Many people who start going to the gym get a little lost and confused because there are so many different machines available these days. The reality is, if you want to build big and strong muscles, you don’t have to do hundreds of different exercises and use every single fancy-looking piece of equipment. In fact, the following exercises cover all the muscles in the entire body, are highly effective, and they’re all you need to build that body that you always wanted.
We at Bright Side have done some research and found the most effective workouts for you, future Mr. Muscle. And don’t miss out on a very important bonus.
This is one of the fundamental and most effective exercises that targets multiple muscles in your entire lower body. Don’t skip this one, you don’t want to end up with great big arms and shoulders and chicken legs.
- Place the barbell on the upper part of your back, holding it slightly wider than shoulder-width;
- Lower yourself down, sticking your butt back and bending your body slightly forward;
- Make sure that most of your weight is on your heels, not your toes.
Make sure that the barbell is not sitting on your neck and that your back is always straight.
2. Shoulder presses
This exercise makes your shoulders broader, and it works on your shoulders, triceps, and traps.
- Grab the dumbbells;
- Keeping your back straight, hold the dumbbells, keeping your elbows at a 90° angle and in line with your hips;
- Press the dumbbells straight up;
- Return the dumbbells to the initial position.
This is another exercise that works on multiple muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, thighs, lower back, and traps.
- Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart;
- Lower yourself down by sitting back, slightly bending your knees, and sticking your butt out;
- Grab the barbell and stand up.
Always keep your back straight and don’t look down.
4. Barbell row
This exercise target the upper back, rhomboids, deltoids, shoulders, and biceps.
- Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width;
- Lower down and grab the barbell;
- Stand up, keeping the knees soft;
- Bend your knees and push your hips down and back;
- Pull the bar to your chest squeezing your shoulder blades.
Always keep your back straight and bend your knees when you need to put the barbell down.
This exercise will help you to get a nice V-shaped back and also work on your lats and biceps. If you can’t do it yet, you can use a pull-up machine where you can compensate for some of your body weight.
- Start with a wide grip with the palms facing outward, the wider it is, the more it works on your lats;
- Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar;
- Lower yourself to the initial position.
Chin-ups are slightly different from pull-ups and work more on your biceps than lats.
7. Bench press
This exercise works on the chest and shoulder muscles, and also the biceps. You may consider doing 2 variations of this exercise, flat and incline because each one targets muscles differently. For an upper chest workout, you should do the incline bench press, while the flat one works on the lower chest.
- Lie directly under the barbell;
- Lower the barbell, making sure that the bar almost touches your chest;
- Press the barbell up.
Make sure that the barbell is moving vertically up and down.
8. Power clean
This exercise works on almost the entire body.
- Start standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width;
- Lower down keeping your butt out and grab the barbell;
- Drive the barbell straight up in an explosive motion using hamstrings and hips;
- Elbows should be pointing forward and knees should be soft;
- Lower down to the initial position.
There a few more tricks that you need to take into consideration if big muscles are your goal.
- Protein-rich food. We are what we eat and you need to consume enough protein to feed those muscles.
- Slow down with cardio. For losing fat while keeping muscles, intervals are very effective. Weights should be your primary workout.
- Adjust your reps. Your routine should be between 8-12 reps per set and the whole workout should last about 45 minutes.
What do you think about our selection? Do you have other “must-do” exercises that we didn’t mention? Tell us your favorites in the comments below.
Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova for Bright Side