Are you looking to gain size quickly? Not fussed about improving your ‘functional mobility’ or any of that nonsense? In that case, the type of exercises you use are going to be particularly important and have a big impact on just how quickly and efficiently you see the results that you want.
But you might be surprised to learn precisely which exercises are best for gaining mass. Spoiler: they’re not the ones you think they are!
Compound Exercises for Bulking: Yes or No?
If you were to ask 99% of people in the gym what the best exercises for growth were, they would probably tell you that you should be squatting, deadlifting and bench pressing.
And these are smart people who really know their stuff. Some of them are massive!
But they’re wrong.
The belief here is that using exercises like deadlifts and squats will encourage the production of large amounts of testosterone and HGH. This is reasonable, seeing as you’re using so much muscle together and that in turn means that a big release will be stimulated.
But there’s a problem: the science that no one is talking about is that exercise-induced testosterone actually has no impact on muscle growth (study). Instead, this type of testosterone is just like the testosterone you produce during sex, watching porn or when you win a competition – brief and transient.
And besides: you could just as easily use a full-body workout to stimulate the large number of microtears and that way encourage more testosterone release. This theory just doesn’t hold water…
So What Should You Do?
So with the testosterone element taken off the board, you now have very little reason to keep on doing compound exercises.
Why? Because compound exercises are multi-joint and they have multiple different failure points. That means that you’re likely to stop being able to lift the weight long before any key muscles are completely exhausted. Instead, you’ll stop being able to lift the weight as soon as one of the muscles involved becomes a bit weaker. You can’t fatigue the pecs completely with a bench press because your shoulders might give way first. You can’t fatigue your legs completely with deadlifts because chances are that your erector spinae will tire out first. Performing drop sets and forced reps with a deadlift meanwhile is potentially dangerous.
Conversely though, if you’re performing the chest press, the pec fly or the isolation curl, then you’re just focussing on one muscle. That means that you can keep going, keep going and keep going – flooding the muscle with blood and metabolites that are key for growth. You’ll only be forced to stop once that particular muscle has been completely depleted of all energy and that means that you’ll be able to stimulate the maximum amount of growth in that one area.
This is why bodybuilders do splits. They always have done and they always will do. Regardless of what the functional fanatics may tell you, this is still the best way to grow quickly.
Oh and you of course need to back this up with the right diet (high protein, high carb, high fat), the right supplementation (Bulking Stack from CrazyBulk) and the right lifestyle (SLEEP!).