How Compound Movements Can Help You Bulk Up & Build Muscle

Saravanan "Sharu" Hariram

September 14, 2020

If Bollywood superstars can bulk up at the drop of a hat, what’s stopping you? Try these intense compound movements to Build Muscle!

1. Barbell Squats

  1. Place a bar on a rack just below shoulder height and load the weight plates
  2. Hold the bar with hands just outside shoulder width, step under it and rest the barbell on your back.
  3. Lift the bar off the rack by pushing up with the legs and take a step back from the rack. Set your feet shoulder-width apart, bend the knees slightly, pull in your lower abs, and set your head in line with your spine, looking forward.
  4. Once positioned correctly begin the squat by bending at the knees and hips together to lower your body. Keep your heels flat on the floor.
  5. Strongly push yourself back up to the starting position mirroring the descent
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions

 Barbell Squats workout

Reps 8 – 12

2. Barbell bench press

  1. Lie back on a flat bench. Using a medium width grip lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked.
  2. Breathe in and begin coming down slowly until the bar touches your middle chest.
  3. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

Barbell bench press workouts

Reps 8 – 12

3. Barbell Deadlift

  1. Grasp bar with shoulder width or slightly wider overhand or mixed grip
  2. Squat down
  3. Lift bar by extending hips and knees to full extension
  4. Pull shoulders back at top of lift if rounded
  5. Return and repeat.

Barbell Deadlift workout

Reps 8 – 12

4. Military Press

  1. Start by placing a barbell that is about chest high on a squat rack.
  2. Bend the knees slightly and place the barbell on your collar bone. Lift the barbell up keeping it lying on your chest. Take a step back and position your feet shoulder width apart from each other.
  3. Lift the bar up over your head by locking your arms. Hold at about shoulder level and slightly in front of your head.
  4. Lower the bar down to the collarbone slowly as you inhale.
  5. Lift the bar back up as you exhale.
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.Military Press workouts

Reps 8 – 12

5. Barbell Shrugs

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart
  2. Hold the barbell using a pronated grip
  3. Raise your shoulders up as far as you can go as you breathe out and hold the contraction for a second
  4. Slowly return to the starting position as you breathe in
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions

Barbell Shrugs workout

Reps 8 – 12

6. Barbell Bent Over Row

  1. Hold a barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor.
  2. Now, while keeping the torso stationary, breathe out and lift the barbell towards you. Keep the elbows close to the body and only use the forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.
  3. Then inhale and slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Barbell Bent Over Row workout

Reps 8 – 12

7.  Weighted Pull Ups

  1. Attach a weight to a dip belt and secure it around your waist. Grab the pull-up bar with the palms of your hands facing forward.
  2. Bring your torso back about 30 degrees while creating a curvature in your lower back and sticking your chest out.
  3. Exhale and pull your torso up until your head is in your hands. Concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades back and down as you reach the top contracted position.
  4. After a brief moment at the top contracted position, inhale and slowly lower your torso back to the starting position with your arms extended and your lats fully stretched.

Weighted Pull Ups workout

Reps 8 – 12

8. Decline Crunches With Weight

  1. Secure your legs at the end of the decline bench and lie down
  2. Now place your hands lightly on either side of your head keeping your elbows in
  3. While pushing the small of your back down in the bench to better isolate your abdominal muscles, begin to roll your shoulders off it.
  4. Continue to push down as hard as you can with your lower back as you contract your abdominals and exhale. Your shoulders should come up off the bench only about four inches, and your lower back should remain on the bench. At the top of the movement, contract your abdominals hard and keep the contraction for a second. Tip: Focus on slow, controlled movement – don’t cheat yourself by using momentum.
  5. After the one second contraction, begin to come down slowly again to the starting position as you inhale.
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Decline Crunches With Weight workout

Reps 8 – 12

9. Kettlebell Clean and Press

  1. Pick up the kettlebell with both hands letting it swing between your legs
  2. Keep your upper arms against your sides and use a pulling up motion as if starting a lawn mower
  3. Immediately use an uppercut motion having both bells end up between your forearms and biceps (this is called the Rack Position)
  4. From the Rack Position, press the kettlebell straight up to lockout and then lower kettlebell back into the Rack Position
  5. Drop the weight smoothly into a swing without jerking your armKettlebell Clean and Press workout

Reps 8 – 12

10. Stiff Leg Deadlift

  1. Grasp a bar using an overhand grip
  2. Stand with your torso straight and your legs spaced using a shoulder width or narrower stance and your knees slightly bent.
  3. Keeping your knees stationary, lower the barbell to over the top of your feet by bending at the waist while keeping your back straight. Moving forward until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings. Inhale as you perform this movement.
  4. Slowly straighten your torso by extending your hips. Exhale as you perform this movement.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Stiff Leg Deadlift workout

Reps 8 – 12

Keen to bulk up without putting on weight? Get in touch with our expert fitness trainers and nutritionists to get started with plans appropriate for beginners and others.

About the Author

Saravanan “Sharu” Hariram is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer with a passion for bodybuilding. Combining his love for fitness with his career, Sharu did his certification in Sports Nutrition, and Rehabilitation and Healing Nutrition. Currently a Master Trainer with HealthifyMe, he specializes in Weight Management, Marathon Training, and Physical Rehabilitation. In his 20+ years of experience, Sharu has always maintained that one’s mind must have control over their body in order to lead a healthy life. At HealthifyMe, he continues to follow his passion while helping those around him realise their fitness goals.

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