Whilst there’s readers that have the time to complete a workout session every day, there’s others that are only able to dedicate themselves to a few sessions per week. As a result, we focus upon core muscular groups in order to maximise the strength and size we can build in the limited time we have to perform weight training. Whilst maintaining a high repetition/high set pairing will take more time, excellent results can be obtained with short rest periods amongst low repetition and high sets. Today’s post will focus upon fundamental exercises you need to grow stronger and bigger, but also tips on maximising your workout sessions.
Developing a strong, athletic body doesn’t require countless sets, hours upon hours each week and dozens of isolation exercises. In fact, four core exercises can build the base on your training program – of which you can customise your workouts to maintain variation and keep your body guessing.
1 – Deadlifts – Whilst form is important to avoid injury woes, deadlifts are in incredibly important exercise in all-round strength (both upper and lower body). The concept of deadlifting in itself (essentially picking up weight from the floor) is a simple movement, however, performing it requires perfect execution. Correct form doesn’t come immediately, in fact perfecting your execution of the deadlift movement can take years. It primarily activates the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, core and forearm muscles assisting in developing proper posture.
2 – Dips – Dip training involves the strengthening of chest, shoulder and tricep muscle areas. Increasing the difficulty of the exercise may include hanging chains from your dip belt around your hips, as well as attaching weight plates or dumbbells. Altering the speed and intensity of the exercise is beneficial in increasing the difficulty of your weight training ensuring areas which should be worked during the performance of the exercise are. Dips assist in correcting posture and improving flexible characteristics – incredibly important as popular exercises such as barbell presses and chest press assist in creating mass and strength, however at the sacrifice of flexibility and shoulder mobility. Dips offer variation to a weight training program, stretching muscles which are otherwise neglected and can become stiff leaving a weightlifter prone to injury as aspects of their physique are underutilised and underdeveloped.
3 – Squats – Moreover front squats, which in comparison to the traditional squat and deadlift focus more specifically on strengthening the quadriceps as opposed to hamstrings and glutes. Front squats assist in the development of the core, strengthening the scapular abductors, adding to ankle flexibility and bettering your posture. Front squats are definitely an intermediate exercise, and whilst you may be able to perform traditional squats with decently high weights, front squats are far more demanding of functionality, correct form and require strengthening of muscle groups involved in the movement.
4 – Chinups/Pullups – As simple as a deadlift in essence, only, we are the resistance as opposed to a bar loaded with weights. This exercise develops the biceps, rear delts, lats, core and forearms – depending upon hand positioning.
– Pushups: Perhaps one of easiest exercises to perform, requiring nothing other than your focused attention. Pushups strengthen shoulder and chest muscles; and are easy to improve upon with consistent application over time.
– Bent Over Rows: Similar to deadlifts with a primary focus upon strengthening the lower back, and trapezius muscles. Correct form is necessary to avoid injury – however, in conjunction with deadlifts, bent over rows are essential to developing a thick, muscular back.
– Military Press: A simple pressing movement, which can be performed standing in order to place emphasis on core strengthening – or in sitting position in order to maximise shoulder development. The military press could arguably be included as one of the top four essential exercises to growing a functional, stronger body.
An effective workout program doesn’t necessarily need to involve complex isolation exercises, requiring set upon set and countless hours in the gym each week. The core fundamental exercises outlined above can assist in the develop of a stronger, bigger body to the same degree that a congested, extensive workout program can. It’s as simple as perfecting form and execution of the four exercises, across two days of the week and maximising the effectiveness of each workout by limiting rest time and increasing intensity.