Basic Multi-Joint Exercises - The Best for Increasing Muscle Mass

Multi-joint exercises are all exercises that include more than one joint in the movement. These exercises are ideal for improving the strength indicators of the whole body.

Including multi-joint exercises in your training routines will muscle hypertrophy and improve maximum breathing capacity.

This article describes the five best multi-joint exercises, how to do them, and their effects on increasing muscle mass.

Basic multi-joint exercises What are the best 5?

Multi-joint exercises can be divided into the lower body and the upper body.

Within the entire range of exercises, professional trainers have defined five basic multi-joint exercises as the best to increase muscle mass.

Sports technicians ensure that this exercise provides the complete and integral work of both the lower and upper body. The best five basic multi-joint practices are:

  1. Barbell Deadlift / Deadlift

The barbell deadlift is one of the quintessential exercises to strengthen the legs and lower back. This essential multi-joint exercise has the advantage of working the midsection, legs, and lats simultaneously. Performing about 5 or 7 repetitions of the deadlift will stimulate both the synthesis of testosterone and the work of the muscle fibers of the lower trunk.

  1. Bench press/chest press

The bench press works your chest muscles and your midsection and triceps. For this fact, it is included as one of the basic multi-joint exercises. Learning the correct technique for this exercise is essential to avoid neck injuries.

  1. Barbell Squats / Squats

The barbell squats are vital for developing leg muscles, including the quadriceps, buttocks, and calves. In addition, with a good technique, the powers of the abdomen and the shoulders are worked.

  1. Press Militar con barra / Military press

The barbell military press (also known as the “front barbell press”) is considered the most effective essential exercise for working the shoulder muscles, improving posture, and strengthening the abdominal muscles.

Because it allows working the different upper body areas, this exercise is considered one of the basic multi-joint exercises. You should never lean forward or back; the abdominal muscles should always be tight.

  1. Horizontal barbell row / Row

The horizontal barbell row is considered one of the basic exercises to develop the strength of the muscles of the back and legs. The back muscles are among the largest muscle groups; the shoulders, abs, and forearms are also worked with the correct horizontal rowing technique. For this reason, it is also included in the category of basic multi-joint exercises.

Are basic multi-joint exercises the best to increase muscle mass?

Studies (2) (3) confirm that basic multi-joint exercises are the most effective for increasing muscle mass.

Increasing testosterone levels and other hormones related to muscle growth are considered one of the main benefits of basic multi-joint exercises.

Men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to gain muscle mass. Research has clearly shown that muscle growth is closely related to hormones and training (1).

We remember that taking anabolic steroids and other drugs that alter hormonal levels has severe complications in terms of health. Including basic multi-joint exercises in routines and a volume, diet is enough to achieve this.

Essential multiarticular vs. isolation vs. aerobic exercises

The combination of aerobic and isolation exercises (a traditional 3-day-a-week gym routine and running) is the classic strategy for increasing muscle mass.

However, new training methods that include basic multi-joint exercises (such as CrossFit and other types of circuit training ) have challenged these techniques.

Research published in Frontiers in Physiology has confirmed that one of the benefits of basic multi-joint exercises versus isolation exercises + aerobic exercises is to increase maximum breathing capacity – VO2 max. Regarding the changes in the figure, no significant differences were observed. (4)

Tips when doing basic multi-joint exercises

If you find yourself stuck in the gym, this may be because your muscles have become used to repeating the same exercises every time. Basic multi-joint exercises can be the solution to this problem.

However, we remember that this exercise is not recommended without prior preparation or adaptation. A beginner is advised to perform basic multi-joint activities with a trainer’s help and an emphasis on technique.

Otherwise, injuries are likely to occur primarily in the lower back. The pain in the lumbar area is frequent when mistakes are made in the art.

Finally, strict diets, such as the keto diet, are not a good combination with the five basic multi-joint exercises. Levels of the stress hormone ( cortisol ) are likely to rise to such an extent that a drop in performance or overtraining syndrome may occur.


  • The five basic multi-joint exercises are the deadlift, squats, bench press, military press, and horizontal barbell row.
  • The word multi-joint refers to the fact that several joints are exercised simultaneously.
  • Professional trainers recommend this set of exercises to sculpt an athletic and muscular body.
  • Including basic multi-joint exercises in the routines is essential to stimulate the synthesis of hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone.
  • The effect of basic multi-joint exercises on body composition is equivalent to that of a traditional gym routine + aerobic exercises. However, in the first case, the maximum respiratory capacity increases.


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