The Big Muscle Stimulus Plan


Dave Cruz

Handle more weight, build more muscle. This may sound overly simple, but it’s a strategy that can help guide your exercise selection whether you’re looking to pack on size for sports performance or for the sake of getting bigger.

For instance, consider a few typical exercises people do in the gym: biceps curls, triceps press-downs and calf raises. Before you do one of these moves, ask yourself if you could be hoisting heavier weights with another exercise. In fact, compare it to squats, deadlifts or bench presses.

You’ll always be able to hoist heavier loads with the latter because they’re “compound movements,” meaning that, as opposed to curls, they work your muscles across more than one joint. You don’t need to remember the definition of compound moves. Just understand the concept.

So instead of picking up dumbbells for biceps curls, find a bar to do chin-ups. Substitute dips for triceps kickbacks, and replace leg extensions with squats and lunges. These multi-joint, compound movements allow you to move more weight, and as a result, build more muscle.


30 Minutes

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In this workout, you’ll perform a series of compound movements as supersets, meaning you’ll perform them in pairs and go from one move to the next without resting. Rest 60 seconds after each superset. As you do the second exercise in each superset, the muscles you used in the first exercise will recover, so you’ll save time and build muscle.

You can perform this sample muscle-building workout two to three times a week, resting at least a day between sessions. For a full progressive plan, see our personalized programs.

Movement Prep

Strength Superset 1

Movement Sets Reps
Perform one movement after another without resting between moves. Rest 60 seconds, then repeat the superset.

Chin-up – 3 Point Isometric Hold
3 30 seconds
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Split Squat – Dumbbell
3 8 each
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Strength Superset 2


Upper Body Push, Dumbbells, Lower Body Pull, Lower Body Push, Total Body, Chinup Bar, Strength, Build Muscle, Upper Body Pull

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