Not all strength training exercises are created equal, but you probably knew that already, right?
In your quest to find effective strength training exercises, you need to focus on the ones that fire off as many muscle fibers as possible. There is nothing like compound exercises to accomplish that.
One of the greatest advantages of compound movements is that you can do a whole body workout in just minutes! Make no mistake, these are demanding exercises, and you will have to learn the correct way to do them. Start slowly.
In this post you will learn which strength training exercises to focus on, and how to protect yourself from serious injury.
Now let’s get to the fun part! This family of supercharged compound exercises are worth their weight in gold. Time to build mass and power.
This is my top seven list of ultimate strength training exercises.
This is one of those strength training exercises that requires a bit of power to pull off. This exercise mainly trains the width of your back by targeting the latissimus muscle. These are the wing like muscles you can see when someone pushes their shoulders forward and flexes. Find a bar or something high up to hold onto, grab it, and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. That’s why they are called chin ups. A narrow grip with palms facing in will work your biceps and the latissimus muscles. A wide grip with palms out will be easier on the biceps and target the back of your shoulders and upper back muscles.
No matter who you are you’ve probably heard about the bench press. The bench press is an excellent exercise for your chest, shoulders and triceps. Sadly, most people do this exercise with sloppy form. Poor form can lead to serious injury. Press your shoulders into the bench and avoid excessive arching of the back. When you are doing the exercise start with the bar on level with your eyes. As you begin to move it down bring it just below your chest. You’ll notice when you are doing this right, there is a natural path for the shoulders to move. Look for it.
This is one of the best strength training exercises to develop your triceps and the back of your shoulders. You’ll also be working on the chest and some back muscles as well. If you do the dip with a wide grip, it is very similar to the bench press and you’ll be activating the chest muscles. Anywhere you can find two parallel bars is a good place to do dips. Start with your body upright supported by your hands; lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Keep your shoulders as stable as possible, if you start bouncing and swinging you will injure your shoulders.
There is nothing like the dead lift when it comes to strength training exercises for the back muscles. It targets the lower back, middle back, your butt and legs. Bend your knees and grab the barbell with a wide grip. Focus on your back when you’re doing this exercise, your arms just hold the weight. Straighten your legs to get the weight moving and finish off by pulling your shoulders back.
In strength training exercises, this is the golden boy for shoulders. If you use a narrow grip, the press will work your triceps. The military press is simple. Grab the barbell from the floor, get it to throat level, press it above your head, and repeat. Some people prefer to do this behind the neck, which I don’t recommend, because it tends to cause more injuries. Lowering the weight in front works better for me and doesn’t cause shoulder problems. You’ll notice as you get more tired, there is a tendency to arch your back or lean backwards. Don’t allow it, that’s how you’ll injure your shoulders. Do your exercises with correct form. When you can’t, put the weight down.
One of the absolute best strength training exercises for the back is the barbell row. It will tax every muscle you have in your back and hit your biceps too. It’s simple. Keep your back straight, lean over, grab the barbell shoulder wide and pull it to your navel. And remember to keep your back straight. The best tip for getting a strong contraction is to imagine that you’re pulling from your elbows. This will make you focus on your back instead of trying to do it with your arms. If you want to hit your upper back, take a really wide grip and aim for your chest when you lift the weight.
This is one of those strength training exercises most people dread because it destroys your muscles and central nervous system (in a good way). Doing this strength training exercise will work your thighs, butt, and back really hard.If you’re doing this for the first time, you may want to do it in a nice squat rack. In case you run out of steam in the middle of a repetition you can just lean back. A good rack has hooks at all levels that will catch and support the weight. Another great tip is to start out with a bench underneath you. This keeps you safe and will help you do the exercise correctly. Set the bench at the same height as your thighs when they start going parallel to the floor. When your butt touches the bench, go up again. Be extra careful if you’ve had any back injuries, have someone check your form the first few times to make sure you’re doing it right. Never let your back slump forward, keep your abs tight and back straight.And as always, start out slow before packing on the weight, learn the exercise first.
Avoid Serious Injury
When you’re starting out with these strength training exercises, concentrate on form and use lighter weights. Massive compound strength training exercises like these put a lot of strain on your body. When you are starting out there will always be a weak body part, you have to wait for it to get stronger or you risk injury. Usually the shoulders or lower back are the weak links. If you notice any problems with these, back off on the weight you are using and work on your form. These muscles must develop first before you can go to heavier weights.
The Family Of Big Strength Training Exercises Is Complete.
Now you’ve got a great collection of strength training exercises. Even if you were limited to these exercises alone, you would make wonderful progress. So the next time you step into the gym, start practicing. If you’re not sure about how to do any of these exercises, ask someone for advice. Preferably someone who knows what they’re doing. Most importantly, stay safe. Wait for your weakest link to get stronger and then start pushing yourself!