Fitness Tips

Big Muscles, Little Equipment

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When you’re building bigger muscles, you will likely use most of the strength training equipment at Gold’s Gym. You believe that doing so will make your muscles grow larger in a shorter period. But this isn’t actually the case. You don’t have to use most of the strength training equipment since your choice should depend on your physical condition and fitness goals.  You can actually build larger muscles by using just three pieces of exercise equipment!

#1 Know the Equipment

When entering a gym, you should zero in on these three pieces of equipment first. You can add other types when you want to add variety to your workouts but it starts here.

Adjustable bench

You should look for a stable, solid and well-padded adjustable bench because you can use it in several ways. Your adjustable bench should also offer multiple decline and incline positions, which will add variety. For example, a 90-degree angle offers a great platform for performing overhead presses while tossing your foot on the bench allows for Bulgarian split squats.

Adjustable dumbbells

You can use a full rack of dumbbells in the gym but it can be such a chore going back and forth. Instead, you can use adjustable dumbbells for convenience, especially when you’re doing sueprsets and dropsets in your workouts (i.e., quick changes). You will find that dumbbells are best in stimulating more muscle fibers for two reasons: (1) they provide a longer range of motion in comparison with a barbell; and (2) they are more difficult to stabilize.

Pull up/dip tower

You can use your bodyweight in performing pull-up variations and a few versions of the dip. You will then be able to build larger muscles in your back (pull-ups), as well as your pectorals and triceps (dips).

Now that you have identified the three pieces of exercise equipment, your next step is planning your workout using them.

#2 Plan the 3-day Workout Split

Before planning your 3-day workout split, you must first assess your physical condition and fitness goals. You will be better able to adjust your exercises when you’re aware of these factors.

A few tips to consider:

  • Decrease your between-set rest periods in case you have already reached your highest weight on the dumbbells. You can increase carried-over fatigue and, thus, still reach your progressive overload level.
  • Use low-rest supersets to increase your workout’s intensity while still keeping your joints safe.
  • Add a dip belt or loaded backpack when performing pull-ups. This will add more upper body muscles using your bodyweight only.
  • Always perform warm-up and cool-down exercises.

You can also ask a personal trainer about the workout split when you’re in doubt. Safety is always foremost while workouts efficiency comes in a close second.

The 3-day workout split recommended by experts using just the above-mentioned three pieces of equipment is as follows:

Chest and back

  • Incline dumbbell press 4 sets, 8-10 reps. Add supersets with the next exercise.
  • Bent over two-dumbbell row 4 sets, 8-10 reps before resting for 90 seconds.
  • Dips for the chest versions 4 sets, 10 reps and rest for 90 seconds. Use dip belt, if necessary. Breaking each set into manageable segment can also be done, in case you can’t perform 10 reps in succession.
  • Pull-ups 4 sets, 10 reps and rest for 90 seconds. Added weight may also be necessary. Break up the 10 pull-ups, if you want to as well.
  • Dumbbell flyes 4 sets, 12 reps and rest for 60 seconds.
  • Bent-arm dumbbell pullover 4 sets, 12 reps and rest for 60 seconds.


  • Jump squats for pumping your muscles. 5 sets, 5 reps. Superset with the next exercise.
  • Goblet squats for hitting your glutes and quads. 5 sets, 5 reps and rest for 90 seconds.
  • Romanian deadlifts for building your hamstrings and glutes. 5 sets, 10 reps and rest for 90 seconds.
  • Alternating dumbbells lunges for your leg muscles, too. Dumbbell rear lunge on alternate legs 5 sets, 10 reps per leg and rest for 90 seconds. Standing dumbbell calf raise on single leg 4 sets, 20 reps per leg and rest for 60 seconds.

Shoulders and Arms

  • Seated dumbbell press 4 sets, 1-10 reps and rest for 90 seconds
  • Side lateral raise 3 sets, 10-12 reps. Triset for the next two exercises.
  • Front two-dumbbell raise 3 sets, 10-12 reps. Triset for the next two exercises.
  • Seated bent-over rear delt raise. 3 sets, 10-12 reps and rest for 90 seconds,
  • Seated triceps press 4 sets, 8-10 reps.

After a few weeks of this workout program, you will see the difference in terms of larger muscles. Of course, you have to combine these exercises with a healthy diet, sensible lifestyle habits, and perhaps muscle-building supplements.  You should also perform cardiovascular exercises for best results.