How Many Exercises Per Muscle Group Should I Do?

As millions of people continue to sign up for gym sessions hoping to develop a muscular physique, it’s important that they pay attention to the muscle groups they’re training. Toning exercises can significantly assist in fat loss while allowing you to build muscle mass when properly done. Weightlifting exercises, which are the most common example of toning exercises are usually performed with low resistance (using low weight) and high repetitions with rest periods in between. In this guide, you’ll discover various workouts suited to different muscle groups. 

Upper Body

Chest (Pectorals)

The chest fly and bench press are the two types of exercises you can use to train your pectorals. With chest fly, you’ll be standing up or lying on a bench while bringing your arms above to the chest. Bench press involves pushing a weight (dumbbells) away from the pectorals while lying on a bench with your back.  

Front of Arms (Biceps) and Back of Arms (Triceps)

The Preacher curl (performed by curling the hands up to the shoulders with weights) is an ideal workout for the biceps. You can train your triceps with the triceps extension or pushdown. The triceps extension involves lowering a weight and raising it again above the head while the pushdown involves pushing down on a barbell held at the level of your upper chest. 

Shoulders (Deltoids)

The four types of exercises you can use to train your shoulders include the shoulder press, the upright row, the military press and the lateral raise. Though the shoulder press and military press involve lowering a weight held above your head above your shoulders, the military version requires you to stand with your feet together. The upright row requires you to lift a weight straight up to your collarbone while the lateral raise involves lifting weights just below your shoulders with your hands hanging down. 

Mid Back (Lats)

The bent-over row, the pull-up and the pull-down are exercises for training the mid back. You’ll be holding pulling a weight that’s hanging down towards your abdomen as you lean over when doing the bent-over row. The pull-up requires you to pull your body up from a chin bar while the pulldown involved pulling a wide barbell down towards your upper chest. 

Waist

Abdominals

Training your upper and lower body while ignoring your waist area won’t give you a well-formed muscular physique. Incorporate the leg raise and the crunch in your routine to train the abdominals. The leg raise involves raising the knees towards the legs or shoulders to a vertical upright posture while the crunch involves curling the shoulders upwards close to the pelvis. 

Lower Back

The good-morning and the back extension help train the lower back. While doing the good morning, you’ll hold two dumbbells or a barbell on your shoulders behind your head. The back extension involved bending down at your waist and strengthening it up again while lying on your belly. 

Lower Body

Front of the Thighs (Quadriceps)

You can train your quadriceps with the wall sit, the leg extension, the deadlift, the squat and the leg press. All of these exercises require weights except for the wall sit. With the wall sit, you’ll be lowering your hips until your hips and knees form a right angle while placing your back against the wall. 

Back of the Legs (Hamstrings) and Calves 

The three exercises for training the hamstrings include the snatch, the leg curl and the stiff-legged deadlift. You’ll need to do the seated calf raise or the standing calf raise when training your calves. Consider training your calves and hamstrings the same day for the best results. 

Summing Up

After learning about the different types of exercises that target different muscle groups, it’s time to fit them in your workout routine. Always train each muscle group in your body to achieve a toned musculature. You can also consult with a trainer on how to fit these exercises in your routine. 

How Much Should I Be Able To Squat? Find Out Here!

Once you agree to sign up for a workout program characterized by vigorous training, you should prepare yourself for everything you’ll experience. One of the exercises most new gym goers fear is squats. As a set of strength exercises, squats are essential for developing core strength and increasing the size and strength of your lower body muscles. 

Each squatting session will help train the muscles of your hips, buttocks and thighs while strengthening the ligaments, tendon insertions and bones of the lower body. Knowing how to do squats the right way will help you derive these benefits without being at risk of lower body injury. Find more information on how much squats you should do below. 

How to Properly Do Squats

Your squatting sessions should always find you in a standing position. Though a loaded barbell is the most common weight used for swjats, kettlebells and dumbbells can also do the magic. When you use a barbell, brace it across your upper trapezius muscle to do a high bar squat. You can do a low bar squat by lowering the barbell across your rear deltoids and holding that squatting position. 

Getting to a high bar or low bar squatting position isn’t enough to train your lower body muscles. You’ll need to move your hips back and bend your knees and hips to lower your torso and the weight you’re carrying. After bending your knees, return to your upright position and then repeat the exercise. 

How Many Squats Should You Do?

You can do squats in varying depths depending on your fitness level and goals. Aim for ten to fifteen squats per day twice or thrice a week. The competition standard for doing this exercise is referred to as parallel depth. You have to ensure the top part of your leg (at the hip joint) falls below your knee for you to meet this standard. 

