Get Big With These 6 Exercises
Getting big doesn’t have to be hard! Finding new exercises that are going to build the most muscle and get you looking jacked can feel impossible with all the fitness gurus out there. Some people will build their philosophies of gaining size on strictly isolation exercises or maybe packing in as much volume as you can like a Tom Platz leg day.
Although, the key to getting big is having a good balance in the intensity and volume of training you do. Intensity is going to force you to do a lot of compound exercises that allow you to pack weight on the bar. In reality, if you want to get big, you really do have to train like a BIG athlete.
Some of the biggest people in the gym are going to be performance athletes. Just think about it, who do people think of when they think about getting big in the first place.? There’s no doubt that you might think of a bodybuilder or a competitive physique competitor when you are looking to get big. The only problem is that they might have some “juicier” help that allows their bodies to grow and develop faster than the average person.
But aside from bodybuilders, who’s next on the list? You are going to look at athletes like football players, throwers, weightlifters, and wrestlers. These are athletes that combine heavy weights with hypertrophic accessories to build the parts of their body that are lacking. In this article, we will give you a list of the 6 exercises to make you swole af with the last one being one of our favorite muscle building movements.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What Does It Mean to Get Big?
When we think about getting big, we have to take a deeper look into the breakdown of our physiology. The three main factors that drive our body to physically adapt are muscular damage, metabolic stress, and mechanical tension. When we are choosing exercises to get big, we want to choose exercises that use more muscles, so we can achieve more muscular damage. Don’t worry, in this case, muscular damage is a good thing!
We also want to pick movements with greater global intervation. By choosing movements with great global intervation, they will help with other exercises that lead to more strength gains. Finally, we want to make sure that we are choosing movements that use different joint angles. By using other joints, our body is forced to adapt because it is under greater mechanical tension. Using joints in a full range of motion is also going to increase that overall time under tension for our muscles. You know what that means. More time under tension stimulates a greater amount of muscle protein synthesis which is what gets you BIG.
#1 - Pin Press
When you look at someone that’s considered big, what’s the first thing you notice? Probably how big their shoulders and arms are. Sure, they could just be wearing a shirt size too small to make them appear big, but people immediately notice capped delts and big arms. The exercise to give you boulder shoulders and massive triceps is going to be the pin press.
The pin press is often a seated version of a military press where the bar is set under your chin on safety pins. The main concept of the pin press is to start from a static press to stimulate the rhomboids and force maximal load on shoulders. When you are seated and ready to press up, make sure your scaps are squeezed tight and elbows are in close. Press up then bring the weight down with a slow eccentric, making sure to not slam or drop the bar on the pins.
The slow eccentric is where that muscular damage will occur, so focus on that throughout your sets. You can start with 5 sets of 4 reps then finish with 2 sets of 12-17 reps for that fat pump and volume that will get you swole af.
#2 - High Bar Squats
To cover the legs and back, you can’t go wrong with high bar squats. Not just squats, but high bar back squats. If you use something like leg press or low bar back squat, you aren’t getting the full range of motion that will make your legs big.
This might be an unpopular opinion because doing high bar back squats can cause mental stress and scare people, but high bar back squats are going to be superior to low bar squats when you want to build as much muscle as possible. High bar back squats are going to force you to get into a deeper position than low bar thus increasing the global intervation of the movement.
If you’re worried about technique or just not mobile enough to get into the deepest position possible, there are things you can do to make sure you are getting the most out of your squats. You can eliminate heel pop by wearing weightlifting shoes, putting plates under your heels, or use heel inserts. Start with 4-5 sets of 3 reps and then do 2 drop sets of 8-10 reps to combine high intensity weight with high intensity volume.
#3 - Walking Dumbbell Lunge
This third exercise is a leg day essential that can be used to build your glutes, hamstrings, and quads all at the same time. That exercise is the walking dumbbell lunge. This exercise is a great finisher to make sure your legs feel like jelly and wont stop shaking when you leave the gym.
