Does Your Workout Include These 3 Exercises? It Should if You Want to Build Muscle | STACK

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Does Your Workout Include These 3 Exercises? It Should if You Want to Build Muscle

May 10, 2013 | Jazmin Dorsey

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Summer is creeping up on us. The sun's out, the trees are in bloom and the sky is clear. Gone are the cold and dry winter months.  If you have a new desire to get back in shape, start the fun-in-the-sun season off right by incorporating these three exercises in your daily workouts to build muscle. (See also Training Apparel to Help You Stay Cool During Summer Workouts and 4 Ways to Have Your Best Summer Yet.)

Push-Ups: Pecs, Delts and Triceps

Push-Ups are an excellent exercise because they work the entire upper body. When performing traditional Push-Ups, always:

  • Keep your legs extended and your toes on the floor.
  • Have your hands on the floor with your arms extended under your shoulders.
  • Keep your back aligned and your core firm.

Modifications to target different muscles

Sets/Reps: 10x10


  • Place your hands together with your index fingers and thumbs touching.

Deltoids (anterior/posterior)

  • Start out in traditional push-up position (hands and arms parallel to shoulders).
  • Move each arm out about two inches.

Pectorals (inner/outer clavicular)

  • Start out in traditional push-up position.
  • Move each arm in about two inches.
Pectorals (inner/outer sternal)
  • Perform traditional push-ups with your hands on the floor and your arms extended parallel to the shoulders.

3-in-1 (triceps, deltoids, pectorals)

  • Start in the position for working your triceps (hands together, index fingers and thumbs touching).
  • Cross one hand directly in front of the other.

Modified Bicycle Kicks: Abs and Obliques

A simple way to get your midsection toned is to target your abdominals and obliques; and a great exercise to obtain eye-popping results without machinery is the Bicycle Kick. This exercise works the upper and lower abs while also targeting the obliques.

Sets/Reps: 3x15

To perform this exercise:

  • Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your elbows pointing out.
  • With your right leg straight and off the floor, bend your left leg and bring your knee to your chest.
  • Lift your opposite shoulder off the floor and twist your body to bring your elbow to your bent knee.
  • Performing this exercise should look like you're riding a bicycle (elbow to knee, left to right, right to left).

Squats: Glutes, Hips and Thighs

Squats are a great way to start a muscle-building plan. With this exercise, you use your ankle, knee and hip joints to strengthen the good stuff: your quads, hamstrings, glutes, back and core, calves and other muscles.

Sets/Reps: 3x10

When performing this exercise, maintain perfect form: 

  • Face forward with your chest up and out.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart (or slightly wider for a more intense burn).
  • Either extend your arms out in front of you for balance or stretch them above your head (whichever position is more comfortable for you).
  • When you squat, it should look like you are sitting in an invisible chair, with your thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Your upper body may slightly bend forward.
  • When returning to start position, push through your heels while keeping your body tight.
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