10 Best Weight Gain Exercises To Improve Your Muscle Mass

weight gain exercise

Weight gain exercises play a pivotal role in building muscle mass effectively. Achieving a healthy weight gain requires a strategic combination of exercises that target different muscle groups, coupled with a balanced diet. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast looking to optimize muscle growth, incorporating the right exercises into your routine is key. Here, we’ve curated a comprehensive guide outlining proven exercises that can significantly aid in your journey towards gaining muscle mass.

Why You Can’t Gain Weight?

Gaining weight can be influenced by various factors. Here are some common reasons why someone might struggle to gain weight:

  • Caloric Intake: Not consuming enough calories compared to what your body needs for weight gain can hinder progress. If you’re not eating in a calorie surplus (consuming more calories than you burn), it can be challenging to gain weight.
  • Genetics: Genetic factors play a role in body composition. Some people naturally have a leaner build or find it harder to gain muscle mass due to genetic predispositions.
  • Physical Activity: High levels of physical activity, especially intense cardiovascular exercises, can burn a significant amount of calories, making it harder to maintain a calorie surplus necessary for weight gain.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions or underlying health issues, such as hyperthyroidism, digestive disorders, or metabolic conditions, might affect weight gain.

Top 10 Weight Gain Exercises

To build body mass effectively, focus on compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Here are some of the best weight gain exercises for building overall body mass:

1.Squats: The Foundation of Muscle Growth

weight gain exercise

Squats stand as the cornerstone of muscle-building exercises. They engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, primarily focusing on the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. The intensity and variations possible with squats make them indispensable for muscle gain. Incorporating barbell squats, goblet squats, and front squats into your routine ensure comprehensive lower body development.

2. Deadlifts: Total Body Strengthening

weight gain exercise

Deadlifts are unparalleled in their ability to engage the entire body. They target the back, glutes, hamstrings, and even the core muscles. As a compound movement, deadlifts promote overall strength and muscle gain. Variations like sumo deadlifts and Romanian deadlifts offer versatility in targeting specific muscle groups while ensuring balanced development.

3. Bench Press: Upper Body Powerhouse

weight gain exercise

For upper body muscle development, the bench press reigns supreme. It primarily engages the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Incorporating variations such as incline bench press and dumbbell bench press allows for targeting different areas of the chest and shoulders, ensuring well-rounded growth.

4. Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups: Back and Arm Strengthening

weight gain exercise

Pull-ups and chin-ups are fundamental for back and arm development. These compound exercises engage the back, biceps, and forearms, promoting both strength and muscle gain. Variations like wide-grip, narrow-grip, or weighted pull-ups provide progressive overload, facilitating continuous muscle growth.

5. Bent-Over Rows: Back Thickness and Strength

weight gain exercise

Bent-over rows effectively target the back muscles, particularly the lats and rhomboids. This exercise improves back thickness and strength, crucial for a well-defined and strong upper body. Implementing variations like T-bar rows or single-arm dumbbell rows ensures comprehensive development.

6. Overhead Press: Shoulder and Triceps Development

weight gain exercise

The overhead press is essential for building shoulder and triceps strength. It engages the deltoids and triceps, promoting muscle growth in the upper body. Including seated overhead presses or Arnold presses adds variety and allows for targeting different parts of the shoulder muscles.

7. Dips: Chest, Triceps, and Shoulder Workout

weight gain exercise

Dips are excellent for targeting the chest, triceps, and shoulders simultaneously. This bodyweight exercise helps in developing upper body strength and muscle mass. Adding weight to dips or experimenting with different grips intensifies the workout, facilitating muscle gain.

8. Lunges: Lower Body Stability and Strength

weight gain exercise

Lunges are exceptional for lower body stability and strength. They primarily work on the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, aiding in muscle development. Implementing walking lunges, reverse lunges, or Bulgarian split squats diversifies the stimulus on leg muscles, contributing to overall growth.

