So, you’re an avid gym-goer. You’re committed to the weekly routine of daily weight workouts, with a couple of days off for rest and recovery. That’s great, but are you incorporating the big moves that will help you with your gains? And Im not just talking-to the men here, women should be lifting just the same. There’s a few key exercises that should be put in your workout regimen to help with overall development, along with symmetry, and shape.
Legs I- Squats:
Yes, the good ol’ squat is awesome for everything, especially the legs and glutes. Its best to start with these fresh after a good warm-up. And, if you have knee issues that doesn’t mean you can’t squat. It just means you may have to alter your foot position, depth of squat, and/or do some other exercises beforehand to strengthen the weak link(s).
Legs II (or Back day) – Deadlifts
A great exercise for the posterior chain (the back, especially lower back, glutes, & hamstrings). Its good to either start with this one on back day or follow it after squats when training legs. Of course, it can be done any time in your workout depending on your goals, but if you want to maximize your efforts for muscle building, you’ll want to do them early when you’re still fresh. Keep in mind, though, this exercise is difficult to do in terms of getting the proper form. Make sure you’ve been instructed (or done some research) on how to do them correctly. Its very easy to hurt yourself if you’re not careful.
Back – Pull ups:
An essential exercise to incorporate. This exercise really reflects how strong your back is; hitting the lats, rhomboids, trapezius, and deltoids (to a lesser degree). Whether you can do any or not, its a great idea to practice them often in order to build the strength to eventually do them. You can do jump pull ups, kneeling pull-ups, negatives (start at the top so your chin is above the bar and try to extend your arms as slow as you can), or half- or partial- reps until you can eventually complete a full rep (or more). I personally don’t like to use the assisted machine because, unless you’re doing it correctly, its hard to mimic your natural movement patterns while using it.
Chest – Incline Bench Press:
I like to incorporate the incline bench press more so over the traditional one. With a low incline setting and wide grip, you can develop more thickness and fullness in the upper chest; for the men, and cleavage; for the women. Either start with a warm up set before getting into your working sets or perform other exercises to warm up the working muscles (ie band pull aparts, arm circles, etc).
Shoulders – Seated Military Press:
Whether you use dumbbells or a barbell, the seated shoulder press is a staple for overall shape and size in your shoulders. Because these muscles tend to have more slow-twitch fibres, they need high volume/short rest periods to encourage growth. In fact, you have to really stress these muscles (there’s three: the front, lateral, and rear) to get sore, let alone grow!
The smaller muscles such as the biceps and triceps get worked while performing the compound movements mentioned above. But to throw in a couple of good exercises to really target them, here they are: free hanging dips for the triceps (try to maintain an upright position with your torso or you can put too much emphasis on your chest) and chin ups for the biceps (when you bring your chin above bar level, try not to bring your chin over the bar; it lessens the stress on the bicep, but instead, just above the bar. If you struggle with chin ups, you can follow the same strategies with pull ups (as stated above) until you can complete full range reps.
Hope these exercises help with your muscle building goals and please share with your friends, if you think they need a switch in their workouts!
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