Include These 5 Exercises For Optimum Results
Whether you’re a beginner or someone who is hoping to take their workout to the next level, one thing that’s very important is that you make sure that you’re doing a few of the top results-producing exercises in your workout program.
While simply getting to the gym is one of the most important determinants of results, if you aren’t doing a productive workout session, this can also crush any chances you might have of realising success.
This said, there are five moves in particular that are often referred to as the ‘big lifts’ and for good reason.
They offer big results in terms of fat burning, muscle building, as well as strength and performance enhancements.
Doing a workout without these exercises would be wasting time in the gym.
Let’s go over what these five moves are so that you can make sure they’re in your workout routine.
First up is possibly the most intense move that you can do – the squat.
Squats are great because they are a full body exercise, working almost all the main muscle groups.
You’ll work all the main lower body muscles to a large degree including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves, while also working your core as it contracts to keep you as balanced as possible.
In addition to that, your back is also going to be strengthened from holding the bar as you execute the movement and even your shoulders will be worked to a slight degree as they keep yourself balanced.
With all these muscle fibres being stimulated, squats offer an excellent level of calorie burning per set, making them a great fat loss exercise.
Additionally, as you’ll be putting a high level of weight on the body as you perform them, this too will also mean that you’re seeing solid strength gains.
If you don’t want to do straight squats, remember that there are also front squats and sumo squats as variations. All will provide ample benefits.
When doing the squat, the key thing to remember is to keep the head looking forward (now down), which will keep your body in an upright position.
In addition to that, make sure that your knees are moving over the toes, not towards the inside or outside, which will place great strain on this joint.
The next move that needs to be in place in your workout program is the deadlift.
Now, the deadlift can be performed with slightly bent knees, which will emphasize the quads, hamstrings, and lower back, or it can be performed with straight knees, in which case it’s going to primarily work the back as well as the glute muscles.
Which variation you perform is entirely up to you and your goals, along with which areas of the body need the most work.
When doing the deadlift, you will be placing great strain on the back joints, so just be sure that you are keeping yourself using proper form at all times. Moving out of good form could pose a serious threat for injury.
Deadlifts can be performed with a barbell or a set of dumbbells – whichever is more comfortable for you.
You typically won’t want to do both squats and deadlifts in the same workout as they are both two incredibly intense exercises, but rather, alternate between them as you move throughout your program.
Seated row is the next exercise that you’ll want to have in place and is going to primarily work the upper body.
When doing the row, you’ll be hitting your back muscles, your lats to a slight degree, your rear deltoids (shoulders) as well as your biceps.
As you can see, it’s hitting a number of large muscle groups as well. For this reason, once again, you get great fat burning and strength building results.
You can perform rows with a straight barbell, with a set of dumbbells (using one or both hands), or you can do them seated, pulling on the horizontal rather than the vertical.
Another way to vary your row exercise is to simply change your hand grip position around.
You might use a regular grip, a close grip, a wide grip, or a reverse grip depending on what you are trying to achieve.
Mixing it up over time is a great way to keep shocking the body, ensuring that you never hit that dreaded progress plateau.
When doing the row, the main point to emphasize when it comes to good form is making absolutely sure that you are not swinging the weight upwards, using momentum and rounding the back.
Do this and you will quickly find yourself sidelined with back pain. The back should be kept straight, shoulder blades pulled together as you move through the exercise.
If you are unable to sustain this form, that’s a very good sign that you’re doing more weight than you should be.
The Bench Press
The next upper body move to include into your protocol is the bench press.
While the row hits all the back muscles, the bench press is going to target those upper body muscles on the front.
It’ll hit your chest, your front deltoids, as well as your triceps, rounding out your upper body.
The bench press, like the row, also comes in a number of variations.
You can incline or decline the bench for an immediate change of pace, altering the specific area of the chest it works and determining how much total shoulder muscle activation you get, as well as change your grip style around.
Close grip or reverse grip bench press for instance will both put more emphasis on the tricep muscle than on the chest.
Wide grip on the other hand will put more stress on the chest, working it exclusively.
If you aren’t comfortable doing the bench press yet, you can start by performing push-ups, which are a very similar action pattern.
The Shoulder Press
Finally, the last move to make note of is the shoulder press. This one is great for hitting the shoulders and triceps, taking the chest out of the equation.
It can be performed with a set of dumbbells or a barbell, whichever you prefer.
When doing it, the key point to keep in mind is to never lock the elbows at the top of the move, which would place extreme strain on this joint, as well as to never let your lower back arch as you perform the exercise.
Do this and you’ll be suffering from low back pain in the future.
The shoulder press is typically done on its own day or after the bench press exercise if including it into your workout routine.
If you are stuck getting the weight up on this move, you can also do it in a shoulder press machine, which will eliminate this concern.
So there you have the big five moves that you should be taking care to ensure are in your program plan.
Were you missing any of these? If you were, it’s time to make some changes so that they are making a regular appearance in your exercise sessions.