If your fitness goal is to bulk up, you probably know that you should be eating lots of calories and training with weights. What you may not know is that the exercises you choose will have an important effect on how much progress you can make. Choosing the right exercises will make muscular size and strength gain easier.
The deadlift is one of the most effective bulking exercises, as well as one of the most strenuous. The deadlift is performed by picking a barbell up from the floor and standing straight up with it. While the goal of the movement may be simple, the deadlift is a demanding exercise, because you must generate lots of force to get the weight moving from a dead stop. Deadlifts build muscular bulk very quickly because so many muscles are used at the same time to perform them. Deadlifts place a demand on the legs, back, arms, hips and abdominals.
Squats are a popular exercise with bodybuilders, power lifters, athletes and anyone else interested in building large, powerful legs. Squats are so named because the exercise is performed by squatting down and standing up with a weight across your shoulders. In addition to building the muscles of the legs, squats place a great demand on the back, abdominals and torso, making them an effective exercise for adding muscular bulk.
Standing Overhead Press
The standing overhead press is a potent exercise for bulking up because it combines basic, pressing strength with a heavy demand on core strength. The standing overhead press can be performed either with a barbell or dumbbells. The object of the exercise is to press the weight from shoulder height to directly overhead while maintaining a standing position. Pressing the weight overhead places a demand on core strength, because holding the weight overhead raises your center of gravity and makes you less stable. Maintaining your posture builds and strengthens core muscles such as the lower back and abdominals.
Pullups, a favorite of gym teachers and drill sergeants, is a powerful tool for adding muscle mass to your arms and back. The pullup is performed by pulling your body up to a high bar until your chin is level with or slightly above the bar. The pulling motion recruits the latissimus dorsi, the large v-shaped muscle of the back, as well as the biceps muscles. Your core muscles are also called upon during pullups to stabilize your torso and minimize swinging.
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual: The Ultimate Resource for Fitness Professionals, 3rd Edition; Cedric X. Bryant, et al.
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 3rd Edition; National Strength and Conditioning Association