Top 5 Simple Muscle Building Tips – Essential Mass Building Exercises


Some things in life are simple.

Like finding a good web designer or in our case for this article, building muscle.

How can building muscle be made simple?

Easy, just by applying some key principles and using the right exercises.

Key Muscle Building Principles That Are Easy to Apply

Key Principle 1:  Try to Beat Your Last Workout.

    • If you try to beat the reps you did last workout
    • If you try to beat the sets you did last workout
    • If you try to beat the weight you used last workout
    • If you try to decrease the rest period between sets
  • If you try to increase the speed at which you move the weight

You will make gains.  Just pick one of these variables and change it between workouts.

Key Principle 2:  Make Sure to Get Your Rest

Deload, deload, deload.  Make sure every 3-6 weeks you are scheduling a series of training sessions where you focus more on your mobility, activation and decrease the training intensity (sets x reps x load) of your primary exercises.  This is the key to always recovering above the (supercompensation) baseline.  It gives your body a time to recover and prepare for the next mini/microcycle.

Key Principle 3:  Get Your Mobility On

Flow, mobility, stretching; I don’t care what you call it.  Just do it.  And do it a lot.  It is that important.  Read this article, print it out and watch the video.

Here are some very good mobility and warm-up videos:

How to improve mobility of the hips and warm-up lower body – VIDEO

3 Fast and Effective Upper Body Warm-ups – VIDEO

Key Principle 4:  Full Range of Motion / Proper Form

Want to start being chased by an angry mob with pitch forks and burning torches, or start walking aimlessly around like Frankenstein?    Easy, don’t perform full range of motion movements!  Frankenstein is exactly how you’ll be moving around if you start loading your body with weight, day in and day out, with a shortened range of motion (and no mobility / flexibility training).  Law of Repetitive Motion states that when we limit the motion and increase the repetitions we’ll be in big trouble when trying to move freely.

You must also use proper form. When you start messing around with weight and poor form, you’ll be asking for the icy hot and mommy to put you to bed with warm milk because you’ll be in big time pain.  Well, mommy isn’t going to be bringing you your binky so you better start using good form.


Key Principle 5:  Pick the Right Exercises

The right exercises is key to engaging as many muscle groups at once (increasing your training session efficiency and getting you in and out of the gym fast) and building muscle fast.  Some of the best compound movements include squats, deadlifts, bench / military press, chin-ups/pull-ups and power clean and press.

The Big Muscle Building Exercises

Remember, with each of these essential muscle building exercises, form is the key.  Key to getting the most out of the movement (maximizing muscle fiber recruitment) and staying injury free.

If you include just one of these movements in each of your workouts, you’re basically guaranteed to make gains and build muscle.


You have to squat to get massive legs, there are no substitutions (except don’t forget unilateral movements should be used to compliment any lower body training).  The cool thing is that there are many different types of squats so there can be a lot of variety.  Typically, you can switch up your primary squat lift by changing the bar or just changing to a different type of squat every 3-4 weeks.



Deadlifts will give you a massive back, massive legs and strong core.  But they must be done correctly.  Check out this how to deadlift page and this how to deadlift video.  Notice I said that deadlifts don’t only build strong and meaty legs, but they also build a big back.  The lockout and stabilization require engagement of the erectors, rhomboids, lats and overall core musculature.


Power Clean and Jerk (or Press)

This is a power movement which carries over to your full body strength.  Developing and promoting this power and strength carries over to your strength on other lifts.  Power (displaying force in the shortest amount of time) has three parts; the engagement and activation, the accelerated movement and the deceleration of this movement and absorption of the forces (if the movement is ballistic, ie. released, deceleration is negated).  Coordinating the power clean and press will go a long way in your strength program.


Bench Press / Military Press

Any type of free weight press is great for building muscle (as long as there is no pre-existing shoulder injuries) on the upper body.  Close grip bench press will pack on serious muscle on the triceps and keep your shoulders healthy and strong while standing military press will not only build up your shoulders but work on your core strength as well.  If you do have problems hitting a barbell bench or barbell military press, switch to dumbbells.  If this still causes you problems, switch to gymnastics rings and push-ups.  Remember, there is a progression and regression to all strength training movements.

How to Bench Press Correctly VIDEO

How to Bench Press Website


Chin-ups / Pull-ups

Ever see someone that can bang out 20 pull-ups or 20 chin-ups?  Guaranteed they have a big back and big biceps.  The best mass builders of the back, along with deadlifts, these two bodyweight movements are essential in every program.  There are so many variations to these movement – Ultimate Pull-ups Video – and they can be overloaded in a variety of ways.  They can also be done pretty much anywhere.





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About The Diesel Crew 7 Articles

Motto: “Achieving Beyond Potential”

Developing athletes of all sports utilizing non-conventional training protocols. Focusing on complex, multi-joint, closed-chain exercises promoting strength and explosive power development specific to the functional movement patterns of athletics.
Protocol: Incorporating and modifying—through “Extension of the Movement” and “Movement Under Tension”—all aspects of Weightlifting (Clean & Jerk, Snatches and all transitional exercises), Powerlifting (Bench, Deadlift and Squat), Strongman (Atlas Stones, Yoke, Logs, Farmer’s Walk, Conan’s Wheel, Viking Press, Axle, Tractor Tires), Kettlebell (Conventional and Non-Conventional Exercises) and Grip Strength (All aspects; Crush, Support, Pinch, Levering, Tearing, Bending) to build the complete athlete.
“Napalm” Jedd Johnson, CSCSupdating image

Jedd Johnson played basketball and baseball at Towanda High School in Pennsylvania. Later, he played Division II baseball for two years at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, before taking on strength training as his main interest.
DIESEL CREWCredentials
Jedd has Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist credentials through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and is a regular speaker & presenter at the Pennsylvania State Strength and Conditioning Clinic.
The Diesel Crew
In 1999, Jedd and Jim ‘Smitty’ Smith formed the Diesel Crew and began formulating the Diesel Method, a strength and conditioning system involving the incorporation of various training disciplines. The Diesel Crew is now recognized as the leaders in grip strength.
Jedd has authored grip articles for Straight to the Bar as well as numerous grip and strongman articles for the Diesel Crew.
Strongman Contests
2003—TPS Massachusetts State Strongman Championships
2004—TPS Massachusetts State Strongman Championships
2004—Maryland’s Strongest Man
2005—Wise Wellness Strongman Contest
2005—Saxonburg Strongman Contest
2005—TPS Massachusetts State Strongman Championships
2005—Maryland’s Strongest Man
2006—Stronger Than All II
2006—Wise Wellness 2006

Jedd has put nearly 350 pounds overhead and lifted 400-pound Atlas Stones. He is an IronMind Certified Captain of Crush. He has lifted the 50-pound Blob, pinched two 45-pound plates, deadlifted the Inch Replica dumbbell with one hand, bent the IronMind Red Nail and the Fat Bastard Barbell Co.’s Grand Bastard Nail, as well as several other renowned grip feats.

updating image Jim “Smitty” Smith, CSCS, CFT, USAWupdating image

Jim Smith is a co-founding member of the Diesel Crew. Jim is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) as a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) and the United States (USAW) as a Club coach.
Jim is also an expert trainer who writes for Men’s Fitness and the Elite Q/A Staff. Jim has been involved in strength training as a performance enhancement specialist for over 8 years and as a strength athlete for over 18 years. He has worked with athletes from many sports who compete at various levels to improve performance, eliminate dysfunction and recover from injury. He has published articles about his unique training style and innovative methods for many prominent strength and fitness related sites. He is also the authored of three renowned strength manuals.
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