All too often, people become frustrated that they aren't seeing the results they want from their workouts. What many people don't know is that adding in some strength training to your regular routine can help. While cardiovascular exercises are crucial to your overall health and fitness level, it is just as important to incorporate some strength training into your fitness routine. Strength training reduces blood pressure, strengthens your bones, improves your balance, boosts your energy level, and even allows your body to burn calories while at rest. Another great benefit of strength training is that you are easily able to target specific muscle groups in your workouts.
Do you have strong legs but are looking to build your biceps? Perhaps you're happy with your upper body but trying to gain muscle in your quads. Either way, you're in luck: There are countless weight-training exercises out there that allow you to target specific muscle groups, so you can focus on the exact area you are looking to firm up or build. Don't get frustrated with the same old workout routines: Learn the proper exercises you can do to target the muscle group you want to see results in.
The major upper-body muscle groups include the chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, forearms, and the abdominal muscles. There are multiple exercises you can do to target each specific upper-body muscle group. Want to improve your chest muscles? Some good exercises for you include push-ups, dumbbell flies, dips, and using the chest press machine as well as the dumbbell bench press. Looking to build up your back? Cable rows and pull-ups can help to increase size and strength in the back muscles. If you're looking to target your shoulders, you should use the overhead barbell press and do dumbbell front raises. If you're trying to grow your triceps, close-grip and reverse-grip bench-presses and dips are probably your best bet. Looking to bulk up those biceps? Barbell curls, pull-ups, and chin-ups are some great exercises you should try. If you want to improve strength in your forearms, you should try wrist curls and towel pull-ups. If you're trying to strengthen your core, you could really benefit from mountain climbers, planks, crunches, and sit-ups. Attaining six-pack abs also requires regular cardiovascular workouts and maintaining a clean and healthy diet.
The major lower-body muscle groups consist of the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and the gluteus maximus. Just like with the upper body, there are countless different exercises you can do to work out each specific lower-body muscle group. If you're looking to enhance your quads, doing different kinds of squats, lunges, and leg extensions are all great ways to build up these muscles in the fronts of your thighs. Unfortunately, the hamstrings are all too often left out in leg training. In order to work these, try some lying leg curls and clean dead lifts. If you want to build up your calf muscles, you can try seated calf raises in addition to simply partaking in regular running, hiking, or even walking. If you need to work on your glutes, doing barbell and dumbbell lunges as well as squats are a great way to tone up.
- Chest Exercise Videos: In this collection of videos, the International Sports Sciences Association demonstrates different exercises that target your chest muscles.
- Back Exercises in 15 Minutes a Day: A variety of back exercises are demonstrated and explained in this slide show.
- Exercise Library: Shoulder Exercises: This article showcases a wide variety of shoulder exercises with accompanying pictures and text.
- Strengthening Your Core: A variety of different abdominal exercises can help you to strengthen your core muscles.
- Lower-Body Strength-Training Exercises: This guide from Georgia State University shows and explains a variety of different exercises to do to strengthen your lower-body muscles.
- Bicep Curl Variations (video): The University of Northern Colorado demonstrates bicep curl variations and explains all of the steps for them in this video.
- Strength Training (PDF): This in-depth document explains and illustrates various strength-training exercises that target different muscle groups.
- Tricep Exercises: Watch the videos found here to learn about different exercises you can use to strengthen your triceps.
- Beginner Core Exercises: This guide explains and demonstrates multiple different core exercises for beginners. Having strong core muscles is especially important because these muscles help support nearly every movement that your body makes.
- Ways to Strengthen Muscles: Weight-training isn't just for men and boys. This guide for girls lays out various exercises that can be used to work different muscle groups.