Best exercise for Size – Garage Strength

Best exercise for Size


You go into the gym and you want to hit an exercise that works your entire body, feel a pump, and complete in a short period of time. You want to grow and build massive size while also building strength. Do you want to be able to fill your shorts while walking on the beach, or tanning in your backyard (due to COVID-19), while also having to turn sideways while walking through doorways? Does this sound like you? Then keep reading on!


Enter the Deadlift!

The biggest thing when trying to do an exercise that involves the entire body with an emphasis on size, is incorporating tempo, like eccentrics or the lengthening of a muscle fiber while tension is placed upon it, and also through the use of variation in movement to produce adaptation. The movement that will touch many major muscle groups and when performed correctly will display large amounts of size is the DEADLIFT! The deadlift is the movement that will promote growth and build massive size throughout the entire posterior chain from the hamstrings, glutes, and low back, to the lats and traps and even add size to the forearms aiding in grip strength.


To increase size, you must understand how the body reacts to get massive. Online, you may read that many sites may push towards staying away from deadlifts, but through proper technical set up and reps scheme, you can add serious mass to multiple parts of your body.

First and foremost, volume is what you have to endure to increase the size of muscle fibers through myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Whether doing reps at 80%+ for sets of 2-4 or varying the movement and doing partial range movements like Romanian DeadLifts (RDLs) for sets of 9-13, the body will undergo great metabolic stress that will elicit size along with strength. As muscles undergo this stress, they aren’t the only areas that see change. Bones, tendons and connective tissues linking each other all together, will also increase in strength to allow you to continue training and push towards building size.

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The glutes and hamstrings are where power is generated from for many facets of sport performance through the recruitment of Type IIa and Type IIx fast twitch muscle fibers. Although, before those fibers get recruited, you must use Type I muscle fibers, which are used for muscular hypertrophy and size. As you lower your hips and brace your core with a neutral back, you’ll immediately be put into hip flexion and knee flexion. These positions will prime your muscles to store potential energy that will be ready to be utilized and converted into kinetic energy when moving into hip and knee extension. When the bar is being broken from the floor, you recruit an insane amount of fast twitch muscle fibers, all needed to complete the lift. Where size comes into play is the eccentric portion or the lowering of the lift. Utilizing a 3 to even as long as 7-second eccentric lowering will truly push your fibers to turn on as they’re being elongated and stretched. This is when the most stress is placed on muscles since muscle fibers are approximately 10% stronger during eccentric contractions, so not only are you gaining strength, but you are also adding pure mass and size.


The deadlift will increase size in the entire back and forearms. During the setup of the lift, the spinal erectors running along the mid back, the lats, traps and the brachioradialis muscles of the forearm go into serious tension from getting tight in prep for the pull. This tension that’s being created will allow you to accelerate the bar vertically, as violent as possible. Then, during the eccentric portion, those muscles become lengthened in the same fashion as the hamstrings do. That extra tension being placed on those muscles will produce major stress on those areas. The stress through sarcoplasmic hypertrophy will add sarcoplasmic fluid into skeletal muscle cells through the reps we complete, increasing cellular size, that will in turn add muscular size.



When trying to find the ONE exercise that will elicit major size growth, the deadlift can very much so be your answer. Tabbed at times, the “King of All Lifts,” the deadlift will stress your body in many different areas. A movement that will force you to recruit and lengthen fibers from many muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, erector spinae and flexor digitorum in the forearms. Whether it’s through different variations of the movement to yield adaption like utilizing a sumo pull or a trap bar, or through eccentric lowering of the weight to create more lengthening in the muscles, the deadlift will carry over greatly in building size to add on to your frame in no time!

Dane Miller

Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of elite athletes building comprehensive programs for strength and sports performance. Several times a year he leads a seminar for coaches, trainers, and athletes.


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