As we look to build more muscles, hitting the gym is the first thought that comes to our mind!!!
Joining the gym helps you to build a good physique and gain muscles throughout your body. However, you need to understand how it works?
Here are the 10 best exercises for muscle building that will help you to increase your muscles.
What you must know? You are not going to build muscles with simple dumbbell curls or a few bench presses. You have to prepare a routine for muscle building, which shall consist of both compound and isolation exercises.
There are certain exercises that should be a default to your workout routine. These exercises work perfectly to target specific large muscle groups and involve other muscles too.
Here are the 10 best exercises for Muscle Building:
Deadlifts are the best strength building exercise that you can add to your routine. It impacts a lot of your muscle groups, which include back muscles, glutes and legs. It is one among the very few exercises that work for both lower body and upper body strength. The deadlifts are generally performed with a barbell.
- Stand with your shin close to the barbell. Do not move the barbell, instead adjust yourself.
- Bent down to grip the barbell by grabbing it just outside your legs, without bending them. You are not needed to lock your knees.
- Bring your shin closer to the barbell; this will lower your hips allowing you to get into the deadlift position.
- Squeeze your chest out, this shall help you to straighten up your arms and back as well. You must feel the weight of the barbell in your hands. While you move your chest out, you knees too can bend out a little.
- Lastly, drag the barbell up to your body, till it gets to the level of your hips. Stand straight keeping your knees and hips locked. Make sure the hips and shoulders rise at the same time. Never look to tilt your upper body, this can lead to muscle imbalances and muscle injury.
Maintaining the form of a deadlift is important to reduce any kind of risks for injuries. Deadlifts recruit more muscles than any other exercise and it engages all major muscle groups. This makes it essential to be added to your muscle building routine.
2. Back Squats
Squats can be another great addition to your workout routine. It is a compound exercise that impacts the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and lower back. It activates lower body muscles and thus, helps you to gain muscles throughout your lower body. Squats can be performed with a barbell and can be loaded up with more weights to increase the intensity.
- Take a shoulder-width stance under the rack and allow the barbell to rest on the back of your shoulders. Grip the bar with the classic grip and take it off the rack.
- Maintain the tension that is felt after picking up the weight. Move back a little to avoid obstruction.
- Keep your toes pointed outwards, it allows you to bend your knees without losing the balance. The heels at all times should be stable on the ground, do not raise it.
- Begin to lower your body, by bending your knees and hips. Keep your chest out and back straight. Go lower till you get into a similar position of sitting on a small chair. Keep your chest out at all time, without allowing it to fall.
- Push back up, driving through your heels, following it by the chest and pushing your hips forward to stand straight. Use your glutes to help you get into the starting position.
- Keep breathing in as you get into the squat position and breathing out as you get to the top position.
The steps also include certain tips that you need to follow while performing the exercise. Keep in mind, form of the exercise has a major impact on the results. It also prevents any kind of muscle imbalances or muscle injury. Squats are rightfully the best exercise for increasing muscles and gaining strength in the lower body.
3. Bench Press
Bench presses are one of the most common chest building exercises. It helps to build the chest muscles, the triceps and the front deltoids (front shoulders). It is a heavy weight exercise and can be performed using a dumbbell or barbell. The smith machine can also be used to perform the exercise; it gives the same movement as barbell, but makes the exercise a little easier. There are variations of bench presses that you can use i.e. inclined bench press to lay more emphasis on upper chest muscles and decline bench press for lower chest muscles.
- Start by selecting a weight that you are comfortable with. Lie down on the bench with your foot flat on the floor.
- Grab the barbell at a distance little more than shoulder-width and take it off the rack. Start lifting it.
- Lower the barbell till your elbows get down to form an angle of 900. Remember the lower movement in the lift has to be explosive.
- Push the barbell back till your hands get straighten, this shall complete one rep. You can add more weight as you move further to increase the benefits from it.
Although bench presses are specifically preferred with barbells, you can use dumbbells too. If you are not comfortable with free weights, it is recommended that you use the smith machine. Get an idea about the movement of the exercise before implementing it. This shall help you to prevent any kind of injuries.
4. Front Squats
Similar to Back Squats the front Squats too become a great lower body exercise. However, the barbell here is placed on the front side of your shoulder. It helps you to strengthen your legs and hips. This includes particularly your thigh muscles (quadriceps) and the butt muscles (glutes). It is a more spine friendly exercise and helps you to get into an upright posture.
- Set the bar on the rack at a height from where it becomes easy to lift it and load it with weights you are comfortable with.
- Stand close to the bar making sure it is at your chest height. Position yourself at the center of the bar and step under the bar. This will bring the bar to rest on your front shoulders.
- Grip the bar with a classic grip, lock the bar on your shoulder and make sure it doesn’t get off balance. Move back from the rack.
- Stand with a width-stance of your shoulder, toes pointing outside. It is advised to start with lightweights to get the feel of the exercise.
- Bend your knees and lower your body. Make sure your back is straight as you go down till your thighs become parallel to the floor. Also keep your core tight to prevent any imbalances.
- Push up driving through your feet and push yourself back into the upright position. Heels at all-time should be one the floor to prevent any kind of imbalances. This completes the rep.
As the barbell is on your front shoulders, it shifts the center of mass forward. This allows you to be more upright. The muscle tensions shifts to your quadriceps from your glutes. Thus, it becomes an effective quad strength building exercise and helps to gain muscles in your thighs. It is recommended to start with light weights to get the feel of the motion and perform the reps accordingly.
