This was a great article posted by Jason Ferruggia, so we thought we’d put it up here for you to read! (for those who aren’t familiar with Jason check him out here)
Top 10 Weight Training Exercises for Building Muscle
To build muscle you need to use the best weight training exercises out there otherwise you’re just wasting your time. Since I’ve already written about the best bodyweight exercises I figured it was time for the top weight training exercise list. DO NOT piss around with isolation exercises like flyes and concentration curls. Those do absolutely no good for anyone. Unless you’re injured, rehabbing or someone’s great grandmother they’re useless. Most machines fall into the same category. Compound, multi-joint free weight exercises that allow you to use the greatest amount of weight will build size and strength faster than anything else because they incorporate the largest amounts of muscle mass.
Below is a list of the top ten weight training exercises (in no particular order) that absolutely must be a part of your workout.
This exercise will build up your traps and strengthen your shoulders. In fact, doing snatches regularly will keep your shoulders quite healthy since they train external rotation more effectively than just about anything else. Snatches are also outstanding for firing up your CNS as the first exercise in your workout. And if you want a big vertical jump this is the exercise to get you there.
2) High Pull
No other body part looks cooler or commands respect like big traps do. High pulls build big traps. They also pack muscle on your entire upper back and strengthen your lower back, glutes and hamstrings. The nice thing about the high pull is that it’s basically a clean without the complexity or wrist and elbow stress of the catch phase.
3) Overhead Press
These can be done with a regular bar, a fat bar, a log, The Renegade Bar(use the coupon code JasonF for a 5% discount), dumbbells or kettlebells. But they must be done; both to build big strong shoulders and to keep them healthy. Too much horizontal pressing and not enough overhead work will lead to beat up shoulders. Trust me, you don’t want that.
Wanna pack size on your legs? Then get your ass under a bar and squat. Back squats, front squats, safety bar squats… they’re all good options. If you have lower back issues look into belt squats. Just do some type of squatting.
Bend over and pick up heavy shit. It’s the most basic fundamental principle of weight training. Which would then make the deadlift the premier weight training exercise. If you have a trap bar and fully comprehend the concept of submaximal training that’s the preferred deadlift variation. If not pull a straight bar, set on rubber mats, from the lowest position you can maintain a neutral spine from. Of the floor if you can get that low without rounding.
6) 1 Arm Dumbbell Row
Do this with enough weight and you’ll build big lats. End of story. A chest supported dumbbell row is a great variation, especially for those with lower back injuries.
7) Flat or 15-30 Degree Incline Press
Like the military press, these can be done with dumbbells or a barbell. A Swiss bar, football bar or The Renegade Bar would be the preferred option in place of a straight bar. Those will be much safer and keep your shoulders healthier. If you choose to press on an incline don’t go any higher than thirty degrees as that takes the tension off the chest and starts to irritate the shoulders.
8) Farmers Walk
Carrying something heavy is a required part of any muscle building workout. Farmers walks are the best grip exercise you can do. They also pack size on the traps and entire posterior chain. Stability in the ankle and knee is greatly improved from this exercise as well. And if you ever want to take a picture of yourself while training this one makes you look coolest.
9) Kettlebell Swing
Most people just started hearing about swings in the last decade. But Arthur Saxon was doing them back in 1906. They were even part of lifting competitions back then. That makes them okay in my book. Swings are not only great for conditioning but also for improving posterior chain strength and explosiveness while helping to actively lengthen tight hamstrings.
10) Sled Dragging/ Pushing
So it’s not a traditional barbell or dumbbell exercise. The fact is you’re using weights when you use a sled. Not only that but sled work can build leg size and strength like a mofo, while simultaneously improving your conditioning. I consider it an essential part of any training program.
If the weight training exercises you’re using are not a variation of the exercises on this list then chances are pretty good they suck. Therefore you probably shouldn’t do them. Stick with what’s awesome.