Bodybuilding & Strength

The 5 Exercises That Will Pack on Muscle

Eventually, I will get hardcore into the bodybuilding and nutrition aspect of this site. I thought I would throw this little gem up that I wrote a while back.

There is no best exercise or best routine that will guarantee you the results you want. There are however, several exercises that have widely proven their worth over time.

I have personally benefitted from incorporating these exercises into my routine over the years. Furthermore, they have been the standard whenever I have wanted to put my body through the intensity needed to pack on muscle.


1. You should squat.

Sorry everyone, if you want to pack on muscle you should squat. Squats are widely considered to be the most difficult exercise. They absolutely tax your system. Get under a bar loaded with plates and squat up and down taking yourself to failure.

Your entire body tenses up and your breathing gets heavy. They are great for you cardiovascular health as well… After a set of intense squats your heart will be rapidly beating.

Again, think about it. If you want to pack on size, what’s the best way to do it? It’s by hammering the large muscles of your body. The legs are the largest muscle.

They also help raise natural testosterone levels and promote the release of growth hormone in your body. So yeah squats are a big deal in the muscle building game.

2. If you are serious about this… YOU SHOULD DEADLIFT.

Again, there’s no easy path to packing on muscle. You should not be looking to avoid the difficult exercises. The deadlift is such a simple exercise yet so effective. Load up a bar with weight and lift it up with your legs keeping your back straight.

This is another exercise that completely taxes your system and is great for your cardiovascular health. This exercise hits so many different muscles… you are literally placing your entire body under the type of stress conducive to putting on overall muscle. This is primarily hitting a large muscle (your back). So once again, this is an important one.


3. If I were limited to doing only one upper body exercise, it would be DIPS.

This is slowly becoming an old-school movement in my opinion, in that I’m seeing less people do it. It’s a shame too because this really is a “king” of an exercise for your upper body.

In fact, many have referred to dips as the “squat for your upper body.” This is another simple exercise. Position yourself between 2 parallel bars. While holding the bars beneath you, push yourself up and down.

This exercise will pack on muscle. It primarily hits your triceps but it also hits your chest, shoulders, and upper traps. It becomes absolute killer if you get strong enough and start doing them with weight added on.

** From my own personal experience, this is the best exercise you can do for your upper body. I attribute my own upper body size and strength to consistently doing dips (weighted and un-weighted) over the years.


4. Barbell Military Press is a “man-maker” exercise.

Another great exercise that I don’t see that many people doing today. Back in the day, guys like Arnold and Franco (Columbu) regarded this as a “man-maker” exercise. This exercise makes you strong… really strong.

You can do these standing or seated. You load up a bar and press it over your head. It really hits your shoulders and is also great for working the top of your upper chest as well.

This is an awesome exercise for developing overall strength and packing on some serious size.


5) Bench Press at various angles.

When I say that the bench press is the most overrated exercise of all time, I am referring to all the individuals I see mindlessly doing flat bench on a Monday and wondering why it’s so hard to make gains.

In order to make bench pressing work for you, you have to work various angles and also use dumbbells/machine variations. Heavy chest pressing movements is the best way to pack muscle onto your chest (hits your overall upper body as well).

Personally, I am a fan of the incline barbell press. For me it hits my upper chest the best, which can be a tricky area to put size on if you are delt dominant (like I am).

These are the 5 King Maker Exercises. In my personal experience, if you really want to put on POUNDS of muscle… you need to incorporate these exercises into your training.

I hear excuses all the time. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Let me tell you something right now, the more you push excuses outside of your reality… the more successful you will be in the gym. Excuses are the building blocks of limits. You should not think of yourself as having any limits.


“Losers make excuses winners make it happen”



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  1. ChrisTHEGREEK
    May 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm — Reply

    Have you tried ring dips? Dips become much harder if you do these, especially if you turn the rings parallel to each other as you dip up.

    • May 28, 2014 at 2:03 am — Reply

      Yes, they are incredibly difficult. People don’t realize how much strength those athletes have.

  2. rad
    May 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm — Reply

    What is your opinion on FST such as what offers versus weight lifting?

    • May 28, 2014 at 2:02 am — Reply

      I think lifting weights naturally puts your body under the most stress and is the quickest way to build muscle.

