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The four biggest muscle building exercises

© keertmoed (Flickr) WCCF Barbell
© keertmoed (Flickr)

These exercises are known as compound movements as there is more than one muscle group being worked in the motions of each exercise. In addition to being great muscle mass builders, they are also great for weight loss.

It all depends on the corresponding diet. There are many tutorial videos on YouTube which demonstrate the correct technique for each exercise, and these should be studied before attempting any of these exercises.

1. Deadlift
The deadlift involves lifting a barbell from ground level to hip level.

This primarily targets muscles in the lower back, but also works muscles in the legs, upper back and biceps as well. Take care to perform the exercise relatively slowly, as more explosive movements can lead to injury.

2. Squats
Squats are the king of lower body exercises, but are also a great total body workout. This exercise involves resting a barbell on the shoulders, and squatting down, pushing the backside out and making sure your knees do not move out past your toes. Perform this exercise with a spotter if possible. It is easiest to start this exercise from a squat rack, which most gyms will have.

3. Bench press
Bench press is the classic example of muscle power, and works the chest and tricep muscles. This involves using a bench to lie on, and pressing a barbell directly above your body. Aim for two seconds up, two seconds down in the movement. This should be done with a spotter (where possible).

4. Pull ups
Pull ups or chin ups (pull up grips are palms away from you, chin up grips are palms towards you) can be performed with a pull up bar, and target the muscles in the back, as well as the biceps. It can be useful to have a chair or something to stand on below you to help push yourself on the ‘up’ part, then control the ‘down’ part slowly without the use of the chair. For higher difficulty, try adding weight by wearing a backpack filled with water bottles, books or free weights.

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