Part 2 of 3…Best Lift for Building Muscle
The dip is right up there with the bench press in terms. Overall impact of the pushing muscle of the upper body. Bodybuilders who use legal steroids and steroid alternatives along with anabolic steroids relied on dips for complete pectoral developments. When leaning the torso forward, the chest is maximally recruited, as the angle is very similar to a decline barbell press. If you maintain a more upright torso position, the triceps are forced to take more of the workload.
Weighted dips are one of the most effective muscle mass builders. Some find dip machines to be better options, particularly when it comes to attempting to isolate the triceps. But if you can do them, nothing beats parallel bar dips.
If you want a thick back, you must do barbell rows. Some of the most iconic and inspirational training shots ever seen were of bodybuilders rowing. Nothing beats a barbell row for raw horizontal pulling power, and they are unparalleled for developing back thickness. These are often called “bent” or “bent over rows” though the angle of the torso bend varies. Some do theirs with a full 45 degree bend, with torsos parallel to the ground.
You can stand a bit more upright at around 70 degrees–some feel they are better able to engage their lats that way. Going any higher than that starts turning a row in to something close to a shrug, as the range of motion is truncated. A forceful pull of the bar into the abdomen should coincide with a contraction of the lats, then followed by a controlled negative in which you can feel the lats stretch.
The military press was considered so basic and vital to overall development that in the early decades of powerlifting, it was a competition lift along with the bench press, squat and deadlift. The standing and seated versions of the barbell press to the front (military press) are fantastic for building overall shoulder size and increasing strength. Standing military presses are the toughest way to do these, but are more effective too. Use a belt for these and a spotter is necessary for seated military presses.
If you’re pulling substantial weights on deadlifts, barbell rows and adding weight to chins, your biceps are getting a heck of a residual work. They still need direct training, and the barbell curl is the most effective option. Every man who has ever build a pair of kick ass biceps has used the barbell as a tool. The barbell allows for a greater load than dumbbells, so you can curl some decent loads of iron. Do your best to keep your elbows at your sides as you curl, and don’t jerk your whole body to start the reps. Use a controlled rep speed.
Think about flexing your biceps as you curl, and feeling them stretch back out as you lower the bar. After three or four sets, your biceps should be pumped and burning. The straight bar is the most popular option, though many find that the contoured shape of the EZ curl bar causes them less wrist strain.
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Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow!