The Top 8 Exercises For Building Muscle Mass

So you’re looking to make some gains are you? Well you’ve come to the right place! Today we will be going over the top 8 exercises that you can be doing to increase your whole body muscle mass.

First off, as a rule of thumb, for all of these exercise you should be aiming for 3–4 sets with 8 reps of heavy weight. Without getting too technical, the weight should be heavy enough that you are struggling to get the last 2–3 reps out. If you are breezing through the 8 reps, increase the weight.

The 8 exercises we are going to touch on can all be done with free weights, depending on your exercise experience and form.

1. Bench Press

The bench press has been a staple in many workout regimes for decades, there is no arguing its strength and size gain benefits. When doing the flat barbell bench press, you want to ensure you have a neutral grip with your hands on the bar about should width apart. When bringing the bar down, you want to aim for “nipple level” and make sure you aren’t flaring your elbows out.

2. Bent Over Row

Again, you want shoulder width grip on this exercise. Keep the chest popped out and a slight bend in your knees with your shoulders pulled back. Drop the bar to just below knee height, and raise it to the bottom/mid section of your stomach.

3. Deadlifts

You didn’t think we’d get through this list without including deadlifts, did you?! Crowned the king of all muscle building exercises by many, the deadlift is one of the most complex lifts, but has the potential to drive the most #Gainz. Going with a similar grip and stance as the bent over row, lift the bar off the ground while keeping your chest and head up and maintaining a neutral spine. Keep the bar close/tight to your body throughout the movement to avoid back strain. Be very careful and cautious of your form before going too heavy to avoid back injury.

Related Post: Why Women SHOULD Be Deadlifting

4. Military Press

You want “boulder shoulders”? Well you better be sure to include some military press in your program. Stance is shoulder width, grip is just wider than shoulder width, and finished position is with the bar straight over head. Keep a tight core throughout, and try to bring the bar down to just below chin height after each rep.

5. Bicep Curls

These are pretty straight forward. Can be done with a barbell, EZ bar or dumbbells. Remember, 3–4 sets of 8 reps. Make sure you’re struggling!

Related Post: Top 5 Exercises To Build Bicep Peak

6. Barbell Overhead Tricep Extensions

This can be modified by using a single dumbbell, or EZ bar. Drop the weight just past 90 degrees behind your head, and keep your elbows slightly forward to avoid stressing the elbow joint.

7. Shrugs

Hang the barbell just in front of your body with an upright posture and high chest. Keep shoulders back to avoid rounding your posture and shrug for the sky! Build those #MountainPeaks.

8. Squats

The last of the “Big 3”, which are bench press, deadlifts and squats. Squats are another technically challenging exercise that take a lot of practice to perfect. So be sure again to avoid going to heavy until you are comfortable with your form. Some basics: Rest the bar on your traps, hands just outside shoulder width apart, stance can be just slightly wider than shoulder width, and toes can be slightly pointed outwards. Make sure your knees are not going over your toes through the movement to avoid excess stress through the knee joint.


When lifting heavy with the above exercises, it is a good idea to break them up on different days. For example, squatting and deadlifting heavy in the same day can put a massive amount of stress through your spine, along with your central nervous system. Make sure you are getting enough rest, food, and proper supplementation to ensure you are getting the most gains possible out of your hard workouts!

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