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Best exercise for mass?

So what does everyone see as the single best exercise for muscle growth?


The regular back squat would be it for probably 80% of the people but for those who are more advanced I would have to go with Heavy olympic front squats (holding the bar in the hands). I feel once you get the technique for a front squat and can do it with sufficient weight it is much more of a stress and involves more stabilizing muscles…including the shoulders and forearms.

The Clean and Jerk!!! Bar none!


if your talking just about adding muscle than you have to go with the exercise that involves the most muscle in a way MOST condusive to muscle growth, now although the clean&press involves probabley the most muscle, the explosiveness of the movement and the lack of negatine ressistance make it lacking in terms of pure growth (although it would probably be my no.1 choice if I could only do one exercise for the rest of my life)and although the front squat is “harder” than the back squat the reduced tension on the back and hamstrings will wake it less productive for overall muscle growth than the standard back squat.so the back squat is no.1, right? WRONG and I fail to understand why so many people believe it is (actually I’m pretty sure its because most people don’t like the intensity needed for the most productive exercise) so the most productive exercise on this plannet, for pure muscle growth and overall strength is THE DEAD LIFT. notheing else is close!!!

Deads, squats, clean and jerks.

backsquat. No matter what you should be able to use more pounddage than a front squat.

Upper Body

  1. Chinups
  2. Bench Press
  3. Dips
    runners up - Rows, shoulder press, upright rows

Lower Body 1. Squat 2. Deadlift 3. Lunge runners up - Leg Press, Sprints, High Jump

Some other good ones: Dumbbells power holds, plate pinches, Close-Grip Bench, Bicep Curls. I also recommend front and back bridges for unparalleled core strength.

Upper body: wide grip pronated pull-ups, medium grip bench press, medium ‘grip’ dips, concentration curls
Abs: bicycle twist movement, hanging legs raises slow with knees to chest
Lower body: wide stance squats down to slightly below parallel with toes pointing at 11 o-clock and 1 o-clock, full range deadlift, clean and jerk done correctly with two squatting movements (one at beginning of lift and one after the press/jerk), one leg weighted calf raises

Despite the simplicity to the question, it is a very complex to answer. If there were certain conditions met, such as there not be a lagging body part, for instance whomever answered didn’t mirror train, that is, only train the muscles that they can see in mirror, leaving horrifically undertrained lats, calves and hams, I would say without a doubt it is the deadlift.

I know almost everyone loves to bench but how can anyone say its the best upperbody exercise? the chin might be ahead of the dip but those two have to be the most productive for the upper body, but deads still rule as the best overall

Sleep that is my best growth exercise!!!

i can’t see how deadlifts could be the best. The key word phrase in the question is “muscle growth”. Deadlifts have no real eccentric, and therefore you are neglecting a majority of the bodies large muscles (the legs). Power Cleans are a very good neural excercise, but again the question was directed at “Muscle growth” not strength or anything else.

dman, try this. Do the concentric portion of the deadlift like you normally would, but do the ecentric as a stiff-legged deadlift. This way you can use the conventional bent-knee deadlift under a high TUT protocol. Works wonders for me.

Chins are a great mass builder, and i personally think deadlifts arent too good for mass, more for strength. Whoever it was that said concentration curls isnt too bright, that was a good laugh though. SQUATS for sure for pure mass, and strict military press.

Full squats w/ an explosive BNP at the end and controlled negative for the BNP.

Upon further thought on this subject I’d like to reconsider. Everyone has posted some good responses and really everyone is right to a certain extent. Probably the best muscle building exercise out of all those posted so far is to do the one that you haven’t been exposed to much or one that you haven’t been doing. Everyone remember what it first felt like to do a squat with some weight on your back? IT HURT!! Well for most people that painful feeling goes away over time, the movement gets easy and that’s when I feel the exercise is no longer as effective…Try doing high rep deadlifts, front squats, clean & press, below paralell box squats, 100 yards of barbell lunges, keg lifting, rock lifting or any other brutal exercise you can think of. Once you get comfortable with it switch it with something else.

dman, “no real eccentric” what? I don’t know how you do your deads but when I strap myself to the bar and start repping I do all mine sssslllloooowwww,the bar TOUCHES the floor then it starts comeing up again, do slow negatives on deads and you will NEVER say “there is no eccentric”

I find it interesting that the deadlift isn’t thought of as a mass building movement, but the squat is! If you don’t look at the bar position or arm position, the movements are basically the same! I would think that the best mass builder would be the movement that involves the most muscle mass – the deadlift. If we’re talking upper body only, i’d have to say either pull ups or heavy pull-overs (Arthur Jones called these the “upper body squat”). Has any one out there tried a cycle of just one “mass building” movement and nothing more? If so, I’d like to hear about the results.