Want To Know The Best Beginner Exercises For Building Muscle And Getting Ripped? Read On…
Building muscle is a lot simpler than many magazines, blogs and “gurus” make it out to be (hence the name of this website). In fact, a barbell along with some plates, a workout bench and a squat rack are usually enough to do the job. All good personal trainers know this, which is why their beginner workouts are built around the four most important muscle-building exercises included in this list.
The magic word here is compound exercises. They utilize multiple joints and are usually performed using free weights instead of machines. That way, they target several muscle groups at once, giving you the best muscle activation measured by the time you spend working out. This makes them perfect for building strength and gaining mass fast. Even though their benefits have been proven over and over again in countless studies, many beginners still focus on isolation exercises such as biceps curls or the pec deck.
Unfortunately, if you are a beginner looking to build muscle fast, most of the fancy equipment and machines you see at the gym are a waste of your time. Muscles grow only when they need to, which happens when they are put under a lot stress. When you are at the gym, you want to force your muscles to grow by overloading them.
The best way to do this is by lifting more total weight and recruiting more muscle groups during your workout. Isolation movements allow you to lift only a small portion of the weight that you can move when doing heavily loaded compound exercises.
What Are The Best Muscle Building Exercises For Beginners?
Among all compound exercises – which always trump isolation exercises – there are four major lifts that can be seen as the best muscle-building exercises for beginners. They are: Squats, Bench Press, Deadlift and Military Press. Together they will put you on the fast track to gym domination. When looking for a good workout to get you started as a beginner, make sure your program builds around them. If you’ve already included these four exercises, but aren’t satisfied with the results, you might want to put some more emphasis on them than the others in your routine.
What Makes These Four Muscle Building Exercises So Special?
When we look at muscle activation, all four can be considered not only compound exercises but full-body exercises. Their underlying movements mirror everyday motions like picking up something heavy (deadlift and squats), pushing it away (bench press) or lifting it above your head (military press). These movements build bigger arms and legs while strengthening your core at the same time. This means your abs and lower back get a great workout, too.
Note: If you are looking for the most effective bodyweight exercises, check out this article instead.
Targeted Muscle – Quadriceps
Other Muscles -Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes & Lower Back
Equipment – Barbell
Force – Push
1. Set the barbell on a rack (just below shoulder height).
2. Grab the barbell (slightly wider than shoulder width). Place it just below your neck across the back of your shoulders.
3. Position your feet shoulder width apart, with your toes pointed slightly outward.
4. While inhaling, slowly lower your upper body by bending the knees.
5. Stop when your thighs are just past parallel to the floor.
6. While exhaling, raise your upper body, pushing through your heels when straightening your legs.
Targeted Muscle – Chest (Upper & lower pectorals)
Other Muscles – Shoulders & Triceps
Equipment – Barbell or Dumbbells
Force – Push
1. Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor.
2. Hold the barbell in the base of your palm (medium-width grip). Make sure your wrists are straight.
3. Unrack the barbell and lower it to your chest, keeping both forearms vertical (elbows at a 70 degree angle).
4. Raise the barbell in a diagonal line from chest to shoulders until your arms are extended.
Targeted Muscle – Lower Back (Erector Spinae)
Other Muscles – Lats, Traps, Quadriceps, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings & Forearms
Equipment – Barbell
Force – Pull
1. Set up the barbell with the desired weight.
2. Grasp the barbell with a mixed grip (shoulder width apart) while keeping your back straight.
3. While exhaling, raise the barbell by extending knees and hips. Pull shoulders back at top and stick your chest out.
4. Bend at the knees and return to the original position.
Targeted Muscle – Shoulders
Other Muscles – Triceps
Equipment – Barbell or Dumbbell
Force – Push
1. Position the barbell at about chest high on a squat rack.
2. Lift the barbell up with your palms facing forward (shoulder-width grip). Take a step back and place both feet shoulder width apart from each other.
3. While exhaling, raise the barbell until your arms are fully extended.
4. While inhaling, slowly lower it to the front of your neck.