Over the past years there is a lot of talk about what exercises actually help build muscle and which ones don’t. When I train fitness clients one of the first things I do is to start them on a workout routine which consists of compound movements. These strength training exercises get the most out of a workout in the shortest time possible. By working multiple muscles with one movement you can build lean muscle quicker.
Let’s use the bench press as an example. This movement primarily focuses on the chest muscle, but also uses the shoulders, triceps, and the abdominal muscle to move the barbell or dumbbells. That’s why compound movements work so well and why you should incorporate them in your routine as well.
I now want to give you some exercises you can do now to build muscle. These are the same fitness strategies a personal trainer would suggest to you if you were working out at a gym. You can also do these exercises at home with some equipment.
Dumbbell Bench Press
Sit on the edge of a flat bench with the dumbbells resting on your knees. In one smooth motion, roll onto your back and bring the dumbbells up to a position slightly outside and above your shoulders. Your palms should be facing forwards.
Bend your elbows at a ninety-degree angle with your upper arms parallel to the ground. Press the weights up over your chest in a triangular motion until they meet above the center line of your body. As you lift, concentrate on keeping the weights balanced and under control. Follow the same path downward.
This exercise targets your Chest
Standing Military Press
For this exercise, you will use a barbell. Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart and lift the barbell to your chest. Lock your legs and hips and keep your elbows in slightly under the bar. Press the bar to arm’s length over your head.
Lower the bell to your upper chest or your chin depending on which is more comfortable for you. This exercise can also be performed with dumbbells and seated on a weight bench or stability ball.
This exercise targets your Shoulders.
Lying Triceps Extension
Sit on a flat bench holding a curl bar with an overhand grip. Lie back so that the top of your head is even with the end of the weight bench. As you are lying back, extend your arms over your head so that the bar is directly over your eyes. Keep your elbows tight and your upper arms stationary throughout the exercise.
The biggest key to this exercise is keeping your upper arms in a fixed position. Slowly lower the bar until it almost touches your forehead. Press the bar back up in a slow, sweeping arc-like motion. At the finish, lock your elbows completely.
This exercise targets the Triceps.
Side Lateral Raise
Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms at your side. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms turned toward your body. Keep your arms straight and lift the weights out and up to the sides until they are slightly higher than shoulder level. Then slowly lower them back down to your side again.
Keep your palms turned downward as you lift the dumbbells so that your shoulders rather than your biceps do the work. Make sure you are lifting the dumbbells up rather than swinging them up. Don’t lean forward while doing this either or you risk injury to your back.
This exercise targets your Shoulders.
Seated Dumbbell Curl
Sit at the end of a bench with your feet firmly on the floor. Keep your back straight and your head up. Start with the dumbbells at arm’s length with your palms facing in. Curl the weight up and twist your wrist once they pass your thighs.
Squeeze your biceps at the top and then slowly lower the weight.
Do not swing the dumbbells down; lower them as you are working those muscles! You can do this standing, but the seated position prevents bad form.
This exercise targets your Biceps.
This is just some of the upper strength training exercises that can add muscle, burn fat and get you into great shape. Just remember that nutrition plays a vital role in adding lean muscle to your body as well.
I hope this article helps you to understand by picking the right exercise routine. You will see results much quicker. Just consider starting with compound movements first.