While everyone constantly preaches that variety in your training regimen is important, there are always going to be those “staples” that should always find their way into your program no matter what you’re planning to do. They’re the tried and true exercises that activate your muscle groups like no other movements can. Here are some of the best exercises for each major muscle group in the body.
LEARN WHICH EXERCISES FOR EACH MUSCLE GROUP WILL WORK FOR YOU
Deadlifts are by far the best back exercise a person can do to target the entire back as a whole. Our back is not just one muscle, but rather made up of many different muscles that work together in an intricate system.
From the very beginning of the deadlift movement, your trapezius muscles are activated. And from there, the rhomboids, rear delts, lats, and lower back muscles come into play to help bring the weight up. The form is always important and your legs will be used to help with this lift. But through proper technique, this exercise will help you to develop a wide and thick back.
CHEST: HAMMER STRENGTH INCLINE PRESS (PLATE LOADED)
Most would not have expected us to put a machine move on this list, but this is a new age in fitness and machines have evolved to a point where not only are they just as effective as free weights to build muscle, but also safer on the joints.
The plate loaded incline press targets the upper chest through a controlled range of motion, and this iso-lateral ability of machine allows for each pec muscle to work independently. To add to the list of benefits, this machine forces you to move the weight through a controlled range of motion greatly reducing pressure on the shoulders and elbows.
No surprise here. The squat is simply the best overall mass builder to target your quadriceps muscles and pretty much almost every other muscle in the leg. Finding your ideal range of motion and foot positioning will depend a lot on genetic factors like height and natural flexibility. Before jumping under the bar, do several variations without any weight to see which form feels most comfortable.
BICEPS: BARBELL CURLS
Consider this exercise to be the “squats for your biceps”. It serves as a mass builder and shaping the movement. It’s important to keep your elbows back and steady as you lift the barbell. By doing this, you minimise the chances of your front delts activating.
Dips are an excellent movement to stimulate all three heads of the tricep muscle. To minimise stress on the shoulder joint, don’t lower your body past 90 degrees. To spare your elbows, refrain locking out at the top of the movement.
Keep your body upright as much as possible to keep the tension on the triceps and not your pecs. If you’re not able to do the hanging variation of this exercise, opt for a seated dip or dip machine instead.
DELTOIDS: STANDING DUMBBELL MILITARY PRESS
We chose the standing version over the seated version simply for its anatomical benefits. Keeping your body standing forces you to activate more of your support muscles (abs, lumbar, glutes). You won’t be able to go as heavy as you would in the seated movement, however, you will notice in little time your overall shoulder development will improve by incorporating this standing movement.
Using dumbbells instead of barbells allows for your arms to move in a more natural position, this is important to take as much stress off the shoulder joints as possible.
This list of exercises should be a staple of anyone getting started in the gym. Remember, focus on your form and not the amount of weight you are lifting. Keep it light and focus on high repetitions. Give your body plenty of time to adjust as move forward at a steady pace.
Never assume you know what you are doing if you are new to the gym. Reach out and get assistance.