So, you have decided you want to be ripped. You have sorted out the nutrition and all other aspects of your bodybuilding, but you still do not seem to have the progress you desire. In the era of fancy workout routines, it may seem like building muscles is unachievable.
However, that is not the case. With the right workout, you can lose fat and build muscle mass. These nine exercises should prove quite useful to you if you are struggling with muscle gain. Include them in your workouts and you will see the results for sure.
Table of Contents
1. Olympic Squat
The high bar lift, or as it is commonly known, the Olympic Squat is a great way to build muscle in the lower body. However, you have to ensure that you do it correctly. In the Olympic squat, the bar is placed on your upper traps with the heels slightly closer. On your way down, you should push the knees outwards from the heel. With this squat, you will be able to enhance you trunk stabilizers and quads.
In a normal squat, the advice is not to let the knees pass the toes. This is meant to keep you from placing a shearing force on the patellar tendon. However, ignore this advice for the Olympic squat. As long as you keep form in check and your heels remain in contact with the floor, if you apply the right gluteal recruitment, you should be able to keep tendon shearing to a minimum.
Gluteal recruitment simply means using your Gluteus Maximus to maintain an upright torso during a squat. If you fail to do this, it could place an undue weight on other muscles on the body and possibly lead to serious injuries if repeated many times.
If you got to most gyms today, very few people deadlift. The reason for this is that they are just too scared of injury. However, if you do it correctly, a deadlift can be very effective in bodybuilding. Deadlifts help you build muscles in your back, arms, shoulders, abs, traps, legs, butt, and forearms. Deadlifts can be especially useful if you are a skinny guy trying to bulk up.
A good deadlift starts with the weight placed on a flat floor. Pull the bar to the mid-thighs and lock the knees and hips. Now start the process of taking it back to the floor. This will entail bending the knees and pushing the hips back. Rest for about two seconds and begin the cycle again. If you want to avoid injury, ensure the lower back remain neutral. If you round it, especially during heavy lifts, it could injure your spin. That means you will need to maintain the natural inward curve of the lower spin at all times to avoid being injured.
If you want to increase the amount of weight you can lift with the deadlift, you need to do it with proper form. However, you also need to be aware of some of the safety concerns around this workout if you want to avoid injury.
3. Bench Press
One of the easiest ways to pile on upper body muscles is by doing bench presses. However, you need to do it the right way to avoid causing injuries to your shoulders and upper back.
A proper bench press starts by lying on a Bench with the feet planted on the floor. Ensure you can unrack the bar with straight arms, lower it to your chest, and push it back up until the elbows are locked.
The bench press is an effective way to work out your shoulders, triceps, and chest. If you want to build upper body muscle mass, this exercise will prove quite effective. The more you bench press, the more you will grow your chest size. If you would like to avoid injuring your shoulders, turn the elbows 70 degrees instead of the full 90 degrees when you lower the bar.
To bench press safely, ensure that the bar moves diagonally from the mid-chest over the shoulders. It is not only safe, but it is also quite effective when bench-pressing heavyweights.
4. Overhead Press
If you are trying to build muscle, this workout is just what you need to achieve that. It has many proven benefits and is a favorite of many pro bodybuilders. For instance, the overhead press leads to great upper back and shoulder development.
Besides that, this exercise can help you build the hips, strengthen legs stability, and build the abdominal walls. To do this exercise, start with a bar placed on the shoulders. Press the bar over the head until the elbows are locked. Do not use the legs to do this but ensure they remain straight.
Lower the bar slowly to the shoulders and start again. If you want to avoid shoulder pain, ensure that you do it with a narrow grip. This will help to avoid flaring the elbows. When you get the bar to the top, shrug the shoulders upwards. This will engage the traps, which helps to avoid shoulder impingement.
However, keep in mind that this exercise is quite difficult. You will only be able to use small weights at first since it only lets you use small muscles. Unless you can maintain proper form, it may take you quite long to add weight. Thus, spend as much time as you can to improve form.
5. Bent-Over Row
To do this exercise, hold the barbell with the palms facing downward. Bend the knees a bit and move the torso forward. Make a forward waist movement while ensuring that the back remains straight and parallel with the floor. All this time, keep the head facing forward.
The barbell will hand in front of you while the arms remain perpendicular to your torso. This is the start, now without moving the torso, take a deep breath, and lift the barbell. Keep the elbows close to the torso and use only the forearms to hold this barbell. When it gets to the top, squeeze your back muscles for a moment and hold there for three seconds.
Slowly lower the weight to the floor. Repeat this according to the sets that you have chosen. If you have any back pain or back problems, do not attempt this exercise. It could cause permanent injury or excessive pain. Besides that, ensure perfect form and avoid slouching. If you are in doubt, always use less weight. Ensure that you avoid the common mistakes in this exercise as explained in the video below.
6. Wide-Grip Pull up
This exercising is a great compound exercise that forces you to lift your body weight. During a wide grip pull up, the upper arms are forced to move in towards the torso. This helps to work on the latissimus dorsi, which is the largest back muscle in the body. If you are trying to grow a bigger back, this is the exercise for you.
When doing the wide grip pull, your body is in a mechanically disadvantageous position. That means you will be able to rely on your shoulder muscles and the biceps and triceps. The result is that most of your body weight will be resting on the major back muscle. If all other efforts to try to increase the size of your back have failed, try this one.
To perform the wide grip pull up, grab the bar with the palms facing away from the body. Ensure that the palms are placed in a position that sets them far apart from the shoulders. You may also have to fold your legs to allow the arms to hang fully extended.
To do it correctly, keep the shoulders down, which means they should not come up to your ears. Now start pulling yourself up until the chin is above the bar. Slowly lower your body back to the hanging position and begin the exercise again.
7. Barbell Curls
Barbell curls are a pull-up exercises, which work primarily on the biceps. However, they also help you to work out the forearms and make them grow bigger. To do the barbell curls, you will need to stand with the torso upright and hold a barbell at the width of your shoulders. Ensure that the palms are facing forward and that the elbows are close to the body. This is the starting position.
With the upper arms not moving, curl the weight forward and contract the biceps while breathing out. Ensure that only the forearms are moving with the rest of the body staying stationary.
Continue with the movement until you reach the maximum contraction point of the biceps. At this point, the barbell should be at the shoulder level. Hold this position for about two seconds and squeeze the biceps to get the most out of it.
Slowly release the tension in the biceps and bring the bar back to the starting point. Repeat these exercises as you require. You can also do this exercise with a straight bar attached to a low pulley.
8. Skull Crusher
If you want to get an exercise that helps you exercise the entire triceps muscle group of the upper arm, the skull crusher exercise is perfect. It will help you get bigger arms, which will get you closer to your bodybuilding goals. When performing the exercise, you need to be cautious; ideally, you should perform it with someone else present. If you lose grip of the bar, you could be in serious trouble.
With a close grip, lift the bar and hold it with the elbows, as you are lying on a bench. Ensure that the arms are perpendicular to the floor. This is the start position. With the upper arm still, lower the bar by flexing the elbows. Once the bar is directly over the head, pause for two seconds and begin lifting it back up. Exhale as you do this. You can repeat this as many times as you want.
When doing the skulls crusher, safety should be a major concern. However, the form is also important to ensure that you are getting the most out of your exercise.
9. Standing Calf Raise
The calves are some of the most stubborn muscles to train in the body. They require a lot of time and effort in order to get them to grow. Unfortunately, many bodybuilders do not do this correctly, and they end up with skinny legs.
The standing calf raise, when combined with other calf exercises, can help to grow these muscles. To perform this exercise, stand on the edge of the step. Alternatively, you can use a step aerobics platform if you have access to one. You will need to augment the platform by placing a pair or risers below it.
Stand with the abdominal muscles pulled in with the balls of the feet planted on the step. Let the heel hand over the edge of this step. If you need to, place your hands on a sturdy object then get balance. Now start raising the heels above the edge of this step on which you are standing on your tiptoes. Now hold that position for about five seconds. Slowly lower the heel below the edge until you feel the calf muscles stretch. Repeat this a few times.
If you practice these exercises, you should be able to see a major improvement in the size of your muscles. However, you need to stay committed and hit the gym without fail.
No matter what exercise you do, it will not, bear fruit unless you can do it on a regular basis. Besides that, you need to pay attention to form, understand how to do each exercise listed above correctly, without casing injuring to your joints or tendons.
Did you enjoy this list? Feel free to leave a comment below on what you think about these exercises.