Other standards you can observe when doing squats involve the top of your upper thigh being below the top of your knee, your femur being parallel to the floor and your hip joint being below the knee. Squatting above parallel depth qualifies as a shallow squat while squatting below parallel depth qualifies as a deep squat. Authorities caution gym goers against doing deep squats since they have a higher potential for injury and lifelong physical disabilities. 

Dangers of Overdoing Squats

When squatting, your knees and hips will bend, your ankle will extend while the muscles around your joint will contract until they reach a point they can’t undergo further contraction. Throughout the exercise, you’ll be relying on the muscles around your hips to power your lower body. Common mistakes people make when squatting include flexing their torso too far forward bending too rapidly. Such mistakes could lead to injury or inability to complete the squat

You’re at a higher risk of suffering spinal disc herniation when you flex your torso since the exercise will exert a lot of force on your lower back. Failing to align the knees in the direction of your toes will adversely strain the knee joints increasing the risk of an injury. Another mistake people make while squatting is raising their heels off the ground. Such a mistake prevents the gluteus muscles from contributing to the entire exercise thus making it difficult to complete the squat. 

Final Thoughts

Squats tend to be a complex set of exercises for most beginners at gyms or fitness centers. It’s important to seek guidance from a trainer before carrying them out to put yourself at lesser risk of injury. If you’re a good learner, it will take a few sessions for you to master the routines and variations allowing you to train your lower body as you wish. While theoretical knowledge on squats is essential when getting started with these workouts, it’s advisable to spare time to put the knowledge into practice to improve your mastery. 

 

Strength Training Vs Weight Training – Whats The Difference?

While it’s a great decision to start working out, you have to know the specifics of the exercises you’ll be indulging in to get the results you desire. You would want all the money you spent on gym membership fees to go to waste simply because you were clueless about the workouts you are doing at the gym. The two concepts you’ll come across as you learn more about fitness are strength training and weight training. Discussed below are the key differences between these types of workout and their benefits. 

 

Strength Training Vs Weight Training

Strength training is all about garnering strength while under tension while weight training  entails pulling or pushing a resistance band or body weight to build muscles. With weight training (also known as resistance training), your focus will be stimulating muscle growth using resistance derived from free weights (such as dumbbells), machines or your own weight. The goal of any weight training session is to help you increase your muscle strength. 

Gaining strength won’t be an end goal in weight training as it is in strength training. Your strength training sessions will involve lifting heavy weights (which gradually increase) with the goal of getting stronger. You may fit strength training and weight training exercises in your workout routine depending on your fitness needs and your physical health. 

Strength training can be defined as an exercise that forces your muscles to rebuild and become stronger by pushing them outside their comfort zone. It can be accomplished either by movement of any weight (inclusive of your total body weight) or progressive overload. With progressive overload, your goal is to exert slightly more effort than you exerted in your last weightlifting attempt to make your muscles adapt and grow. 

What are the Benefits of Strength Training?

Building strength while working out can help your body be less prone to muscle loss and degenerative diseases such as heart disease. Strength training also helps remedy conditions associated with inactivity, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol. The exercise helps improve the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia, lymphedema, Down Syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, Osteoporosis and arthritis. It’s recommended for people who have recently suffered from clinical depression, cancer, stroke or spinal cord injury. 

When combined with calorie restriction (consuming less calories than those you burn daily), strength training can help you lose weight. You can rely on the exercise for a boost in your metabolic rate if your goal is to build muscle mass since it takes more calories to build and maintain muscles. Strength training exercises will also boost your metabolic rate for up to 36 hours after working out to allow your body to replenish itself. 

 

What are the Benefits of Weight Training?

One reason why fitness experts recommend weight training is that it applies to everyday life and it helps improve bone density. The rate at which your body loses muscle will decline since weight training helps you build more muscle. You’ll also get to see the direct results as you stuck to your workout plan. The psychological benefits of weight training include feeling confident about oneself and one’s abilities, ability to recover faster and better and ability to have quality sleep. 

Final Thoughts

The decision to do more strength training or more weight training entirely depend on your fitness goals. Strength training would suit you of your end goal is strength while weight training will be ideal for you if you want to use resistance to build muscle. You can even combine both exercises by allocating separate days in your weekly gym routine for each one of them. Consider speaking to a professional trainer for more expert guidance on whether or not you should combine these exercises and ways you can fit them in your routine to achieve your desired results.