The 21 Best Lifts for Maximum Muscle Growth – Part 1

Lower Body

Best Lifts for Getting Ripped and Shredded: Part I, Legs

The 21 Best Lifts for Maximum Muscle Growth - Lower BodyEMG studies have shown that the following lifts are most effective for stressing the major muscles of the lower body. The 21 Best Lift workout combines these exercises in a killer workout that brings results.

Lower Body

1. Barbell squat
The squat is the king of exercises and the foundation of a strong, powerful physique. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Rest the bar on the back of your shoulders and hold it in that position with your hands. Keep your head and spine in a neutral position. Squat down until your thighs are approximately parallel with the floor and your butt is about one inch lower than the knee. Let your thighs drift outward naturally, so that you “squat between your thighs” and hinge at your hips. Drive upward toward the starting position, keeping your spine neutral throughout the exercise. A general strategy for this lift is to go down slowly and up quickly.

2. Deadlift
The deadlift is one of the best total-body exercises that activates the quads, hamstrings, glutes, core and shoulder muscles. Stand with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, and toes pointed slightly outward. Squat down and grasp the bar using either a deadlift (right palm one way, left palm the other) or pronated (palms toward body) grip. Keep back flat, hips flexed (butt back), chest up and out, arms straight, and eyes focused ahead. Lift the bar by extending the knees and hips, keeping your arms straight. During the lift, maintain a neutral spine and straight arms, and keep the weight close to the body. Pull up the weight to a standing position. Slowly return the weight to the starting position by flexing your hips and taking great care to keep your spine neutral.

3. Leg (knee) extension
Leg extensions are the best exercise for quad isolation. Lockouts emphasizing the last 20 percent of the range of motion are very effective for developing the vastus medialis— the quad muscle on the inside of the knee. Sit on the knee-extension bench and place your shins on the knee-extension pads. Extend your knees until they are straight and then return to the starting position.

The 21 Best Lifts for Maximum Muscle Growth - Lower Body4. Hamstring curl
This exercise is very effective for isolating the hamstrings and is the most important exercise for building these muscles. Lie on your front side on the hamstring machine with hips and torso pressed firmly to the bench. Place the back of your feet on the roller pad. Flex (bend) your knees so that your heels get close to your butt. Return the weight slowly to the starting position.

5. One-leg squat
Perform one-leg squats with a barbell on your back, dumbbells racked at the chest or carried at the sides, or use a Smith machine. Stand with your right leg in front of your left, with your left foot placed on a low box or bench. Squat down until your right thigh is parallel with the ground. Maintain a neutral spine during this exercise. Do 10 reps with your right leg as explosively as you can, followed by 10 reps with the left leg.

6. Standing calf raise
Do this exercise with a bar on your back or use a standing calf machine. Rise up on your toes explosively, lifting your heels off the ground as far as you can and then return to the starting position.

THE BEST LIFTS PROGRAMM

The 21 Best Lifts for Maximum Muscle Growth - Lower BodyMonday: lower body
Tuesday: chest and shoulders
Wednesday: cardio, calves and core
Thursday: back and arms
Friday: cardio, calves and core
Saturday: cardio
Sunday: rest

The Workouts

Monday: Lower body
Superset 1 (Do not rest between exercises; rest 2 minutes between supersets)
Barbell squat: 4 x 12
Deadlift: 4 x 10

Superset 2 (Perform a drop set on the final set of one-leg squat, leg extension and hamstring curl. Do not rest between exercises; rest 2 minutes between supersets)
One-leg squat: 4 x 10, each leg
Leg extension: 4 x 12
Lying hamstring curl: 4 x 12

The 21 Best Lifts for Maximum Muscle Growth - Lower BodyTuesday: Chest & Shoulders
Superset 1 (Do not rest between exercises; rest 2 minutes between supersets)
Incline dumbbell press: 4 x 12
Dumbbell flyes: 4 x 12
Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 4 x 12

Superset 2 (Perform a drop set on the final set of dumbbell front raise, seated side lateral and incline facedown laterals. Do not rest between exercises; rest 2 minutes between supersets)
Dumbbell front raise: 4 x 12
Seated side lateral: 4 x 12
Incline facedown lateral: 4 x 12

Wednesday: Calves, core and cardio
Calves and core circuit – Complete 4 sets with no rest between exercises and 2 minutes rest between sets.
Stability ball crunch: x 20
Hyperextensions: x 20
Twisting hanging leg raise: x 20
Standing calf raise: x 15

Cardio: machine, running track or outdoor cycling
Exercise for 30 to 60 minutes at 70 percent of maximum effort

Thursday: Back and arms
Superset 1 (Do not rest between exercises; rest 2 minutes between supersets)
Wide-grip lat pull-down: 4 x 12
One-arm preacher curl: 4 x 10, each arm
Skull-crusher: 4 x 12

Superset 2 (Perform a drop set on the final set of bent-over row, incline dumbbell curl and triceps pushdowns. Do not rest between exercises; rest 2 minutes between supersets)
Bent-over row: 4 x 12
Incline dumbbell curl: 4 x 12, each arm
Triceps pushdown: 4 x 12

Friday: Calves, core and cardio (same as Wednesday)
Repeat Wednesday’s program.

Saturday: Cardio
Cardio of choice: 30 minutes

Sunday: Rest

Next – Part II: Upper Body

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