to the shoulders. A very underrated exercise. With the right technique, the amplitude is relatively short, the number of repetitions should be correspondingly large.
Bench press standing from the chest
The main exercise for the front bundle of deltas. The grip is shoulder width apart, the movements are smooth, without the help of the legs.
At the top point of the arm, we do not fully unbend, otherwise the load will go to the triceps and the joint. During the upward movement, it is necessary to mentally raise the elbows, and not the barbell, this is how the delta will work, with minimal inclusion of the triceps. If you take dumbbells instead of a barbell, the amplitude increases, but the working weight drops. This exercise can also be done in a Smith machine.
Steps with dumbbells.
An exercise for training the trapezoid, which is performed with a lot of weight, due to a very small amplitude. Some athletes don’t train the trapezoid at all because it is statically loaded in many exercises. If you want to get injured, then you can rotate your shoulders during this exercise, if not, then the movement of your shoulders should be strictly up and down. At the top point, you can make a short pause for a peak contraction.
Steps with dumbbells
How many sets and reps to do?
There are “accepted standards” according to which in order to gain muscle mass, you need to work within 4-5 sets of 8-12 reps. For exercises with a short amplitude, the number of repetitions should be increased to 20-25, and in heavy presses and pulls for large muscle groups, it may be worth dropping to 6-8 repetitions. Also important is the rest time between sets, in exercises with large weights it is worth increasing it. It should be understood that all these values are generalized, you can adjust them specifically for yourself.
All of the above exercises are great for building muscle mass and have been proven to work. But do not forget that muscles do not grow in training, but during rest. Another key element is nutrition, with a lack of which any, even the best exercises, will lose their effectiveness. So use the basic exercises described in this article, eat right, give the body time to recover and the result will simply have nowhere to go from you!
GOOD LUCK ON THE WAY TO SUCCESS!