The walking dumbbell lunge is a versatile movement that you want to push the weight on. DO NOT BE A B*TCH when choosing the dumbbells you use. This exercise is meant to push you and bring a lot of blood flow into the entire leg.
If you want to target the hamstrings and glutes, take longer strides and make sure that knee gets down very close to the floor. If you want to target the quads, take shorter strides and reduce the depth, but make sure to take quicker steps so that the time under tension is increased for the quads. As a finisher to your workout, to 4-5 sets of 8-12 reps each leg.
#4 - Decline Telle Extension
Swinging back to the upper body, we want to introduce you to the decline telle extension. The telle extension is an exercise that I got from Jerry Telle. The best comparison that I can give you to this movement is our own miracle grow or a dumbbell pull over. Although, this movement is going to be done with an easy curl bar plus a little twist.
On a decline bench, you are going to bring the weighted easy curl bar to your chest the psu up so it’s held right above you. You will then bring it back past your head like a pull over then, similar to standard pull over, bring it back forward but keeping the bar close to your body while bringing it to your chest. Once the bar is at your chest, push it up like a bench press to complete the first rep.
The telle extension is going to hit every head of the tricep as and touch on the lats as you control the eccentric and move it to the starting position. Use the tell extension as an accessory movement for 3-5 sets of 9 reps.
#5 - Sled Pulls or T Bar Row
So far, we have mostly ignored the back and the lats, but we are going to change that up. The next exercise that we love to use for time under tension is the sled pull. The sled pull is going to engage the entire back and fire up the lats if you do it right. With the sled pull, you want to be explosive and aggressive so that you can stimulate that muscular damage.
With sled pulls you can do 10 - 12 lengths at a light to moderate weight so that after about 10 or 15 minutes, your entire back is lit up and ready to bust through your shirt. Although, I know not every gym has a sled and rope easily available to get this done. You can swap out sled pulls with T bar rows to target the area you want to focus on. If you want to focus on the upper back and rear delts, grab the T bar on the high handles. If you want to get more burn in the lats, grab the lower handles and keep the lats squeezed tight throughout your reps.
#6 - Snatch Grip Deadlift
This is it. This right here is the ultimate exercise to get you BIG MUSCLES. No, it is not a traditional deadlift. It’s a pulling movement that will force you to use increased range of motion and maximize mechanical tension in the body. You want to do snatch grip deadlifts.
Snatch grip deadlifts are going to be better than any other deadlift for building muscle. You might be thinking “No Dane, regular deadlifts are better. That’s why everyone does them.” Yeah, well not everyone is as big as me. Snatch grip deadlifts, especially from a deficit, are going to hit everything that a regular deadlift does, but with extra lat and upper back activation.
When doing this movement, it is imperative to think about keeping the back rigid, especially the upper back. With a regular deadlift or even maybe a sumo deadlift, for you snowflakes, you will start with a more rounded back to maximize the weight you can pull off the floor. That is not the goal in this case. The goal is to maximize size in your back. So keep the entire back as tight and stiff as possible while keeping the lats engaged as you use a wider grip.
For the snatch grip deadlift, you again want to use an eccentric decline as you come back to the floor. Start with 7 sets of 3 heavy reps and then finish with 1 set of 10 touch and go reps to build that posterior pump.
Throughout this list, we have really harped on time under tension in combination with range of motion. If you are not maximizing in the range at which you train, you WILL NOT reach your maximum size potential. Coming back to our three core drivers of physical adaptation: muscular damage,metabolic stress, and mechanical tension. By training at heavy weights, high intensities, and high volume, you will get big if you do these 6 exercises.
If you want to see more exercises that will help you meet your exact goals, check out our custom programs or sign up for the Peak Strength app. Unlike a regular program, Peak Strength will allow you to input the equipment you have access to and customize a plan that is specific to your fitness goals. Give these exercises a try and let me know how big you get. Dane out.
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Yo, It's Dane
Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!
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