I have selected 5 weight training exercises that I find, for both the beginner and the elite athlete, are the most beneficial to build muscle. These exercises can be changed to make more complex. I am focusing on large muscle groups to require more muscle, which will use more energy.
1. Goblet Squats
The goblet squat is my favorite exercise. By holding a dumbbell by the bell part with both hands in front of your chest engages your upper back muscles and requires correct form. With feet shoulder width apart, lead with your butt and weight on your heels sit low, so that quads become parallel with the ground and then stand back up and squeeze your butt! Squats use many leg muscles, including quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. If you do not have the strength to do this, use a chair or a bench to sit down on to get the form correct.
2. Backward Lunges
The backward lunge is my go to lunge exercises. You can hold dumbbell or kettle bells in your hands, bar on your back, or bar in front. Take a large step behind you and bend both knees. Your front knee should never be over your toe and should be directly over your ankle. I like the lunge, because it requires balance and engages the abductor and adductor hip stabilizer muscles. Lunges also use many of the leg muscles, similar to the squat.
3. Floor Chest Press
Laying on the ground is a safer way to perform a chest press for the shoulder joint. In this exercise, you can use dumbbell or a bar. Bring your elbows to the ground, lightly touch the ground and press the weight up. The bar or dumbbells should come slightly below the chest line with elbows slightly towards your core, not 90 degree out. Chest presses use both the pectorals and the triceps as the assister muscle.
The plank is one of the best ways to build core strength both in front at the abdomen and the back at the spine stabilizers. With both forearms and toes on the ground, squeeze your glutes and flex your quadriceps, and pull your arms and toes towards each other. Keep your hips square to the ground and hips in line with your feet and shoulders, not too high or too low. This exercises is great to increase strength and decrease low back pain.
5. Bent Over Reverse Grip Rows
This is one of the best back exercises. So many people throughout the day have their arms in internal rotation; writing, typing, and so many more. Using a reverse grip will strengthen the external rotation movement and any row will strength the muscles needed for proper posture. This can be performed with a bar or dumbbells. With knees slightly bent and bending at the hips, but keeping your back flat by rolling your shoulders back and popping your chest tall, pull the bar or dumbbells leading with your elbows behind you.
These exercises are a great way to start your new weight training program. You can incorporate all of them in one day or add them into something you already do! Make sure you are using weight that is reasonable for you, but challenging at the same time!