Don’t fall victim to another fall (and eventually winter) being out of shape and appearing small. What’s that, you may be asking yourself? Sure, it’s easy to get overweight while not following a good workout and nutrition program. But you can also lose all of those gains you made during the summer hitting it hard every day in the gym.
Let’s be clear – you want to maintain your muscle size and not replace it with fat.
With that said, there are a number of movements that you can do of the compound variety that will keep your overall body size where you want it, but also taking advantage of the fact that you don’t have to be overly concerned with looking detailed and grainy. Keep that mass and perhaps even add to it if you do it properly.
Here are the seven best lifts that we feel will take care of that for you:
1 – DEADLIFTS
If you had to pick an exact body part that deads work first and foremost, it would be the lower back. But anyone who does them on a regular basis will tell you that they work the entire body. Your legs will take the brunt of the beating, but your upper body does more than pitch in. This will add some serious size to your quads, hams and glutes and improve your overall strength to allow you to push more weight in the gym.
2 – SQUATS
They don’t call them the King of Exercises for shits and giggles. Power up to the squat rack and reap the benefits of another full body movement that also improves strength. Of course your lower body gets taxed, but your core and stabilizer muscles partner up here.
3 – FLAT BARBELL BRENCH PRESS
This exercise is boring as fuck but it still works. You can mix things up by using dumbbells or a Hammer Strength machine, but the regular flat bench with a barbell works best when you want to bulk up.
4 – SEATED BEHIND-THE-NECK SHOULDER PRESS
You should always do a variation of this exercise year round since the deltoids need a lot of isolation movements to hit the different areas and you want to be sure to include a basic power movement. Dumbbells, machines and standing all work, too, but like the flat bench barbell press, this one is the go-to for mass.
5 – BENT OVER BARBELL ROWS
Wide lats are imperative if you intend on looking big and bent overs are the best to give you bat wings. You can use and underhand grip bending over at a 45-degree angle and bring the bar up to the bottom of your sternum (Dorian Yates rows) for a variation.
6 – STANDING BARBELL CURLS
The biceps are relatively small muscles compared to some of the others but they still need to be worked hard in order for them to grow. Gripping a 45-pound Olympic bar with whatever amount of weight that you can handle properly will give you a good start in getting there.
7 – SEATED OVERHEAD DUMBBELL FRENCH PRESSES
Last but certainly not least are the triceps. This exercise allows you to use a heavy weight and a wide range of motion, as well. Take advantage of both and you’ll really feel the tris working hard.