9. Leg Press: Quadriceps and Glute Activation

weight gain exercise

The leg press is a targeted exercise for the quadriceps and glutes. It provides a different stimulus compared to squats, allowing for variation in training. Adjusting foot placement and experimenting with unilateral leg presses ensures comprehensive development of lower body muscles.

10. Barbell Curls: Biceps Isolation

weight gain exercise

Barbell curls are quintessential for biceps isolation and development. They target the biceps brachii, aiding in building arm strength and size. Incorporating variations such as preacher curls or alternating dumbbell curls diversifies the training, promoting balanced biceps growth.

Crafting A Weight Gain Exercise Routine

Crafting a weight gain exercise routine involves focusing on workouts that stimulate muscle growth and strength. Here’s a sample routine:

Day 1: Upper Body

Bench Press: 4 sets x 8-10 reps

Pull-Ups/Assisted Pull-Ups: 4 sets x 6-8 reps

Overhead Press: 3 sets x 8-10 reps

Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets x 10-12 reps each arm

Triceps Dips: 3 sets x 8-10 reps

Day 2: Lower Body

Squats: 4 sets x 8-10 reps

Deadlifts: 4 sets x 6-8 reps

Lunges: 3 sets x 10-12 reps each leg

Leg Press: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Calf Raises: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Day 3: Rest or Active Recovery

Day 4: Upper Body

Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups: 4 sets x 6-8 reps

Incline Bench Press: 4 sets x 9-10 reps

Seated Rows: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Shoulder Press: 3 sets x 8-10 reps

Biceps Curls: 3 sets x 8-10 reps

Day 5: Lower Body

Deadlifts: 4 sets x 6-8 reps

Leg Press: 4 sets x 8-10 reps

Walking Lunges: 3 sets x 10-12 reps each leg

Hamstring Curls: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Calf Raises: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Day 6-7: Rest or Active Recovery


  • Progressive Overload: Gradually increase weights as you get stronger to challenge your muscles.
  • Form is Key: Focus on proper form to prevent injuries and effectively target muscles.
  • Rest and Recovery: Muscles grow during rest, so ensure you have adequate sleep and rest days between workouts.
  • Nutrition: Consume a calorie surplus with a balanced diet rich in protein, carbs, and healthy fats to support muscle growth.

What Exercise To Avoid

weight gain exercise

When aiming to gain weight through muscle mass, there aren’t necessarily exercises to avoid, but rather approaches or habits to consider:

  • Excessive Cardio: While cardiovascular exercises are beneficial for overall health, excessive cardio can burn a lot of calories, making it harder to maintain a calorie surplus needed for weight gain. Moderation in cardio can help balance weight gain goals with cardiovascular health.
  • Ignoring Strength Training: If weight gain is the goal, solely focusing on cardiovascular exercises without incorporating strength training might limit muscle growth. Including resistance or weight training helps stimulate muscle development.
  • Overtraining: Excessive exercise without adequate rest can hinder muscle growth. Muscles need time to recover and grow after workouts, so sufficient rest days between workouts are crucial.
  • Poor Nutrition: While not an exercise, neglecting proper nutrition can hinder weight gain. Not consuming enough calories or lacking essential nutrients can slow down muscle growth even with a solid workout routine.
  • Improper Form: Performing exercises with incorrect form can lead to injury, which could hinder your progress. Ensure proper technique in all exercises to prevent setbacks.
  • Neglecting Compound Exercises: Focusing solely on isolation exercises and neglecting compound movements might limit overall muscle development. Compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups and are vital for overall strength and size.


Effective weight gain exercises play a pivotal role in achieving desired muscle mass and overall body weight. Incorporating a well-rounded workout routine that includes resistance training, compound exercises, and adequate rest is crucial for stimulating muscle growth. Consistency in training, progressive overload, and proper nutrition are fundamental factors in a successful weight gain journey. By committing to a balanced exercise regimen and focusing on exercises targeting various muscle groups, individuals can significantly contribute to their weight gain goals in a healthy and sustainable manner.

Remember, it’s not just about the numbers on the scale; it’s about nurturing your body towards a healthier, stronger version of yourself.

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