Ranking The Best Muscle Building Exercises: From Beast To Least

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Step Ups

Hamstring exercises: beast to least

  • Split training weekly minimum recommendation – 1-2 beast exercises, 1 better exercise.
  • Full body weekly minimum recommendation – 1 beast exercise, 1 better exercise.

Hamstrings are the red-headed step child muscle group of bodybuilding. Too many gym rats throw in a couple of hamstring movements but give them a half-assed effort. Don’t do this. You need to build and strengthen both your quads AND hamstrings.

Really any combination of beast and better exercises will do. Try them out, see which you prefer, and get crazy strong on them.

Least hamstring exercises typically suck, so I would avoid them unless you are out of options.

  • Beast – Stiff leg deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, glute ham raises, reverse hack squats.
  • Better – Leg curls, good mornings.
  • Least – Dumbbell leg curls, lying cable hamstring curls, Smith machine stiff leg deadlift.

Traps exercises: beast to least

  • Split training weekly minimum recommendation – 1-2 beast exercises, 1 better exercise.
  • Full body weekly minimum recommendation – 1 beast exercise, 1 better exercise.

I have to be honest here…I’ve never seen natural lifters build quality traps using only mind-muscle connection, controlled bodybuilding style movements. In my opinion the traps need heavy weight and/or explosive reps.

My traps really started to come in when I began focusing on power shrugs and deadlifts. Explosive Olympic style lifts like cleans are a good addition to this equation. I also prefer upright rows as the final nail in the traps building coffin when I don’t feel like going too heavy on a given day.

  • Beast – Power shrugs, barbell shrugs, power cleans.
  • Better – Upright rows, dumbbell shrugs, behind the back barbell shrugs.
  • Least – Cable shrugs, cable upright row, seated dumbbell shrugs.

Push Ups

Triceps exercises: beast to least

  • Split training weekly minimum recommendation – 1-2 beast exercises, 1 better exercise.
  • Full body weekly minimum recommendation – 1 beast exercise, 1-2 better.

You can never have enough triceps strength. Focus on the big hitting exercises as much as possible. Then and only then, when your triceps are trashed, should you add in better or least exercises.

The triceps are worked hard during the week from bench and shoulder pressing movements, so there is no real need to perform an excessive amount of direct tricep work. With that said, you should still focus on quality when you do hit this muscle group.

  • Beast – Close grip bench press, dips, two arm seated dumbbell extensions.
  • Better – Skullcrushers, cable tricep extensions, bench dips, French press, seated single arm dumbbell extension, Tate press.
  • Least – Dumbbell kickbacks, cable tricep kickbacks, diamond push ups, overhead pulley extensions.

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