Deadlifts, bench press, squats, pull-up, military press, etc. Notice anything?
If you said, “these are all exercises for mass”, then you’re a genius and you need not read anymore…just kidding.
But why these particular exercises?
Well, did you notice that these exercises are usually the ones you go most heavy on? Deadlifts and squats especially have athletes going as high as 800 pounds. 800 pounds!
How is that even possible? Here’s a small example:
Think about the last time you did cable flys. Let’s say you went up to 40 pounds each hand (which is respectable). Now think back to bench press, how heavy? 225?
225 pounds vs. 80 pounds. That’s a big difference.
But not surprising. You’re able to lift more with bench press because you’re using more of your chest. The bench press utilizes most of the muscle group to lift the weight and thus it’s an example of a mass exercise.
Cable flys on the other hand (depending on your positioning), either focus the upper, mid or lower chest. Cable flys are an example of a detail exercise.
Just as you predicted, these exercises perfect the muscle group by focusing on detailing. For chest, examples would include: cable flys, chest dips and dumbbell pullovers.
Since mass exercises utilize more muscle than detail exercises, it’s no surprise that they are your go to exercises for all around size and thickness.
A way to figure out which exercise is for detail or mass, take a look at the weight. The heavier the weight, the more likely you’re performing a mass exercise.
If two exercises are separated by 100 pounds, then it’s obvious which ones are which. However, it’s always good to know them in the back of your head so that you can plan out your workout before you get into the gym.
Here’s a good way to think of it:
Mass exercises make you look good with a shirt on. Detail exercises make you look good without a shirt on.
Always remember however that both are equally important.
Both are important for an aesthetic look and every workout will utilize both. Me personally, I like to include 3 mass exercises and 2 detail exercises per muscle group.
Not more than 5 exercises however…but that’s an article for another time 🙂
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