The best resistance exercises for your muscles

Resistance exercises should be the primary focus of your workout routine, regardless of whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle.

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However, before knowing the best resistance exercises that will help you gain muscle, you must understand the meaning of resistance training. This will help you better understand muscle engagement, progressive overload, and other factors that cause your muscles to get bigger!

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What is resistance training?

Resistance training refers to a method of training where your muscles are subjected to heavy loads, which cause muscle fibers to tear. As a result, the nutrition it provides (protein) will allow the body to rebuild muscle fibers, making them stronger and thicker to carry the load.

Of course, once the fibers are rebuilt, you need to increase the resistance. The reason is that if you use the same weight over and over again, your muscles will get used to it and will no longer grow.

Legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger has always toned the dreaded muscles using resistance training to keep them growing.


The best resistance exercises for growth

Here are some resistance exercises that you should incorporate into your routine. All of the movements below are compound movements, which means they are exercises that focus on more than one muscle group.

1) Bench Press: Focuses on the chest, triceps and shoulders

Bench press (Photo by Michael DeMoya on Unsplash)
Bench press (Photo by Michael DeMoya on Unsplash)

To do a bench press:

  • You can perform this exercise with a barbell or a pair of dumbbells.
  • Place an adjustable seat in the flat bench position or use a flat bench.
  • If you are using a barbell, adjust it to a level where you can reach it by extending your hands (with a slight bend at the elbow) while you are lying on the bench.
  • If you are using dumbbells, hold one in each hand and lie down with the dumbbells next to your chest.
  • Arch your back, flare your chest, engage your core, and push the weight up.
  • You should not allow the triceps to do most of the movement. The chest should bear most of the resistance.
  • Squeeze your chest muscles at the top of the movement before lowering the weight.

2) Incline Bench: Focuses on the chest, triceps, and shoulders

Bench press (Photo by Nathan Dumlau on Unsplash)
Bench press (Photo by Nathan Dumlau on Unsplash)

To do the incline press:

  • Set the adjustable tilt to one or two levels beyond 90 degrees.
  • The bar should be set at a height that you can reach with your back against the incline bench.
  • Grab the bar and open it.
  • Bring it to your chest.
  • Breathe in, flare your chest, arch your back, and push the barbell with your pectoral muscles.
  • Squeeze the top of the movement before you lower the weight steadily up to your chest.

3) Barbell Row: Focuses on the back, biceps and back muscles

Barbell Row (Image via Google)
Barbell Row (Image via Google)

To make iron rows:

  • Place a barbell in front of you and add weight to both sides.
  • Hold the bar at shoulder width.
  • Keeping your back straight, your core engaged for stability, and pull up the barbell.
  • Bend at your hips but keep your back straight.
  • Pull the barbell towards you in a rowing motion.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.
  • Hold the position for a second before gently lowering the weight.

4) Lat pull-down: Focuses on the back and biceps

Lat pulldown (photo by FitNish Media on Unsplash)
Lat pulldown (photo by FitNish Media on Unsplash)

To do a dropdown for the longitude direction:

  • You will need access to a pull-down machine.
  • Put a weight you can pull.
  • Hold the attached bar wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Keeping your back straight, engage your lat muscles, and pull the bar up to your chest.
  • Leave the bar up steadily as you lower the weight.
  • Control the negativity so that the muscle fibers have maximum impact.

5) Barbell Shoulder Press: Focuses on the shoulder and triceps

Barbell shoulder press (Photo by Arthur Edelmans on Unsplash)
Barbell shoulder press (Photo by Arthur Edelmans on Unsplash)

To do a barbell shoulder press:

  • Set the barbell at shoulder height, and add weight to either side.
  • Hold the bar with your palms facing out.
  • Push the bar up to open it and place it across your shoulders.
  • Use your core to stabilize, inhale, and push the barbell above your head as you exhale.
  • Maintain your balance while lowering the weight steadily to shoulder height.

6) Hack Squats: Focuses on the legs

Hack Squat (Photo by Chris Bumstead Instagram: @cbum)
Hack Squat (photo from Chris Bumstead’s Instagram: @cbum)

To do the squat hack:

  • Set the machine at a height where the shoulder pad is on your shoulders and the feet are on the platform.
  • Your knees should be bent when you are in the starting position.
  • Push with your heels and release the weight.
  • Move down while supporting the weight.
  • The thighs should be at 90 degrees with the calves. Ideally, you should try to go lower.
  • Push with your heels to keep pressure on your quads.

You need to combine resistance training exercises with proper nutrition, hydration, and rest to grow. Resistance exercises can also be done at home. Even if you don’t want to invest in any free weights, you can use your own body weight for resistance exercises at home. Find resistance training at home here.

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