Well, the good news is that there are five such exercises that would go a long way to achieving that. If these five exercises form the core of your workout routine, you’ll make serious gains in strength and size.
That is certainly not to say that all other exercises are useless. Far from it. Many exercises have their place as isolators and shapers to fully exhaust the muscles from all angles. It is also essential to vary your routines from time to time and shock your body into new territory. But, the five essential exercises that will be discussed in this article, along with all of their many derivatives, should be performed by every serious bodybuilders and strength athletes. No major surprises or cheap gimmicks are presented here. This is about lifts that stack on more muscle than any others, and the reasons they work.
In addition to high-intensity training in the gym, you should maximize your workouts with quality supplements. Be sure to get the creatine you need for a real workout routine. Sheer Strength Labs Creatine Monohydrate will squeeze in that extra rep you thought wasn’t possible. Grab as much of it as you can now.
The most effective exercises in the gym hit the largest volume of muscle. There is a very good reason for this. These big, strenuous lifts cause so much stress on the body that natural anabolic hormone levels are driven through the roof. A potent, natural concoction of testosterone, human growth hormone, as well as many other factors, are sent pouring into the bloodstream with triggers to rebuild bigger and stronger. Add in testosterone mixtures like the Sheer Strength Labs Testosterone Booster to increase your max with ease. This healthy supplement will increase muscle growth by stimulating the body to produce anabolic compounds.
All of these lifts are well-known to even the novice gym goer, but the first three certainly need no introduction. They are the three lifts that make up the sport of powerlifting. That said, these exercises carry a high injury risk, so it’s important to perform them correctly.
The deadlift is number one on this list. The deadlift is the holy grail of lifts, it is also the most simple and hits the largest amount of muscles of any single exercise. Doing deadlifts works everything from your Achilles’ tendons to your neck. Of course, the lower back muscles take most of the strain, but the hamstrings and glutes are also hit hard. The calves get an almost isometric workout. Due to the grip and technique, the traps and rhomboids of the middle and upper back are tested while the lats are also heavily engaged. Deadlifts are excellent for core strength, as the entire mid-section plays a huge role throughout the movement.
Deadlifting looks and sounds simple, but it can easily be done wrong and can result in serious injuries. For this reason, deadlifts will be given extra attention here. Ideally, you should get a partner to watch your form for safety and proper technique. Ask friends to watch you lift by specifically ensuring that your back remains flat. Filming yourself can also be useful as you can see the lift from various angles. Always warm up well before deadlifting.
There are many different ways to perform a deadlift, but here we’ll concentrate on the purest form. To begin, take a flat bar and stand in front of it with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Crouch over the bar and take an overhand grip (some prefer an alternate grip) just wider than this with your arms just outside of your legs. Keep your head up and butt as far back as possible. The aim here is to lift and lower the bar in a straight line. Roll the bar back so it’s almost touching your shins, and with a flat back, drive from your heels until you’re standing upright. At the top of the movement, you should pull your shoulders back, contracting the lower traps and pushing your hips forwards to hyperextend your lower back. When lowering the weight, concentrate on dropping your butt backwards, keeping your head up and your back flat. Touch the ground and again drive your heels into the ground.
Squats are another huge lift that works a vast amount of the body. Squats hit the legs from all angles but primarily peak the quads. Like the deadlift, the squat also works the core with a large stability element due to the high center of gravity. Squats are such a strenuous exercise to perform that it is said they boost natural anabolic hormones like no other lift. Take Sheer Strength Pre-Workout Powder before a big squat session to empower you through a workout. This combination and its results will wow you.
The squat is another exercise that carries a large injury risk, so as with deadlifts, getting your form checked is highly recommended no matter how experienced you are. Knee wraps and a belt are a good idea when squatting also.
With a stance slightly wider than shoulder width, take the bar from the rack. Keep your shoulders and head back and arch your back, pushing your butt out. Steadily lower yourself, dropping your butt backwards. When you reach the point when your thighs are parallel to the ground, your back should be flat, and you should be able to just see your toes beyond your knees. Now, keeping your head up and your back flat, drive through your heels back to standing.
Completing the powerlifting trio is the bench press. The bench press is the big compound lift for the upper body. Primarily working the pecs, benching also heavily hits the triceps and delts, especially the frontal head.
The barbell bench press will be discussed here, as more weight can be used, due to the lift being more stable than the dumbbell alternative. This said, many people simply don’t get on with the barbell. It doesn’t feel natural to some people’s anatomy. These people should switch to dumbbells to avoid injury, or seek guidance to rectify the issue.
When bench pressing, it’s important to avoid using weights that are too heavy. You should be able to lower the bar steadily and press it up using muscular power and not momentum. Never bounce the bar off of your chest.
Grip the bar at around 1.5 to 2 times your shoulder width. Keeping your back flat and shoulders back, lower the bar until it just touches your chest at mid to lower pec level. Drive the weight upwards, feeling the pecs contract. Exhale hard as you lift as if you’re trying to blow the bar skywards.
Chins are the ultimate bodyweight exercise for packing on muscle. The lats are most heavily hit. The biggest myth with chins is that a wide grip builds a wide back. This idea is fundamentally flawed, and you can see this for yourself. Using a narrow underhand grip stretches the lats further at the bottom of the lift and allows for a much more thorough contraction at the top.
Take hold of the bar with an underhand shoulder-width grip. Begin by hanging at arms length with the lats fully stretched. Don’t cheat yourself by doing part reps. Pull up, arching your back as you do and finish with the bar at your chest with your elbows as far back as possible. Hold for a second at the top. Slowly lower, feeling the muscles strain. When you are comfortable with your bodyweight, add a weighted belt. Now you’re ready for a bigger boost. Use Sheer Strength NO2 Nitric Oxide Booster for more impressive reps that come at a higher workload.
There were a few contenders for the number five slot, but the shoulder press adds to the four previous exercises to form the most complete full body workout. Heavy pressing works all muscles of the delts, as well as the triceps and traps.
Many people find that dumbbells are more effective than a barbell for this lift. This is because they allow for a more natural arc, as well as a complete range of motion with a greater deltoid squeeze at the top. The greatest thing to look out for with shoulder pressing is to avoid using a weight that is too heavy, and forces you to cheat or jerk the weight. Shoulder injuries from pressing are extremely common, and can have a long recovery time. Seated shoulder pressing removes a lot of these jerking issues.
Simply begin with dumbbells at around ear level, before pressing upwards through the natural arc, ensuring that your elbows are held back as far as is comfortable. Keep your neck upright, with your head back. Steadily lower the weights with your elbows back to ensure maximum impact on the lateral deltoid head.
Always make the most of your power. Every rep counts. So get the supplements you need at Sheer Strength Labs to maximize your lifts in the gym.
Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.
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