Fitness and health have undergone a significant boost in the past few years, with each time more people incorporating exercises into his/her routine. Whereas earlier it was a small group of enthusiasts who used to flock to the gym every day, now this aspect has seen a significant change. With people becoming more aware of the benefits of leading an active, healthy life and with lifestyle diseases creeping into their lives, exercising to stay fit has become the new norm.
You don’t necessarily have to hit the gym to boost your muscle building. Workouts have been brought to your living room spaces, making it easier for almost anyone to pick them and start working out.
There are a million different types of workouts available to you, all having a specific purpose. Some workouts are aimed at toning down your entire body and are referred to as full-body workouts. Whereas another type of workout is aimed at muscular strength of a particular set of muscles or body parts.
Both these workouts have their own set of pros and cons. In this article, we will be focusing on the best exercise to target each muscle group of the body. Muscle and strength are two concepts that usually are closely related; and selecting the best exercises for each part of your body can be tough, especially when there are innumerable options laid out before you.
The exercises listed below have been selected by health and fitness gurus. Performing these exercises correctly will get you your dream results and improve your overall muscular strength.
While doing these exercises, remember to focus on maintaining the correct posture. The only equipment you will need for these exercises are dumbbells, a barbell with weights, and an exercise bench. Do three sets of 14 reps each. Remember to start slow and then slowly increase your reps.
Having a perfect and well-sculpted upper physique including arms is very important for the overall strength of the body. You enter a gym and almost everyone is busy toning their arms, trying to make those biceps and triceps pop. Arm training is necessary because
- It helps improve your posture.
- It reduces the risks of getting injured frequently.
- Good arm strength helps in protecting the underlying tissues and bones.
- And lastly, apart from helping you in your day-to-day activities, good arms add to your personality.
The bicep is one of the most popular forms of arms training. Biceps make-up about one-third of the total arm strength and play a pivotal role in everyday arm movements. Therefore, training your biceps into a better form and shape is extremely crucial. Let us have a look at some of the best exercises targeting this part.
Exercise 1: Dumbbell Curls- A Dumbbell curl is what you are missing in case your biceps are not what you want them to be. This exercise should be done at the end of each workout session after your arms have been warmed-up.
Dumbbell curls target brachialis and the brachioradialis, stabilizer muscles, and the middle trapezius. Brachioradialis performs a lot of work for you while you do this exercise. Make sure you pick the correct form while doing it.
The dumbbell curl is important for thickness and forearm strength. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, dumbbell curls should be placed into your exercise routine.
Exercise 2: Barbell Bicep Curl- This exercise targets the long and short head of the biceps also called the biceps brachii. They not only focus on biceps but also increase the forearm strength manifolds. While performing this, keep your feet firmly planted to the ground and remember to exhale and inhale correctly.
Exercise 3: Dumbbell Preacher Curl- Preacher curl movement is the easiest and also the most essential of all muscle building exercises in order to develop those biceps. The only requirement for this type of curls is a preacher bench and an E-Z curl bar.
Dumbbell preacher curls force you into a negative movement which helps improve muscle strength and movement. Biceps Brachii & Brachialis are the muscle groups targeted by barbell curls. This exercise reduces your cheat movements, laying focus on your form and muscle power.
Triceps are made up of three particular muscle groups and focus more on the extension of the elbow. Triceps make your arms huge; it helps in the overall development of big arms that you see on your favorite fitness models and bodybuilders. And triceps muscle is bigger than the bicep muscle, so it becomes more important to train muscle and strength regularly as a whole. Here, are the top three exercises to follow
Exercise 1: Bodyweight Dips: Dips are considered to be one of the best exercises targeting the triceps. In some ways, it is deemed to be better than pushups as experts believe that push-ups focus a lot more on improving the chest muscles rather than triceps.
Narrow dips focus on the anterior deltoid, the pectoralis, and the rhomboid muscles present at the back. Whereas wider arm dips focus on the pectoral muscles a lot more.
Exercise 2: Cable triceps pushdown: Triceps brachii is the main muscle targeted by this type of triceps exercise. This exercise is great for beginners before they can hop on to more-focused ones.
Exercise 3: Skull crusher or the lying triceps extension- It lays focus on Triceps Brachii and all the three heads- Lateral Head, Medial Head & Long Head. A barbell or an E-Z bar can be used for performing this exercise.
People often tend to misinterpret the purpose or aim of doing chest workouts as solely being done to improve the physique. Whereas chest muscles are as important as saying the muscles forming your biceps or triceps. We make use of our chest muscles throughout the day in performing various functions.
Chest muscle forms a large muscle group of your upper body, therefore, training them will help you strengthen your entire upper body. Pectoralis major and pectoralis minor are the two core muscles that fall under the category of chest muscles.
Further, the pectoralis major, as the name suggests, is the larger of the two muscles and has two parts- an upper part called the clavicular head and the lower part called the sternal head. It is important to train your chest muscles as
- They are responsible for moving your arms across the body as well as up and down.
- It also helps in movements like flexion, rotation, and adduction.
- Some common day to day activities where you use your chest muscles includes- pushing a door open, getting up from a sofa or chair, or even the simple act of washing your hair.
So, here are the top three exercises for your chest-
Exercise 1: Dumbbell Press: This exercise is similar to the bench press. It targets not just the chest muscles but works on shoulders and triceps as well. It helps in building the thickness of your chest, which then improves the overall appearance of a person.
Exercise 2: Bench Press: Bench Press is a compound exercise, which means it not only targets chest but other minor muscles as well, like shoulders, arms. It targets the pectoral muscles along with arms and shoulders.
