Just about any resistance exercises that you do will help you gain some muscle. The focus of this article is to show you how to gain the most muscle in the most efficient way. From much reading, studying and research of my own over the past 20 years, I’ve learned what works best for me, and it should also worked for you. These exercises will be effective at any stage of working out from beginner to advanced, and at any age.
As you get more advanced in your workouts, you may add isolation exercises that work only on specific muscles if you have areas that are lagging behind the rest. Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder, you will generally not need isolation exercises.
For all exercises you should do 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps. Use enough weight so that the last rep you do, is the last one that you can do. Then rest for 1 minute and do the next set. When you can do 10 reps in each set, up the weight 5 or 10 pounds and work up to 10 reps again.
If you live in Minnesota, outdoor exercising is more difficult in the winter months but there are many great things you can do when it nicer. Running, biking, disc golf, ball golf, softball, canoeing, swimming, etc. You should do these on the weekends and do weight training during the week. In the colder months, walking is a very effective cardio exercise that you can do year round.
CHEST -- Pushups are the best overall upper body exercise that you can do. There are many variations on pushups that will hit the different parts of the chest to work it overall. Bench Press is the most done chest exercise because it works. You can do it flat, as an incline and as a decline. Each one works a different part of the chest to cover al the chest muscles.
SHOULDERS -- Overhead or military press is the best overall shoulder exercise to add muscle and strength. You can do it with a barbell or dumbbells. Shrugs are the other shoulder exercise that you should do; they build up the trap muscles that go from the back of the neck to the shoulders.
BACK -- Pull-ups and chin-ups are the best back building exercises you can do. They also are great for building strength. If you can’t do them, cheat until you can. To cheat, jump up to the top and slowly let yourself down, then jump up and slowly lower yourself again. Do the 6 to 10 reps for each set. The other way to cheat is to use an exercise band under your feet of knees to assist you, once you can, do them without cheating and work up to 6 to 10 reps. Rows and hyperextensions are the other must do back exercises. Rows can be done with a bar or dumbbells bent over, or seated using a machine. Hyperextensions are for the lower back and are important not to get bigger, but to help support and strengthen your body and core.
ARMS -- Bar curls or dumbbell curls are the best way to work on biceps. Keep your elbows tight against your body through the curl, that way you will isolate the biceps. Hammer curls are the other bicep exercise; Hammer curls will also build strong forearms. The best triceps exercises are pushdowns and triceps dips. As the dips get easier, add weight.
LEGS – Many people who work out, don’t like to work legs. Don’t ignore your legs. Some of the biggest muscles you have are in your legs and you must work on them. Squats, lunges and calf raises are the leg exercises that you need to do.
ABS – You will likely find that most exercises for abs work a little, but they are not effective for real abs workouts. The best abs exercises I’ve found are the old-fashioned sit-ups, leg raises and woodchoppers with bands.
If you want to get in great shape and see your abs, you’re not going to get there by over working your abs. You need to get to a low body fat percentage. Building powerful legs and a strong upper body, will get you there faster than doing lots of abs exercises.
Do a full body workout 3 days per week, or split them up and do workouts 5 days per week. I prefer the split workout so I can get more intense on each body part and make it part of my daily routine. As for diet, don’t eat sweets and look at the nutrition info on everything you eat to see if it’s worth it.