When it comes to beginner and intermediate lifters, or men simply looking to get stronger, build some muscle, and lose fat, there really is no need to get overly complicated when we set foot in the gym.
Instead of performing endless sets of bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, and lateral raises, let’s get back to basics and simplify matters by using three heavy duty exercises that are guaranteed to get you the results you desire.
Considered by many to be the “King of Exercises,” the deadlift is arguably one of the simplest exercises of all, requiring that you bend over, pick up the bar, and put it back down again.
There is of course more to it than this but we recommend starting with a light weight that you can perform for sets of 8 – 12 repetitions in order to learn the movement effectively and prevent injuries and strains when you add more weight.
As you lift the bar, keep your lower back arched, your glutes and hamstrings flexed, your chest and chin up, and your feet firmly driven into the ground.
Lowering the bar, you can essentially reverse the process, and make sure you keep the tension on your back to really work the muscles rather than just dropping the bar to the ground.
The bench press is to the chest, shoulders, and triceps what the deadlift is to the back, making it an important staple in the upper body routine of any aspiring bodybuilder, athlete, or weekend warrior.
This exercise can be varied by being performed on a slight incline or decline, or by using dumbbells instead of a barbell.
When using a barbell, focus on trying to bend the bar inwards as this will create far more tension on your pectoral muscles.
Be sure to also lower the bar to a 3-second count rather than simply bouncing it up and down off of your chest. This will keep the tension on the target muscles, and while you will be able to move less weight, you will see far greater physique development in far less time.
When it comes to building your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, there really is no exercise like the barbell squat.
Keep the bar high up on your back by resting it on top of your traps, and point your toes out ever so slightly with a shoulder-width stance.
As you come down with the bar, focus on trying to ‘slide’ your feet outwards as this will engage your outer quadriceps and contribute to more tension and greater overall muscle recruitment. This also ensures your muscles are doing the work rather than the weight being offset onto your joint and tendons.
As with all of these exercises, we recommend using a weight that you can perform 8 – 12 reps with confidently and with proper form; this is what will contribute to the greatest amount of muscular development.
If you want to develop strength with a heavier weight then we recommend using a weigh that you can perform 4 – 6 reps with, again, in a controlled manner.