Does Your Workout Include These 3 Exercises? It Should if You Want to Build Muscle
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
- Place your hands together with your index fingers and thumbs touching.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.