      Bodyweight exercises are good but if you want to build solid muscle you should def lift weights.

  3. Jake
    May 28, 2014 at 12:50 am — Reply

    Hey Sonny!

    Great article. I am already doing 3 of these!

    I had a question about sleeping with girls in the work place. I’m 24 and work in a restaurant and I know people hook up there but I want to do it in a way were it doesn’t get too crazy. How do you sleep with as many girls without it becoming and issue and gossip? I am leaving the job and the city in 3 months so that might change things.

    • May 28, 2014 at 1:58 am — Reply

      You can’t be like the typical guys today that want to gossip and tell their friends. Chicks do that but today guys do it too.
      You have to keep your mouth shut and keep it between you and the chick.

      It’s kind of hard to bang multiple chicks that work in the restaurant because usually the chick is the one who will make it obvious that “something is up between you two” and sort of scare the other ones away.

  4. Cam..
    May 28, 2014 at 2:47 pm — Reply

    Military press.. kind of stopped doing military presses bcz I feel like raises work my shoulders out better..

    Anyway, my question is: how do I hit my inner triceps? (The part of your arm right under the armpit)?

    Also.. In some article a while back, you said that you’re very delt dominant. How’d you deal with that. I’ve got the same issue and my front delts are getting huge!

    I’d appreciate any advice on this.

    • May 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm — Reply

      I agree raises work out shoulders better. I probably only do 3 sets of presses for an entire workout… everything else is supersetted raises.

      For inner triceps: Do seated 2 arm dumbbell extensions. Seated one arm dumbbell extensions work great too.

      Over time I’ve just mastered my own body to feel an exercise hit a particular part. This is the case with the delts. Also like I mentioned I do a lot of raises for complete isolation.

  5. Anon
    May 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm — Reply

    Good article, I disagree with the dips though. Don’t get me wrong they are a great mass builder for the upper body there’s no doubt about that. But I feel that they are a rare exercise that is (for some people) dangerous even if done correctly. (also assuming that you are doing a heavy enough weight for your strenght level) If they don’t cause you pain then great do them, but I feel like a lot of guys work through pain because they think that’s hardcore. IF YOU FEEL ANY PAIN ON DIPS THEN STOP DOING THEM.

    Do you pause bench or touch n go? You say you’re delt dominant but for me personally pausing for 1 second on my chest really shifts the focus to the chest.
    Keep these articles coming, this Site could be something special.

    • May 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm — Reply

      Yea dips can be tricky. Also depends when you do them.

      Ex. doing them after a chest workout where you have already put the front delts through a lot could put unnecessary stress on them.

      For bench press, I go slow on the negative and as soon as I get about an inch above the chest I explode up on the positive.

      • Anon
        May 29, 2014 at 12:20 pm — Reply

        No reason why you should listen to me but if you aren’t touching your chest and pausing then that would explain why your delts grow better than your chest from flat benching.

        • May 31, 2014 at 7:30 pm — Reply

          It doesn’t happen anymore. I fixed my being delt dominant problem back in 2011 where I can feel everything on the chest.
          Just took me a couple years to master that mind muscle connection for myself.

  6. assman
    May 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm — Reply

    yo what are some good exercises to add size to your forearms. I want that nasty baseball forearm.

    • May 31, 2014 at 7:27 pm — Reply

      I think of forearm exercises being broken up into 2 groups: the top (brachioradialis) and the bottom (pretty much everything else)

      top of the forearm gets worked with: hammer curls, reverse barbell curls, Doing deadifts with an overhand grip… etc.
      bottom of the forearm: seated wrist curls, cable wrist curls, behind the back barbell wrist curls

      Forearms (like calves) get a lot of inadvertent work… So you absolutely need a ton of volume through supersets and high reps in my opinion.
      I keep my reps high… like at least 30 per set.

  7. June 1, 2014 at 5:55 am — Reply

    Yo Sonny what do you to train your back (lats)

  8. June 6, 2014 at 10:28 pm — Reply

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    The 5 Exercises That Will Pack on Muscle – Strength By Sonny

  9. […] course the compound movements will be responsible for building the most overall muscle mass and density. However, if you are completely new to the gym, you’re not ready for […]

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