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7 Best Strength Training Exercises for Men to Bulk up Fast

Achieve the buff, built-up physique of your dreams.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Developing a buff, muscle-bound physique is a common goal for men looking to get into shape. Unfortunately, there's a lot of misguided advice about how to go about building muscle in an effective and efficient way. The truth is, building a muscular physique is simple in theory and practice. You need to lift weights and use exercises that hit the major muscle groups in your body. So today, we're walking you through seven of the best strength exercises for men to bulk up fast.

Compound movements are the way to go, as they hit multiple muscle groups using a functional pattern that transfers to both muscle growth and performance in other activities. You need to lift with a weight that's heavy enough that muscle failure will occur between eight and 12 repetitions for optimal muscle growth.

The following are our top seven strength exercises for men to bulk up fast. Perform three sets of each exercise for eight to 12 repetitions. You can split these up into multiple workouts, or perform them in one session. We recommend doing this workout two times a week, or as many times as it takes to get a total of six "working sets" over the course of each week. Take rest days between workouts, but do not allow more than 2 days to pass before doing the next workout.

Keep reading to learn more about the below seven strength exercises for men to bulk up fast. And next, don't miss 5 Exercises Men Should Do Every Day to Stay Fit.


man performing barbell deadlift, concept of exercises for men to bulk up

The deadlift is a lower-body and back exercise that builds massive glutes, quads, hamstrings, and a thick, muscular torso. You can perform different variations of deadlifts including Romanian deadlifts, which limit motion at the knees and focus on motion at the hips; standard deadlifts, which involve equal knee bend and hip bend; and sumo deadlifts with a wide stance, which focus on the glutes and inner thighs.

The following is the proper technique for a standard deadlift. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with a racked barbell positioned over the middle of your feet. Bend at the hips and knees to grasp the barbell with an overhand or alternating grip, ensuring your hands are shoulder-width apart. Engage your core, and keep your spine in a braced, neutral position as you lift the barbell by extending your hips and knees simultaneously. Stand tall at the top of the movement before lowering the barbell back to the ground. Repeat for the target repetitions.


muscular man at the gym doing barbell back squats, concept of exercises for men to bulk up

Next up in our strength exercises for men to bulk up fast is a barbell back squat. Squats are a must-do exercise for a built lower body. Impressive quads, glutes, calves, and abs are just a few of the benefits of performing squats. For muscle building, barbell back squats are preferable, because they allow a lot of weight to be loaded for maximal muscle stimulation.

To perform barbell back squats, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the barbell resting on your upper back. Take a deep breath, engage your core, and lower yourself by bending at the hips and knees, keeping your chest up and back straight. Descend until your thighs are parallel to the ground or lower, if possible. Push through your full foot to return to a standing position. Keep your chest up, and do not allow your torso to lean forward. Repeat for the target repetitions.

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Bench Press

mature man doing dumbbell bench press, exercise to get rid of a fat abdomen

Bench pressing is a classic exercise that primarily hits your chest muscles, with some shoulder and triceps as well. Dumbbell bench presses, specifically, allow the deepest range of motion.

To perform a dumbbell bench press, lie on a flat bench, with your feet firmly on the ground and a dumbbell held in each hand next to your chest. Press the dumbbells up until your arms are locked out. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.


man doing pull-ups outdoors for exercises to prevent a dad bod by 40

Pull-ups are a must for building a muscular upper back, lats, and arms. Perform wide grip to focus on building a wide back, reverse grip for targeting the mid back and arms, or parallel grip for a mix of each.

To perform pull-ups, hang onto a pull-up bar with your selected grip. Retract your shoulder blades, and engage your lats. Pull your body up toward the bar, leading with your chest and keeping your elbows close to your body. Aim to hit your chest to the bar. Lower yourself back down to a dead hang under control. Repeat for the target repetitions.

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Military Press

man doing military press exercise

The military press, also called an overhead press, is a great way to build massive shoulder muscles and also improve your overhead mobility. Performing these with a barbell allows a lot of weight to be lifted while still keeping a good range of motion. If your shoulders bug you, try performing the presses with dumbbells instead.

To perform a military press, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell at your upper chest with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width. Engage your core, and press the barbell overhead, extending your arms fully. Keep your head and neck neutral, moving them back slightly as the barbell passes your face. Lower the barbell back to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Bent-Over Row

fitness man doing barbell row at the gym

Bent-over rows are another major upper-back muscle-building exercise. This move is great for developing a very thick upper torso and defined muscles on your upper back. Use an overhand grip for more lat targeting or a reverse grip for more mid-back targeting. The reverse grip is also a bit easier on the shoulders if you tend to struggle with shoulder issues.

To perform a bent-over row, stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart, holding a barbell with an overhand or underhand grip. Hinge at your hips, maintaining a braced, neutral spine, until your torso is nearly parallel to the ground. Row the barbell toward your lower chest, keeping your elbows close to your body during the movement. Lower the barbell back down in a controlled manner until it is just above the ground. Repeat for the target repetitions.

Barbell Bicep Curls

muscular man doing barbell bicep curls, concept of exercises for men to bulk up

This list of the best strength exercises for men to bulk up fast wraps up with barbell bicep curls. While barbell curls are not a compound movement, they are a good addition to the end of a fitness regimen to add some extra bicep work and help develop python-like arms that will bust sleeves and turn heads.

To perform barbell bicep curls, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell with an underhand grip. Keep your elbows tight to your sides and your upper arms stationary. Curl the barbell toward your chest, contracting your biceps with a strong mind-muscle connection. Slowly reverse the position until your elbows are straight. Repeat for the target repetitions.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler