Let’s face the facts: There are some weight lifting exercise examples you just don’t like doing. But, many of them are sure muscle builders.
Which ones? We’ve got all the details.
With the summer months quickly approaching, now is the time to pack on some muscle mass and even how to gain muscle mass for skinny people. You’ll need to do that to avoid standing out in all of the wrong ways at the beach. To pack on some muscle, you will need to follow the three Cs.
What are the three Cs?
Simple: Compound, Consistent and Controlled.
Don’t be. We have all the info you need to build the muscle mass you want.
Weight Lifting Exercises Three C’s to Build Muscle…
You’re a gym junkie. Chances are, you’re looking to pack on muscle. That’s why compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, presses, and inverted rows are going to be the staples of your weight-training program.
These compound exercises work multiple muscle groups, recruiting more muscle fibers and making your workout more efficient. They also cause the release of growth hormone and testosterone, two muscle-building hormones.
That’s why instead of settling for those biceps curls and beefing up your calf raises you need to focus on compound exercises. You will work up a sweat, stress the muscles to the max and be on your way to building lean muscle.
Consistency is the second key. Working out on and off for a few weeks will not result in much of a change. You want more than just minor changes.
If you are looking to build muscle, make working out a routine. Changing up your workout every time you are in the gym will not do the trick either. The human body likes routine. Aim to commit four to six weeks to your training program before switching up the exercises.
In those four to six weeks, change the variables by either adding more weight or repetitions.
Control is the third piece to the puzzle. Don’t underrate it. In the gym, the goal should always be doing movements with perfect form. Not only will you reap the full benefits of the exercise, but also your risk of injury decreases.
From rounding your back on a deadlift to overhead pressing with a hyperextended back, serious injury can occur if not executed properly. Maintain control while lifting and strive to perfect each movement.
Weight Lifting Exercise Examples That Work
While doing biceps curls and triceps extensions for a massive arm workout while this might give you the temporary arm pump that you are striving for, that is not enough.
Try to focus on compound movements that will not only help you build more muscle but also give you a permanent muscle pump.
Bilateral or two-limb, movements should be very important parts in your workout. Those movements, including squats, will be the bases of your program.
It is crucial to incorporate unilateral, or single-leg, exercises too. Unilateral movements place a stronger emphasis on stability and balance. They also can serve to eliminate muscular imbalances.
What follows are eight exercises that you probably are not doing in the gym. Let’s change that right now because you should be using them. Remember: It is time to build some muscle.
#1 Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell swing is not only a top muscle building move, but it is a fat incinerator as well. An athletic movement, the swing recruits nearly every muscle in your body.
You can research the best kettle bell workouts to help your journey.
Start by standing over the kettlebell with a straight back and slight bend in your knees. Hinge at the hips, keeping the back straight and grab the kettlebell with both hands and an overhand grip. Initiate the movement by exploding the hips forward and coming to a standing position.
The kettlebell swings to shoulder level. Swing the kettlebell back down and perform the movement again. The entire backside, core, and arms should be engaged throughout the movement.
Aim to do around 10 to 12 reps for three sets. Of course, you could also use this as a finisher move at the end of your workout.
If you opt to do that, then do so by performing 25 reps without stopping.
Lunges are one of the top unilateral movements, hitting the entire lower half of your body. Start by just using your own bodyweight before proceeding to holding weights.
Lunges are key exercises for leg workouts for mass as well.
Stand tall and lunge forward with one leg until each knee reaches a 90-degree angle. Keep the upright position throughout the lunge and make sure the front knee stays behind the toes.
Push off the front foot and go back to the starting position and alternate legs.
You’ve been doing these since grade school, working on your proper push up. Push-ups are simple but so effective. It’s a wonder why so many people still cheat on these. Whether you are in the gym or just at home and need to bust out a quick workout, doing push-ups will give you one of the top bodyweight workouts.
Start by placing your hands a little bit more than shoulder width apart and your body in a plank position.
Lower yourself, bending the elbows and keeping the spine in alignment before pushing back to the starting position.
Is that too easy?
For many it should be.
Want a solution?
Change the tempo. Lower yourself using a three-count, placing more emphasis on time under tension. Or you could always try to do 100 push ups if you really want a challenge.
One of the true tests of relative strength is the pull-up. You likely remember these from high school. Many people shy away from the perfect pull-up because it is very challenging.
Who can ever forget being embarrassed in front of the whole class?
But, trust us, the benefits are worth it. Targeting the entire back region including the rhomboids, lats as well as the arms, core and shoulders. The pull-up is truly a big bang for your buck type of exercise.
To execute the move, grab the bar with a wide overhand grip and pull yourself until your chin is above the bar before lowering yourself back down.
Is that too much to handle?
That’s okay. Many gyms have an assisted pull-up machine. If not, use a resistance band to help with the pull-up.
Another move you could do anywhere and anytime is the plank. This is the exercise that everyone should be doing.
You do want to increase core strength and stability?
If so, start looking into planking benefits. This exercise not only works the front side of your core but also the backside. It truly works to keep things in balance.
What is the top way to increase your heavier lifts such as squats or overhead press?
Become stronger in your core region as it is the link between your upper and lower body.
Start your plank with your elbows below your shoulders and knees off the floor. The objective is to hold this straight line position with the spine in alignment for as long as you can.
Do you feel you need more of a challenge?
Start rocking back and forth slowly while maintaining the plank position in what is known as the abs saw. Now that is a challenge!
The true compound exercise of all compound exercises is the deadlift. This is an exercise that requires your body to be fully in sync throughout its movement. It works on nearly every muscle along the way. Mainly used to build strength in the posterior, the deadlift translates well to everyday life.
Ever picked up a box off the floor and thrown your back out of whack?
Chances are you were not deadlifting properly. Don’t be that person.
Start with your feet just a little more than hip-width apart. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and your hands just outside the thighs.
Starting from the bottom of the movement and keeping a straight back throughout the movement, bend at the hips and knees. Lift the bar up by extending the hips and knees and keeping the bar close to the body until you reach full extension before lowering it to the bottom of the movement again.
The deadlift workout requires your full body to be in sync from the ankles, knees and hips all the way up the chain. Once you perfect the move, aim to do somewhere between four to eight reps to pack on some lean muscle.
#7 Overhead Press
Along with the bench press, the overhead press is one of the top compound exercises emphasizing the push movement.
How about adding another element to the overhead press and making it even more of a challenge?
Does that sound good to you?
We thought so. In that case, try the Arnold Press. It is named after, you guessed it, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This exercise attempts to combine a lateral raise with an overhead press. Begin in a standing position, while holding two dumbbells at shoulder height and palms facing the body. Initiate the movement by pressing the dumbbells upward while rotating the palms out at the same time.
The end product is that your palms should be facing forward when your arms become fully extended. Slowly lower it back down to the starting position and do 8 to 12 reps. In time, you will grow to love this move.
After all, it does work quite well to help you build muscle mass. Suffice it to say that, like Arnold, you’ll be back.
#8 Farmer’s Carry
The final of the great eight exercises that you need to add to your workout is the farmer’s carry. Don’t worry! There is no need to go out and buy overalls to match the look of an old school farmer. All you need is to focus.
It’s time to grab two heavy dumbbells and get ready to torch your body. Not only will it torch every muscle on your body, start melting fat, make your heart race and body sweat, but it will be a true test of what you have left in the tank. The objective of the farmer’s carry is to carry two large dumbbells as far as you can while maintaining a long, stable spine.
Let’s see what muscles it hits.
Does it hit arms and forearms specifically? Yes. They will be smoked from gripping the dumbbells.
How about the impact on shoulders and back?
They’ll be burning trying to keep the upright positions. Do your legs get much of a workout?
Imagine carrying around an extra hundred or so pounds while walking. Of course, you will feel it. How about your core? This area should be cooking as you try to keep a long spine. Does it affect the heart rate? You guessed it! It gets increased.
Remember, to use perfect form and carry some heavy weight.
Do you think this translates well into everyday life?
It sure does! For example, we have all had to carry six grocery bags on each arm at some point.
Or, how about walking through the airport with two bags? Trust us. This is about as functional as it gets.
To build muscle, there must be a challenge! The muscles must be stressed. There’s no other way around it.
If it were easy, everyone would be sculpted. This isn’t easy. But, if you truly want to build more muscle mass, it should be an easy decision. There are too many benefits for it to not be easy.
Simply follow the three Cs. Using compound movements, consistency with your workouts and controlled exercises will make the difference. Commit to those and get out of your comfort zone by trying the weight lifting exercise examples. If you can do that, you will get that sculpted body you always wanted.
By Adam Clark, CPT