virtual gym exercises muscle mass

5 mandatory compound exercises (to gain muscle mass)

If your goal is to gain muscle mass effectively, then compound exercises should be the basis of your training program.

These movements recruit multiple muscle groups simultaneously, allowing you to lift more weight than isolation exercises.

The more load you can lift, the greater the stimulus you will be giving (if the technique is not neglected) to your muscles to grow.

In this article, we'll explore the top 5 compound movements you should include in your routine to maximize muscle development.

Exercise 1: Barbell Squats (Squat)

Adored by some, hated by others, the truth is that it is one of the Olympic movements and an exercise that guarantees results.

This compound movement works the different muscles of the legs and core mainly, with variations that can give greater focus to certain areas.

The ideal technique is to keep your back straight, look straight ahead and descend, controlling the movement until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or lower, if possible).

Then, push hard through your heels to return to the starting position.

The primary muscles worked are the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes, in addition to the lower back and abdominals for stabilization.

When subjected to heavy loads, as is possible with squats, these muscles are strongly stimulated for development.

Some variations include squats with feet wider or closer together, front squats, etc.

There are also machine squats, although free squats are superior.

Make sure you maintain correct posture and control the movement in both phases to maximize the benefits and avoid injuries.

Squats are the number one exercise when it comes to increasing muscle mass in the legs.

What are you waiting for?
virtual gym squat

Exercise 2: Barbell Bench Press

The bench press is, without a doubt, the most popular exercise in gyms, possibly due to the main muscle group it works. The chest.

But it's not just the chest that works in this movement, as it also recruits the shoulders and triceps to stabilize the bar.

The standard technique starts with the bar above your chest, hands slightly wider than shoulder line.

Exhale, keeping your shoulder blades contracted, and push the bar vertically until your arms are extended. Then, inhale and slowly lower the bar until close to your chest.

The pectoralis major is the main target of this exercise, but the anterior deltoids, triceps, and shoulder blade stabilizers work to control the movement of the bar. This allows the use of significant loads to work the chest

Variations include movement with a shorter grip (used to mainly work the triceps), incline or declined bench, and we can also consider performing it with dumbbells as an alternative.

Be careful with your technique so as not to put too much stress on your shoulders.

To develop an impressive chest, make the bench press a key movement in your routine.

Exercise 3: Deadlift

Many consider deadlifts to be the ideal exercise for increasing overall muscle mass. This is an extremely demanding movement that mobilizes practically every muscle group in the body to lift the bar off the floor.

The starting position requires bending your knees and hips, keeping your back straight and holding the bar with your hands at your shoulders.

With explosive leg strength, push the bar through your heels to lift the bar, locking at the top with your shoulder blades retracted. Controls the descent in the eccentric phase.

The main muscles required are the back of the legs (hamstrings, calves), erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, forearms, shoulders and core.

Due to this enormous muscular demand, the deadlift is unbeatable for developing strength and mass throughout the body.

Variations include the Romanian deadlift (hips only), different grips, use of hexameters or even deadlifts with poor movement.

Focus on mastering the basic technique first before trying out variations.

Don't neglect this excellent movement.

virtual gym deadlift muscle mass compound exercises

Exercise 4: Bent-Over Row

The low row is an excellent option for adding volume and thickness to the back, but it also heavily recruits the biceps and forearms during execution.

The correct technique involves slightly bending your knees, leaning your torso forward about 45 degrees and keeping your back straight.

With a wide grip on the bar, pull it towards the abdominal area, contracting your shoulder blades at the end. Then, lower it in a controlled manner to start the next rep.

The main muscles activated are the lats, teres major, biceps, forearms and core for stabilization. By recruiting so many muscles in the back, arms and torso, the low row had to be on this list.

There are several variants such as close grip or hammer grip, triangle row, low-row row with cables, projection row with dumbbells, etc. You can play with angles and grips to emphasize different parts of your back muscles.

Don't ignore this exercise unless you don't want results.

Low rows are essential for developing an impressive back and arms that stand out along with them, therefore, they are an excellent bet.

Exercise 5: Military Press

The military press is an excellent compound exercise for developing strength and muscle mass in the shoulders, as well as working the triceps and stabilizers. It is a very demanding movement and must be performed carefully to avoid injuries.

The starting position involves standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and grabbing a bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, in pronation (palms facing forward). Keep the bar at chest level with your elbows pointed down.

From this position, inhale and fill your chest with air. Then, pushing firmly with your legs and keeping your core contracted, begin the movement by pressing the bar vertically above your head until your arms are completely extended. In this final position, your shoulders should be retracted and your shoulder blades contracted.

In the eccentric phase, lower the bar in a controlled manner until it returns to the starting position close to your chest. Exhale at this stage and prepare for the next repetition.

The primary muscles recruited in this exercise are the deltoids (mainly the anterior portion), the triceps, and the stabilizers of the shoulder blades and core. When lifting heavy loads vertically, this compound movement is excellent for developing round, muscular shoulders.

Some variations include performing the press seated or standing, different grips such as wide or closed, using dumbbells instead of a bar, etc.

Make sure you have mastered the correct technique with light loads before you start overloading this exercise. When done correctly, the military press is an excellent addition to any hypertrophy routine.


These 5 compound exercises – squats, bench presses, deadlifts, rows and military presses – are fundamental movements that should form the basis of your training to gain muscle mass.

They allow you to recruit a large number of muscle fibers and lift high loads.

Isolated exercises may have their place in your training plan, but they certainly won't be the main place if you want maximum results.

Train with intensity, master the technique of these key movements and you will be rewarded with impressive mass gains throughout your body!

Remember that consistency and progression in loads are crucial, so stay motivated and focused on your goals.

Tell us your list in the comments!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top