There are different variations of the bench press that allow you to focus on different parts other than just the pectoral muscles. For example, the incline bench press where the bench position is changed at an angle such that your back is slightly bent. It targets muscles of the shoulders and chest.
Exercise 3: Chest Dumbbell fly: This exercise works on the muscles around shoulders, chest, and triceps. This particularly helps in opening up and relaxing your chest muscles which aid in free movement, a more relaxed upper body and improve back pain. With each subsequent week try to increase the weight of your dumbbells to increase the difficulty level.
Related: The 20 Best Shoulder Workouts
Strengthening your lower body is as important as strengthening and bulking up your upper body. Leg muscles are the most important and also form the largest muscle group to train in the human body.
Legs make up 50% of the muscles of our body, so muscle building in this area is even more important. I train legs two times a week. There are lots of other health benefits of training legs as well like:
- Exercises targeting your leg muscles stimulate the growth hormone, thus causing an increase in size and mass.
- Stronger legs improve your metabolism rate, bone density, and cardiovascular strength.
- All leg workouts are compound exercises, which mean that they target several muscle groups together.
Let us have a look at some
Exercise 1: Barbell Squats or Body Weight Squats: This workout targets the calves, quads; hamstrings, glutes, and core. Experts recommend starting by using lighter weights and then progressing towards heavier weights.
Exercise 2: Leg Extensions: This exercise targets the hamstrings and quads. They help in improving the overall body posture and strength. This exercise requires a leg extension machine.
Exercise 3: Romanian Deadlift- This workout focuses on the hamstrings and is considered one of the top exercises by experts. It also helps protect your knees from injuries and balances your quads. It is advised not to rush into dealing with heavier weights from the start.
Related: 8 Smart Ways for a Full Body Workout
Training your back can be the hardest part of your workout routine, right next to your legs and glutes. The upper back area is the largest area of your body that is essential for fat loss as well as hypertrophy workouts.
- Other than these points, training your back is vital to maintain a correct posture while sitting.
- Improving your back posture holds importance as even after developing your entire body, if you have a slouchy back, it might not add much to your personality.
Latissimus Dorsi, Trapezius, Rhomboids, and Levator Scapular Muscles, Erector Spinae- are some of the muscles that you have to focus on while working out.
Exercise 1: Deadlifts: It is another compound exercise that targets lots of other minor muscles as well, but major muscle is the lower back, the deadlifts are called so because of the dead weight that needs to be pulled up from the floor or a dead point.
Unlike squats or bench press, the weight is not moved from up to down, but you start at the bottom, move it up and then return to the original position. A proper form must be maintained while performing deadlifts because doing it incorrectly can lead to an injured back, which is not why we are doing this. Deadlift is a compound exercise focusing not just on the back muscles but also on hips and hamstrings.
Exercise 2: Lat pulldown: This exercise is beneficial for increasing your back hypertrophy. It also helps in increasing the back mass and strength and since it involves little to no grip demands, it is idle for beginners looking forward to increasing their upper body strength. Latissimus dorsi is the particular muscle that it works towards. You can do it on your own body weight as well, and it helps in making your back wide.
Exercise 3: Bent over row- This can be performed using a barbell, kettlebells, and dumbbells. It targets the lower, middle, and upper back and helps in improving s strength, posture, and volume. This helps in targeting all the small muscles of the back, that can be missed by deadlift or Lat pulldown.
Abs or Core
Core exercises focus on the areas around your pelvis and trunk area. The reasons you should include them in your workouts are several. The core is the support for all the exercises, so it is important to build a strong core muscle and strength everything around, so that you can lift heavy in other exercises as well.
- Building a stronger core will help improve your balance and stability, they help in toning down the abdominal muscles.
- Your core forms your entire support system and that’s why it is referred to as the core. Just like your chest muscles, your core plays an important aspect in your everyday activities.
- Your ab muscles have a Spanx or corset muscles which are the deepest part of your abdominal muscles. These are responsible for giving you a straight posture.
- Core strength is a must before you start building strength anywhere else in your body. And that’s why most workouts always have one or two core exercises.
Other than this, there are two other muscles- the oblique muscles and the rectus abdominis. There are enough core strengthening exercises for you. Here are our top 3-
Exercise 1: Sit-ups Sit-ups not just work the abdominal muscles but a group of other muscles, including- neck, chest, and lower back. Sit-ups will help you burn calories at a much faster rate than many other exercises, and this is the reason that it continues to be one of the most popular abdominal workouts. To prevent any lower back or neck injuries, it is important to maintain a proper form while performing sit-ups.
Exercise 2: Bicycle crunches: this is the most effective way to build your abs muscles and strengthen your core. This is a favorite across beginners and experts. This is because bicycle crunches work both on the rectus abdominis and obliques. Instead of going for normal bicycle crunches, you may add variations by adding ankle weights to your workouts.
Exercise 3: Planks- this is one of the most popular bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Holding a plank is bound to work up any muscles. It focuses on the neck, shoulder biceps, glutes along with your core. While doing a plank you are holding yourself up and this tones down your back, thighs, and arms.
Workouts targeting a specific muscle or part of your body are increasingly gaining prominence amongst fitness circles. They have several benefits, some of which are-
- They provide more volume in your exercise routine such that you can add or improvise any one particular workout.
- Target workouts offer ample time for individual body parts and muscles to recover.
We enlisted some of the most rewarding exercises targeting each part of your body. Make sure you follow them to the T to get the desired results and increase your muscular strength.
There are many other exercises out there, but these are some of the important ones, you can build a good physique by using these exercises.