Most of us gym-going-gays will tend to fall into one of two categories: those who want to slim down, and those who want to get bigger. If you’re the latter, then endless hours of bicep curls are not going to help you achieve the bigger frame you’re dreaming of.

While we could say that in order to look big you need to bulk up all your muscles – we promise we won’t talk about compound movements again – there is a more strategic option. And it’s not technically cheating, it’s just prioritising the muscle groups that are responsible for most of that bigger, highly-defined look.

Upper body

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1. Pectoral muscles

What a surprise, we’re starting with the chest, but let’s be honest, a bigger chest looks and feels great. Not only will it help to fill out your total frame, it will be more motivating than, say, training your calves (which you should do too… but we’ll get to them later).

The bench press is a classic for a reason, as this kind of compound movement (whoops, sorry) is great for developing both the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscles. Be sure to vary the angle of your bench press, working an incline and a decline to hit those pecs from all angles. Then throw in a set of light dumbbell flyes after each set and you’re well on your way to a bulkier body.

2. Lats

The Latissimus dorsi is the large set of muscles along the upper back, often known as the “swimmers muscles” as they’re highly developed in high-level swimmers. The best exercise for developing the lats is a lat pulldown (the clue is right there in the name). Mix it up with some bent over lat rows by attaching a bar to the cable machine.

3. Delts

Another set of shoulder muscles, the delts are the big, compound shoulder muscles that include the front, middle and rear deltoids. They compliment the chest muscles and will give you a really powerful upper-body look. Grab a barbell or some dumbbells and rep out some upright rows and raises (side and lateral) to nicely bulk up the shoulders.

4. Traps

Traps – or trapezius muscles – are the fan-like muscles that spread around the back and sides of your neck. Sometimes they look a little over-pronounced in serious bodybuilders, but a well-toned set of traps will really change the shape of your frame. (Think of Disney’s Gaston breaking that belt with his neck. He totally worked on his traps before eating 4 dozen eggs for breakfast… possibly taking it too far).

The bent over row is a good trap-developing exercise and one that you’re probably doing in your back workout anyway.

Lower body

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Never skip leg day, the cardinal gym rule you can never forget. There’s little point in adding bulk to your upper body if you neglect your lower body. Not only will it make you look out of proportion, but it can also have a serious impact on your health, posture, and back. Plus you can’t get a perky butt with training legs!

5. Quads

Quads are the muscles at the front of your thigh, making them the most prominent and arguably the most important leg muscles in order to look bigger. So get over to the squat rack and start working those quads with some squats. Keep your legs no farther than shoulder-width apart to really focus the effort on the quads rather than relying on your glutes.

6. Calves

The calves – which include the gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles – are notoriously difficult to add size to. So don’t get too disheartened if it doesn’t look like your knee swallowed a grapefruit after a couple of leg workouts. Calves are built up with any exercises where you push against weight with the front of your foot. I.e. with the heels raised. This could be as simple as doing some standing heel raises, or walking around in a pair of high heels.

7. Glutes

THE BUTT! The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. We’re all after a nice, round, firm butt. And it’s a simple as incorporating wide-leg squats, deadlifts, bridges, and hip extensions into your leg workout… ok maybe that’s not quite so simple.

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Check out our “Bubble Butt Workout” for more details.

Gay Fitness Challenge 2018

If you’re still struggling to add some size, why not sign up for our next Gay Fitness Challenge? Work towards your own goal, with a training and nutrition program specially designed for you. You can train alone or take part in gay group exercise classes, and you’ll have the support of fellow gay guys who are going through the same thing you are.