Strong muscles and a healthy body are the foundation of athleticism. Which is why strength training should always be incorporated into your workout routine — and there are thousands of ways to do it. Weightlifting, resistance training, and bodyweight movements all help with increasing muscle gains. Plus, muscle helps burn fat, so stronger muscles equals more fat burn.
Below are 7-strength building exercises to incorporate into your workout. Strength training should be done in addition to any cardio or endurance workout you may already have planned. Adding in just 15-20 minutes of strength training into your workout can make a world of difference.
Exercise 1: Barbell Squats
3 sets of 10 barbell back squats adding weight each set. Take a 60-90 second rest in between sets.
TIP: Perfect your air squat before jumping to weights
The air squat is the basis of all squatting movements. So, be sure you are doing it right before you hit the barbell in order to reduce your chance of injury.
Pay attention to the following points of performance as you work on your air squat:
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Hips descend back and down coming below the knee.
- Knees track your toes.
- Weight is balanced in your heels.
- Chest remains upright and the lumbar curve in your spine is maintained.
Exercise 2: Pull Ups
Strict pull-up ladder with 20 seconds rest in between sets
Perform 1 strict pull-up and rest 20 seconds
Do 2 strict pull-ups and rest 20 seconds
Do 3 strict pull-ups and rest 20 seconds
Do 4 strict pull-ups and rest 20 seconds
Do 5 strict pull-ups….
Perform as many rounds as you can of consecutive pull-ups. As soon as you drop during a set, start back at 1. Try this for 10 minutes.
TIP: Pull-ups are one of the best muscle builders
When it comes to building brute strength, pull-ups, especially ones from the dead hang, are one of the best ways to add muscle. Practicing just 3-5minutes a day of strict pull-ups will improve your overhead press, bench press, and push ups.
Exercise 3: Deadlifts
Perform 4 sets of 6-8 reps of a conventional deadlift adding weight after each set. Build to a heavy set.
-A conventional deadlift is performed with feet hip width apart and your hands right outside your legs. Make sure the bar is making contact with your shin. Shoulders should come slightly over the bar and your back should be slightly arched. To perform the deadlift drive through your heels as you stand up keeping the bar as close to your legs as possible.
TIP: Keep your back engaged throughout the drive
When performing a deadlift, especially as the weight gets heavy, it’s really important to keep your back engaged. As soon as you let those muscles loosen, you greatly increase your risk of injury.
Exercise 4: Overhead Press
Using a barbell perform 3 sets of 10 reps building in weight each set. In between sets perform 10 lateral raises with 2 light dumbells.
TIP: Keep your core tight
Although the overhead press is technically more of a shoulder, triceps, and chest workout, a tight core will help you stabilize the bar and press it overhead. For more rapid extension on the heavier sets, bend your knees slightly forward and use the momentum to help you get the bar overhead.
Exercise 5: Bodyweight Squats
Tabata (20 seconds of work/10 seconds rest for 8 rounds) of jumping lunges and goblet squats. Repeat this tabata 3 times.
TIP: Chest up and weight in your heels
The key to performing a proper squat, with or without a weight, is keeping your weight in your heels and your chest high. Your squat will improve significantly if you focus on those two elements.
Exercise 6: Bench Press
Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps building to a heavy set. In between sets perform 10 skull crushers with two lighter dumbbells.
TIP: Keep your feet flat on the floor while you bench press
Your feet are vital in stabilizing yourself on the bench, so make sure they are flat on the floor or flat on a level surface while you bench press. It is also helpful to push through your heels as you bench press the bar.