The 21 Best Lifts for Maximum Muscle Growth – Part 1

Lower Body

The 21 Best Lifts for Maximum Muscle Growth - Lower Body is your ultimate destination for the most effective and cutting-edge training programs that deliver results, and get you cut and ripped. We have put together a workout that builds muscle and cuts fat in record time. The 21 Best Lifts workout combines the latest scientific knowledge with “in the trenches” know-how of leading bodybuilders and personal trainers. The program is not for wimps— it will knock your socks off and put you to the test!

We selected 21 exercises based on their ability to isolate and build specific muscles. Scientists have an amazing tool called electromyography (EMG) that shows how much muscles work during specific exercises, such as bench presses, squats, curls, deadlifts and crunches. EMG measures the electrical activity of muscles. Scientists place electrodes over a muscle belly. The harder the muscle works, the greater the electricity measured on the EMG. By placing the EMG electrodes on key muscle groups, scientists can tell which exercises are best for activating muscles and building size, strength and definition.

We’ve combined the best exercises with scientifically proven training methods that pack on muscle mass. Sophisticated new studies that measured rates of protein synthesis and gene activation showed that time under tension— the total time of a series of muscle contractions— is critical for promoting muscle protein synthesis and limiting muscle breakdown. High-tension workouts using techniques such as supersets, drop sets and periodization cause metabolic stress that promotes muscle growth, activates genes controlling protein synthesis, and stimulates hormones that help release and break down fat.

The order of exercises and rest intervals maximizes the release of powerful anabolic hormones, such as testosterone, IGF-1 and growth hormone that promote muscle hypertrophy and cut fat. Combining the program with nutritional timing methods will help burn fat rapidly during and after the workout and promote recovery so you can exercise intensely the next day. The combined exercise and diet program will chisel your body like a Greek statue.

Training Methods that Produce Results

The 21 Best Lifts for Maximum Muscle Growth - Lower BodyThis program combines scientifically proven exercises with training methods, such as periodization, supersets, drop sets, nutrient timing, and aerobics that bring results. These methods maximize the total volume of the workout, while allowing muscles adequate rest and restoration.

Periodization: This workout uses a modification of a training technique called periodization of training. Soviet researchers introduced the concept of periodization (cycle training) in the 1970s that varied the exercises, intensity, sets and reps almost every workout. Periodization keeps the body off balance, so that it adapts constantly to changing stresses. The workout stresses a different body part each day so that a muscle group trained one day is rested the next day.

Supersets: Supersets work a muscle group, then immediately work an opposing muscle group— giving the first muscle group you exercised a rest. As discussed, muscle growth depends on high muscle tension and the length of time you apply the tension. Supersets allow you to stress one muscle group (e.g., biceps), while resting the antagonistic muscle group (e.g., triceps).

During superset workouts described in this program, you put target muscles under intense stress. Then, you immediately follow with another high-stress exercise that works the muscles in a different way. For example, you exercise the elbow extensors (triceps), followed by the biceps in rapid succession. After a short rest, you hit the biceps again. Unlike other methods that involve training one muscle group at a time, you stress a muscle group and let it rest while you’re stressing another muscle group. This allows you to exhaust several groups during a workout. You can stress more muscles in less time.

Drop sets: The drop sets technique is terrific for pushing the muscles to their absolute max. You overload fast-twitch motor units during the first part of the set and the slow-twitch units as you decrease weight and fatigue. The program uses drop sets for the last set of each exercise. Begin with a weight that you can barely complete 10 repetitions. Without resting, immediately drop the weight by 10 to 15 percent and try to squeeze out a few more reps. After that, use even less weight and do as many reps as you can. Keep going until you can’t do any reps. The drop set technique is a killer but a tremendous muscle builder.

Nutrient timing: This technique is simple but effective. Consume a protein-carb shake or meal during the two-hour of recovery period after a workout. The average person should consume approximately 80 grams of carbohydrates and 25 grams of protein. Drinking a shake or eating a meal replacement bar is probably easiest for most people.

Post-exercise carb-protein feeding promotes muscle protein synthesis, prevents muscle breakdown, and maximizes muscle and liver glycogen (stored carbohydrate) resynthesis.

Aerobics: Include aerobics such as track or treadmill running, elliptical training or cycling in your program to build stamina and control body fat. Try to include 30 to 60 minutes of aerobics at approximately 70 percent of maximum effort, three times a week in your program. Do the aerobic workout after weight training.