When it comes to muscle-building, it does not always have to be achieved through sophisticated equipments or fitness centers. As personal trainer I know a thing or two about working the muscles hard without expensive equipments. If you know the right exercises to do plus have the right amount of motivation, you can get results. For best muscle-building results, perform at least 5 sets up to a maximum 10 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions maximum load and rest only maximum of 60 seconds between sets. The 5 muscle-building exercises are as followed.
1. Bodyweight Pull-Ups/ Chin-Ups
The best exercise for developing the upper back and the bicep muscles. Forget about lat pull down machine or your bend over dumbbell/barbells row. No other exercises force the upper back and biceps muscles to work as hard as this. Just get on a pull-up bar and pull away. Instead of focusing on bringing your bodyweight up and get your chin above the bar, focus your attention on getting your elbows towards your ribcage as you pull. What if you cannot perform bodyweight pull-ups? Get a low and secure bar like a handrails commonly found in a park. Hold the railing shoulderwidth apart with your hands and get your body under it with the feet on the ground. Be sure to maintain a straight full body alignment before you pull. Another great way to do the bodyweight pull-ups or chin-ups is to jump up and get the chin above the bar. Once the chin is cleared over the chin-up bar, hold for 2-4 seconds and descend slowly for about 4 seconds duration. Then land on the ground by releasing your grip from the bar and jump again and repeat for 5 repetitions or so. Please take precautions when your chin clears the bar. Never rest your chin on the bar or you will struggle yourself!
2. Push Up AKA Press Up
One of the most underrated exercises that can be done anywhere and there is no excuses for not doing them if you want to develop manly shoulders, chest and triceps. When doing the traditional military styled push-up that will have you in the plank position, you will also work the abdominals. There are different styles of push-ups you can do depending on your abilities. They can be done in different variations but not limited to push ups that can be performed from the knee position which is the easiest, feet position that will have you on your feet or the handstand position that will focus on the shoulder muscle region more. Be sure to choose the one that you can max out at 8 to 10 repetitions.
Great exercise to work the shoulders, chest and triceps. Depending on your fitness level, dips can be done on a low wall or parallel bars that can be found in a park. The easiest level is to perform this exercise having the hands supporting the bodyweight on a low wall and feet firmly planted on the ground. To enhance the difficulty of this exercise, you can move your feet further away from the wall, descend your bodyweight at a slower speed or do both. The hardest form of dips would be doing them on a pair of parallel bars or dip bars and suspending your bodyweight in the air. Be sure to perform full range of motion by going all the way down and all the way up until your arms are straightened.
It is a absolute must to do squats if you want to gain muscle fast. It is a compound movement exercise and research has found that compound movement exercises increase muscle-building hormone called testosterone level in the body. Be sure to perform full squats if you do not have pre-existing knee injuries or other knee conditions that can stop you from doing the squats. Progress to one-legged squats also known as “pistol” if two-legged squats are too easy. As you become better with one-legged squat, you can add in some jumping squats to increase muscle tension in the muscles.
Another great leg exercise that works on the muscles in the upper leg and buttocks. Lunges can be done in the form of stationary position, walking or even jumping. They can be made harder by holding a pair of cheap dumbbells or even having a 10kg sandbag over the shoulders.
Before you go out and perform all these exercises that put high tension in your muscles, be sure to consult medical advice and clearance on your suitability to perform them.