Wanna build great muscles super fast? It’s easy. All you need to do is use every single piece of equipment you have available at your gym and you will gain muscles in no time. There, simple as that. Just kidding!
So, how to gain muscle fast? The truth is, you don’t need to do hundreds of different exercises to have big muscles. For fast muscle gain, all you really need are 5 basic compound movement exercises, progressive overload and a barbell. And this goes for both men and women. This exercise workout or, more appropriately, muscle gain workout will benefit both men and women.
With compound exercises, you get to train several muscles or muscle groups at once. So, you can lift a lot heavier weights than you ever could by training the muscle in isolation. An exercise workout excluding compound exercises is incomplete! Also, since our goal is for the fastest muscle gain in the shortest amount of time, we are going to train solely using a barbell. Sure, you get a wider range with a dumbbell, but a barbell will allow you to lift heavier. And the heavier the resistance the more the muscle mass you’ll build. Here’s a video that explains what each equipment is good for. You can also read the full written article right here.
The first exercise on the list is the squat. You either love it or you hate it. The fact is if there is one exercise that benefits your lower body the most, it’s the squat. It targets your entire lower body directly and rest of the body indirectly.
When you do a squat, your body works your quads, gluteus, hams, calves, and your core directly. But it also works the rest of your body by helping you strengthen your Central Nervous System (CNS), and can also help increase the production of testosterone and growth hormones. And like all compound exercises, the benefits carry over – which means you will also be able to lift heavier weights in other exercises. Talk about getting the most bang for your buck! So, don’t skip a leg day.
Here’s how you do a squat:
- Place the barbell on your traps, not on your neck
- Place your legs hip-width apart or a little wider with feet turned out
- The chest should be up and the head facing forward
- Descend by flexing the knees
- As the knees travel forward, ensure that they stay align with the feet
- Keep the torso as upright as possible
- Both your hips and your back will stick out a little bit naturally as you go through the movement – and that’s ok
- You won’t be able to keep them perfectly straight – You are not a robot
- The goal is to keep the torso as upright as possible throughout the motion
- Don’t allow your back or your hips to travel beyond their natural range
- Or the weight of the exercise will shift to your back and you will end up using your back to push the weight as you come back up – which can cause a serious injury
- While keeping the weight on the front of the heel, go down to about the seated position then reverse the motion, driving the weight upward
Another major exercise for fast muscle gain is the deadlift. The weight lifted in a deadlift comes primarily from your legs, glutes and lower back. But since this is a pulling exercising requiring you to grip the bar with your arms – you will also train your upper body by default. You’ll train your rhomboids, your traps and your lats. Because you recruit so many large muscles in performing a deadlift, you can lift really heavy-weights. And like a squat, it will strengthen your CNS and will also stimulate the production of testosterone and growth hormones.
How to do a Deadlift:
- Place your feet about hip-width apart
- Lower yourself down by sitting back – flex the knees until your shins contact the bar
- Grab the barbell at shoulder width allowing your shoulder blades to protract
- Look straight, keep your chest up and your back arched
- Drive the bar up pushing from the heels
- Pull the bar back by pulling your shoulder blades together and drive your hips forward into the bar
- Return to the starting position by bending at the hips
Let’s continue on to another pulling exercise. One of the most important movements to work your upper body pulling strength and getting a strong back is the barbell row. With a barbell row, you will work your rhomboids, upper back, deltoids, back of your shoulders and your biceps.
It’s one of those exercises where you get stronger fast. And like all compound movements, the results carry over to other major lifts. As you build muscles and strength in your back, you will experience other pulling, squatting, and pressing movements get stronger as well.
Here’s how you do the exercise:
- Grab the bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
- Bend your knees slightly and bend the torso forward by bending at the waist
- Maintain a strong set back and hip hinge
- Let the barbell hang directly in front of you. Don’t flex your shoulders
- While keeping your chest out, pull the barbell into your stomach
- Then bring it back down to the hanging position
- Always keep a strong back and never slouch forward as this can cause back injury.
Our next exercise is a bench press. We are doing this right after the barbell row as the bench press will train the exact opposite muscle. Opposite muscle training or antagonist muscle training increases your muscle balance, strength and provides a better pump.
This exercise works mostly on the anterior or the front part of your body. It works your chest, shoulders, triceps, serratus anterior and biceps. There are 3 variations of this exercise. Incline, flat or decline. The flat bench press works the most anterior muscles out of the 3. And we are looking to build muscles as fast as possible, flat bench press is the way to go.
Here’s how you do the bench press:
- Grab the barbell with a medium width
- Don’t lock your elbows
- Lower the barbell, making sure that the bar almost touches your chest
- Don’t let the bar drift too far forward – bring it down to about to your nipple level or lower chest level
- Don’t bounce the weight off your chest
- Drive it back up using your chest muscle
- Keep strength in your arms and maintain a tight grip throughout the motion
Standing Shoulder Press Or Military Press
The next exercise on the list is Standing Shoulder Press or Military Press. With the chest press, you’ve already trained your shoulders so let’s now finish the job. This exercise makes your shoulders broader and fuller by working on all 3 heads – anterior deltoid, medial deltoid, posterior deltoid. It also trains your biceps, your triceps and your lats. A lot of people do the military press in a seated position however, standing press recruits more muscles. Because you are standing your body will recruit additional muscles including your core and stabilizer muscles in your glutes and legs.
To perform the Standing Shoulder Press:
- Grip the bar wider than shoulder-width apart using a pronated (palms facing forward) grip
- Place the barbell on your collar bone
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart from each other
- Push the barbell up over your head
- Hold at about shoulder level and slightly in front of your head
- Lower the bar back down to the collarbone
And that’s all you really need. These exercises are the core of bodybuilding. Just doing these 5 core exercises alone is enough in getting the most muscle gain in the shortest amount of time. If you do just these 5 and nothing else, you will see amazing results.
Of course, you can further concentrate on each muscle to sculpt it even more. But be aware that going through these exercises alone will take you 45 mins to an hour depending on how many sets you do and the breaks you take in between each set – an ideal length for your muscle gain workout. By the end, you will be exhausted!
If you still have some bit of energy left, you can really test yourself by adding clean and press, pull up and dips on top of these. But keep in mind that you don’t want to over train and that most muscle growth happens outside the gym – doing more exercises in your workout won’t necessarily give you big muscles. Here’s our video explaining that muscle gain requires more than just exercise alone. The full written article is right here.