Stepping into a gym can be intimidating when you’re not sure where to start. It can seem even more daunting when you want to incorporate strength training and the weights sections of your gym are crowded with muscley guys who are grunting and throwing dumbbells on the ground.
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But building muscle has many healthy benefits, including helping you burn more fat and calories at rest, making you stronger for everyday activities, and possibly even preserving brain health.
The deadlift may be the single-best movement for increasing your overall strength. Think about it, what could be more functional than lifting a heavy weight off the ground?
As a compound movement (a lift involving two or more joints) that works more than one major muscle group, Mufdi truly believes that the deadlift is the one exercise that should be a part of everyone’s workout routine.
Not only will the deadlift work your hips, glutes, backs and legs, but it will also help boost your metabolism.
Another great compound movement for overall strength and boosting your metabolism is the squat. Though it’s usually deemed a “leg” exercise, the squatactually offers many benefits for your entire body, including your core!
If you’re worried about stressing your back with the squat, there are variations that put less pressure on the spine like the front squat or goblet squat.
To start, use a dumbbell to perform the goblet squat and work up to using a barbell.
To make sure you’re limber enough to squat, check out, “How To Properly Warm Up For Squats: Increase Flexibility And Strength.”
Weighted Hip Thrusts
Warning! You will get stares from people with this movement. However, once you get over the embarrassment and begin to see the difference this movement makes in your body, you will love it.
By performing the weighted hip thrusts, your glutes will become stronger, and you will see major improvements in your other lifts. Hip thrusts target the glutes in a completely different way than a squat or deadlift. In those movements, the glutes are used to help the lift whereas in a hip thrust the glutes are isolated.
The benefits of isolating the glutes are not only to strengthen them. Glute activation will help your other lifts and of course, round out that booty.
Looking to build beautiful sculpted shoulders and arms while working the rest of your body as well? You’ve come to the right place!
Standing while performing the overhead press assists in developing your core and stabilizer muscles in your trunk.
Try this move with dumbbells first then graduate to the olympic bar. You’ll be sure to get noticed for being such a badass.
Lastly, although the kettlebell swing exercise may seem out of place on this list, it is one of Mufdi’s favorite exercises to add to a workout as a “finisher.”
Not only is the kettlebell swing a complete body workout, it doubles as cardio as well.
For starters, swings help strengthen the deep abdominal muscle that traditional crunches simply can’t. KB swings also do a fantastic job of defining your backand shouldermuscles while providing your cardiovascular conditioning. This means you’re burning fat in the process.
Don’t believe me? Pick up a fairly heavy kettlebell and start swinging. You’ll find your heart rate and breathing start to speed up!
Do swings in 20-30 second working intervals while resting for the same amount of time before repeating. Give these a shot and let us know what you think!