5. Trap Bar Deadlifts
It is an alternate version of the traditional deadlift. It has become popular, because it works several lower body muscles group, without causing stress on your back. It works the glutes, lower back, quadriceps, hamstrings, traps, abdominal muscles and increases your grip strength as well. It is comparatively safer, because of the hex design. It allows you to lift heavier weights without straining yourself.
- Load up the trap bar with weights you are comfortable with. Get in the center of the bar and grip them at the handles.
- Lower your hips by bending your knees to get into the squat position. Keep your back straight and chest out.
- Lift the weight up by driving through your heels, pushing your hips and knees upward. Get in the upright position.
- Once the weight is at the level of your hips, lower it slowly back to the ground in a controlled way. This completes one rep.
The trap bar deadlifts are recommended for beginners, as it makes the movement a lot easier. This allows the lifter to lift more weight as compared to traditional deadlifts. Moreover, as you do not have to deal with the position factor similar to traditional deadlifts, your performance increases.
6. Standing Overhead Press
Overhead press is a heavy weight training exercise that has different variations. It is performed by standing straight. The weight is pressed straight upwards from your shoulders till your arms lock out overhead. Also making sure your legs, back and hips stay balanced.
It is a great compound exercise to build strong, muscular and healthy shoulders and arms. But, it also helps to develop a strong core and gain lower back strength.
- Stand below the rack and bring the bar onto your shoulders. Keep in mind the barbell has to be lifted on the clavicle (collarbone).
- Keep your hands next to your shoulders and grip with a classic grip.
- Now, press the bar over your head, keeping it balanced over your shoulders and mid-foot. Remember, the barbell has to be pushed overhead in a straight line.
- Push till your elbows get locked out overhead. Keep in mind the bar, the shoulder and the front of your hip should be in an alignment, at the end movement of the exercise.
Overhead press is one great exercise; the impact of this exercise is visible on upper body and lower body muscles. It is the ultimate weight exercise, as it allows you to add heavier weights. It has also been a part of the Olympic Games for a long time now. It helps you to gain strength by growing more muscles and increase your power.
7. Leg Press
Leg press exercise is another great weight training exercise that should be a part of your routine. Here the individual pushes a weight or resistance away from the body using the legs. Leg press is associated with a machine or equipment that is used to perform the exercise. This exercise works to strengthen the leg muscles that include knees, thighs, calves, glutes, hamstrings, etc.
- Adjust the weights of the machine to what is comfortable for you. Sit on the seat, with your hips, back and head resting completely on the pad.
- Place your feet on the foot-pad with a hip-width stance for beginners, make sure the heels are flat on the footpad.
- Adjust the seat accordingly, to ensure your knees are in line with your feet.
- Remove the safeties and start lowering the knees towards your chest, till the knees form an angle of 900. Press back to get back to the starting position.
- Keep your back and hips stable on the platform, bad posture or motion might cause problems and lead to injuries.
It is a weight lifting exercise, thus, form plays an important role while doing the exercise. Keep the movement slow and intense; do not focus on the number of reps or weights you are lifting. If any kind of pain is felt, refer to a trainer to help you correct your form and offer additional advice.
8. Barbell Rows
Barbell rows, being a full body compound exercise work your upper back, lower back, hips and arms.The exercise is done as an assistance exercise to increase the impacts of squats, bench press, deadlifts, etc. It helps to build strong back muscles and get big biceps.
- Choose the barbell with a weight you are comfortable with. Stand close to the barbell with your mid-foot under the bar, with a hip-width stance.
- Bend down and grab the bar just outside your legs, keeping your hips high and knees slightly bent.
- Lift by keeping your chest out and straighten your back. Stick your arms to the armpits as you generate tension, this helps to activate your lats.
- Pull the barbell up, by bending your elbows till they form an angle of 900 and the barbell reaches your lower chest. You must feel the stretch on your shoulders and not on the biceps.
With barbell rows, you are lifting weights with the help of your back and shoulders. So, the form becomes very important. Bad form might lead to imbalances, which will cause injuries.
9. Pull ups
Pull ups is another very effective compound exercise; it involves a lot of muscle groups. The major focus of this exercise is on the latissimusdorsi, traps, rhomboids, deltoids, etc.
Along with working out different muscle groups, pull ups is also a multi-joint movement exercise. It helps to build muscles, get stronger and gain strength to pick heavy weights.
- Grip the bar with your hands just outside your shoulder-width. Grip the bar with your palms, have a full grip on the bar.
- Start hanging with your arms extended completely. You can bend your knees to increase the intensity.
- Pull up till your chin crosses the bar and your chest gets close to the bar. Head should be straight looking forward.
- Get back slowly to the original position by performing the full extension again. This completes one rep.
Pull ups are a great body weight exercise that helps you to build strength to pick heavier weights. The intensity of the exercise can be increased by adding weights or resistance. Doing pull ups also help you to correct your body posture and get the perfect physique.
10. Bar Dips
Dips are an exercise performed for strength training. This exercise is very effective for increasing the size of the triceps and get bigger chest. The bar dips are the most common form of dips. But you can also look for other versions to increase the intensity and results.
- Set the bars at a shoulder width distance or little more than it.
- Grip with your palms towards your body and start by extending your arms and push down into the bars.
- Drop your chest forward and bend your elbows till it forms an angle of 900. The shoulders can get lower than the elbows.
- Keep your elbows close to the body, as you get lower.
- Push back again by thrusting your legs and pushing upward with your arms getting into a full extension. This completes your one rep.
Position of the bar dips can be varied to emphasize a particular muscle. Tilt your body forward to work out your chest or keep it upright to lay more emphasis on triceps. You can also look for machines available that assist you to perform clean dips by maintaining the form.