First of all, lets break it down and explain how we build muscle.
When weights are lifted, micro tears occur in muscle fibres. The body doesn't want damaged muscle fibres, so it repairs them, while at the same time recognising that it needs to adapt to the demands imposed on it, so it can perform the same movement with less effort in the future.
This adaption is in the form of more muscle being built. This is all done in very small amounts and takes a long time.
Our body produces Testosterone to help with this muscle building process. The more testosterone we produce, the stronger and more muscle we can build. Testosterone production is increased when you perform large-muscle-group, free-weight exercises.
These exercises work several muscle groups all at the same time, so take a hell of a lot of energy and effort. As fatigue increases form reduces, therefore its always best to perform them at the beginning of your session, while you're still fresh.
Finally, theres no point putting all that hard work in at the gym if you don't give your body enough protein to be able to repair itself and build that muscle. Aim to have 1-1.5g of protein per pound you weigh. So a 180lbs male requires at least 180g of protein per day while training in order to maintain/build muscle. This also goes hand in hand with eating more calories. You will not build muscle if you are under eating. Simply put- eat more.
1. DEADLIFTS- Deadlifting works more muscles in one go than any other exercise! The main muscles worked are; Lower Back, Upper Back, Traps, Glutes Hamstrings and Quads. Whether your goal is just to add muscle, or increase strength or even burn fat, deadlifts are a must. Good form is essential throughout while deadlifting. Feet hip-width apart, hands gripping the bar on the outside of your legs and back flat from start to finish. Perfect your form using low weights and only when its spot on do you want to start moving up to some big numbers.
2. BENCH PRESS- The bench press is the king of upper body exercises! Working more muscle groups than any other upper body exercise, but specifically targets the Pectorals, Front Delts and Triceps. If you're going heavy then use a spotter or switch to dumbbells, so you can drop them safely if you fail on the final rep. Feet flat either side of the bench and squeeze your lats together, to get as much of your back on the bench as possible. Flat bench targets the whole chest, laying on an incline targets the upper chest and decline targets the lower.
3. SQUATS- The best exercise for whole leg development!! Make no bones about it, a good leg session is tough, and for a lot of 'bros' not seen as necessary, but believe it or not it actually helps with upper body strength and muscle development too. Studies have found that squats and deadlifts increase the release of Growth Hormone and Testosterone more than any other exercise. No leg day is complete without squats.
4. PULL-UPS- Wide grip pull-ups are the standard exercise for back width and creating that upper body 'V' shape. They specifically target the Latissimus Dorsi (lats) the largest muscle in the upper body. There are many different variations to the pull-up, wide grip, close grip, behind neck, but the wider your hands, the more width you will add. If you struggle with wide grip pull-ups, start with lat pull-downs, assisted pull-ups and close grip, then work your way up.
5. ROWS- Bent over, barbell, single arm dumbbell, T-bar, seated cable are all different variations of the row and thicken the middle and outer back. Its important to focus on making your back do the majority of the work and not your biceps. Think of your arms as though they were part of the bar and the only way of transmitting the contraction of your back to the bar. In any back session I do, I make sure there are at least 2 different variations of row in it.
EAT BIG, LIFT BIG, GET BIG!