Fastest Muscle Building Workout 20 Example

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1. Barbell Lunges

Barbell Lunges
Barbell lunges are fantastic, safer, substitute to barbell squats. They work every leg particularly but fully. When you perform with lunges, a good part of the resistance comes from your own physical weight. Therefore the exercise needs little weight on the barbell. If you start barbell squats with 240 lb, it is unlikely you can lift more than 150 lb on a barbell lunge. It means that Lunges have less effect on your spine. Moreover, as your knee does not go beyond your toes, lunges are safer for your knees than squats.

2. Barbell Rollout

Barbell Rollout
If you crave for a strong midsection, the barbell rollout is probably the best exercise that you can do. Traditional exercises like sit-ups and leg raises are popular as well but they include the hip flexors too much. This takes the focus off of your abs. The barbell rollout, on the other hand, works primarily the rectus abdominis.

3. Barbell Shoulder Press

Barbell Shoulder Press
The barbell shoulder press is a fantastic muscle builder for the entire shoulder cage. The weight is pressed from the shoulders directly upwards until it is locked out above the head.

This exercise is a complicated one which involves the shoulders, chest, and triceps. One can do this exercise from a seated or standing position. In standing position, one can lift more weight as the leg drive involved.

4. Barbell Shrug

Barbell Shrug
A conventional upper body exercise for almost all bodybuilders, the barbell shrug aims the trapezius. Maybe this movement is short but the outcome is big.

A big trapezius makes a huge distinction in your look. Muscles in the middle and lower back and abdomen are also included to a lesser extent. To avoid any type of injury, do not turn about your shoulders while shrugging.

5. Barbell Squat

Barbell Squat
Barbell squats can enhance your legs muscle. It can help you to increase the muscle size of the whole body. Doing massive squats activates a systemic anabolic effect that uplifts overall muscle growth. The squat uses primarily the quadriceps, hamstrings and the gluteus maximums.

It includes the hip adductor and other stabilizer muscles. There is some risk of injury even if you do the exercise the right way. To skip knee injuries make sure your knees do not move beyond your toes.

6. Bent Over Long Bar Row

Bent Over Long Bar Row
The bent over long bar row is a great back builder and many prefer it over the barbell row. The difference between the two is that the range of motion is shorter in the long bar row, allowing you to lift more weight. Another difference lies in the grip (close or wide). Different grip involves different back muscles.

The close grip in the long bar row does not allow the back muscles to fully contract as in the bent over row. Yet, many find it more effective as a mass builder compared to the barbell row because the weight moves on a more even plane and offers better spine stability.

7. Bent Over Row

Bent Over Row
The bent-over long bar row is a great back builder and many prefer it over the barbell row. The difference between the two is that the range of motion is shorter in the long barrow, allowing you to lift more weight. Another difference lies in the grip (close or wide). Different grip involves different back muscles.

The close grip in the long bar row does not allow the back muscles to fully contract as in the bent-over row. Yet, many find it more effective as a mass builder compared to the barbell row because the weight moves on a more even plane and offers better spine stability.

8. Cable Chest Press

Cable Chest Press
You may wonder why experts regard the cable chest press as a fast chest building exercise. Isn’t the barbell bench press the king of chest exercises? Well, no.

The bench press fails to effectively add meat to your chest muscles because it does not challenge horizontal adduction. It surely stimulates growth in the upper body, but unlike cables, the barbell has a mechanical disadvantage when it comes to fully engage the chest muscles.

In the cable chest press, the exercise movement follows the natural circular path determined by the pectoral’s function and it is, therefore, more effective than the highly esteemed barbell press.

9. Chin ups (Pull ups)

Chin ups (Pull ups)
Chinups are very effective boosters of upper body growth. They workout the muscles of the upper back (latissimus dorsi), shoulders (posterior deltoid), arms (biceps), and forearms (brachialis). Chest muscles get activated a little bit, too. In chinups the palms face you, while in pull-ups the palm faces away from you.

Pull-ups employ teres minor (one of the four rotator cuff muscles) more than chin-ups do, therefore, if your rotator cuff is hurting do only chin-ups—you don’t want to injure rotator cuff muscles and their tendons.

10. Clean and Jerk

Clean and Jerk
The clean and jerk work the full body. It is a great test of one’s strength given that it employs more muscles than any other exercise in a series of movements. The first part of the movement (clean) is a deadlift involving the legs (glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves) and lower back (spinal erector).

Once the deadlift is over, the legs, traps, middle back, and shoulders assist to bring the bar into a resting position right in front of the neck. Then, in the second part (jerk), the legs, shoulders, chest, and arms bring the bar right above the head. The Olympic record is at 236kg for men and 187kg for women.

11. Close Grip Bench Press

Close Grip Bench Press
The close grip bench press is the safest and more effective triceps exercise you can do as it activates the whole tricep muscle. It involves the chest and shoulder muscles in addition to the triceps.

Unlike the dips, it does not pose a threat to the shoulders. Use a narrow grip but do not grasp the bar with your hands less than 4 inches apart otherwise you could hyper-adduct the wrist joint. Load the bar and press hard.

12. Deadlift

The deadlift is regarded by many as the king of mass builders. And for a good reason since it works more muscles simultaneously than any other strength training weight lifting exercise. It effectively adds slabs of muscle to the lower and upper body. When properly executed it is risk-free.

It employs and strengthens over 25 major muscles including those of the entire back (lower, middle, upper), the shoulders, abdominals, forearms, hips (gluteal muscles), and the legs (hamstrings and quadriceps). The deadlift is a true measure of somebody’s strength. The deadlift world record is 1,015 lb by Benedict Magnusson.

13. Dip

The dip exercise activates primarily the triceps. It’s a basic movement that works all three parts of this muscle group. It also targets the anterior deltoid, the chest muscles, and the rhomboids in the back. The dip allows you to load your triceps like no other exercise.

The problem with the dip is that it overstresses the shoulder muscles, the pecs, and the elbows. If you have troublesome shoulders, you should skip this exercise. The injury risk can be minimized if one limits the range of motion.

14. Dumbbell Row

Dumbbell Row
Whether performed with a dumbbell or a barbell, the bent over raw is very effective for working the lats—the largest muscles of the back that run along each side of your torso connecting your upper arm to the middle and lower back. There is a difference between barbell and dumbbell bent-over rows as far as the muscles involved.

Due to the bench support in the dumbbell rows, the lower back (erector spinae—a group of muscles that run along each side of your spine from the pelvis all the way up) is not targeted almost at all.

Moreover, in dumbbell rows, the torso is parallel to the floor activating mostly the lats whereas in barbell rows the torso is bent 45 degrees which places the emphasis on rear delts and traps (upper back). Finally, the one-arm dumbell row works each side separately which allows you to focus on the side that is less developed.

15. Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The dumbbell shoulder press targets specifically the shoulders. Unlike the barbell press, the dumbbell press does not involve as much the triceps and chest, allowing you to focus on your shoulders. Many people prefer the barbell over the dumbbell press because they can lift more weight with the barbell.

But what they fail to understand is that the barbell actually works, to a significant degree, their upper chest and triceps, not their shoulders. I saw a significant increase in my shoulders size when I switched from barbell to dumbbell presses.

16. Front Squat

Front Squat
Squats are the most basic and all inclusive exercise you can do for your lower body. Like the back squat, the front squat is a fantastic muscle growth booster. Many people think that the back squat focuses more work on the glutes, while the front squat emphasizes the quads. However, a University of Florida study found that both exercises target the same muscles at the same intensity.

That means it makes no difference for the leg muscles which exercise of the two you perform. Researchers did find though that front squats exert less pressure on the knees. It is also obvious that front squats employ the delts which assist with keeping the bar rested on the shoulders.

Finally, with the torso keeping more vertical the front squat places less stress on the lower back. Since the muscles of the back are not much involved, front squat is more difficult than back squat and requires less weight.

17. Leg Press

Leg Press
When compared to squats, the leg press is a less compound movement. The leg press is performed from a seated position and therefore it employs fewer muscles than the squat. It’s easier and safer, too, because it is performed in a fixed pane of motion which requires minimal core stabilization.

That means, your abs and back muscles are not that much involved. The relatively short hip Range of Motion (ROM) decreases the involvement of the hamstrings and glutes thus placing the emphasis on the quads. Still, the leg press is superior to the squat in that it can more directly target the quads. With the hip adductor (inner thigh) and stabilizer muscles less involved, and the seat support, the leg press allows you to focus all your energy on your quads and hit them really hard with a tremendous load.

18. Standing Barbell Curl

Standing Barbell Curl
Doing barbell curls is probably the fastest way to grow the most famous muscle in the human body— the biceps brachii muscle. Other exercises, such as the dumbbell curls, hammer curls, cable curls, concentration curls, supinated bent rows, and chin-ups, do not target the biceps as directly as the barbell curl.

The barbell curl is the most “compound” bicep movement of all employing all bicep muscles. When performing this exercise do not swing your torso, otherwise, you are allowing momentum, not your biceps, to lift the weight for you.

19. Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise

Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
The dumbbell calf raise allows you to fully work out your calves at home without machines. To build good calves you need to get a good flex on top and a controlled stretch at the bottom.

All three calf muscles will get activated. Calf raises can be performed in various ways targeting the two calf muscles (gastrocnemius, and soleus) from different angles. For example, when calf raises are performed from a seated position (seated calf raise) the gastrocnemius is stretched less.

20. Stiff Legged Deadlifts

Stiff Legged Deadlifts

One of the best exercises for your hamstrings, the stiff-legged deadlift, is a modification of the deadlift. It is designed to eliminate the involvement of the quads and place the tension on the glutes and hamstrings. It activates the lower back, too.

To avoid injury in your hamstrings, do not lower your torso beyond mild stress; that means the bar doesn’t go lower than the knee caps.

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A journalist who won several awards, I have held the main editorial positions in The World Press and Pow Jones. A former student of literature, art study and art history with a deep knowledge of finance and business work, I explore global art markets and cultural analysis. My reviews of major museum and gallery openings have been published in major newspapers and media platforms around the world.

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