Muscle gains are best achieved through resistance training using heavy weights. The use of barbell and dumbbell free weights is a highly effective resistance training method. Compound exercises use multiple muscle groups to complete the entire movement. Performing compound exercises with free weights is the most effective way to build more muscle.
The common bench press is a pushing exercise that works your chest, shoulders and triceps. Always remember to use a spotter when performing bench presses. Lie on your back on the weight bench with your feet firmly placed on the ground. Adjust your position under the bar so that it lines up across the top of your chest. Using a shoulder-width grip, grab the bar and push it up until your arms are fully extended. Slowly lower the bar to your chest and push it back to the starting position. This is one repetition.
Chin-ups are a pulling exercise that train your lats, biceps, forearms and middle back. Using an underhand grip, hold on to the chin-up bar while releasing your weight from your legs. From this hanging position, pull yourself up until your chin is even with your hands. Slowly lower yourself to the hanging position to complete one repetition.
The Romanian deadlift is a compound movement that challenges your hamstrings, lower back and core. It is important to use correct form when doing deadlifts. Thus, beginning at a lower weight can help prevent injury. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. With the barbell on the ground, bend at the waist and knees. Use an overhand, shoulder-width grip to grab the bar. While holding the bar, engage your hips and lift it until your knees and back are straight. Reverse the movement to complete one repetition.
The squat is a powerful exercise that works your quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, glutes and lower back. To prepare for this exercise, set the barbell around shoulder height. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift and place the bar behind your neck and balance it across your shoulders. Bend at the knees and sit down until your quads are parallel to the ground. Pause briefly and stand back up. This is one repetition.
Dips are a challenging exercise that build chest, shoulder and triceps muscle. Grab the dip bars with your palms facing inward. Extend your arms fully to get into the starting position. Bend your arms, allowing your body to sink between the dip bars until your shoulders and elbows are even. Raise yourself back up by extending your arms.
Most of the barbell exercises can be performed with dumbbells. For maximum muscle growth, use heavy weights where only three sets of six to eight repetitions is possible. Because of the additional recovery time heavy lifting requires, do each one of these exercises no more than twice per week.
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