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Muscle-Building Exercises: How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

Woman Doing Push UpsIn the past, people used to worry about building muscle because, as many people know, it weights more than fat. That said, those who want to lose weight often make the mistake of totally cutting muscle-building exercises out of the equation. However, when you fail to build muscle while losing weight, your body has the tendency to become flabby and unattractive.

Since this is not a desirable look for anybody, let’s take a look at some muscle-building exercises that can help you pack on muscle, make you look better overall and lose fat.

Exercises That Build Muscle

Body Weight Exercises

Not everybody has exercise equipment lying around the house or a gym membership. If you’re in this category, you can still build muscle by using your own body’s weight as resistance. Here are a few exercises that don’t require barbells or dumbbells, and can be done virtually anywhere:

Push-ups: This exercise is pretty common, but if you’re still not sure how to do a push-up, you can learn how now! Lie on your back on the floor or yoga mat. Use your arms to push yourself up while keeping the body straight. For beginners, it is okay to use your knees instead of your feet so that you can complete the exercise.

Squat (w/out weight): Place your hands behind your head, then force your hips down by bending at the knees until your hips are lower than your knees, and return to starting position. If you’re unable to go down all of the way, go down as far as you can because you will still see results!

Sit-ups: There’s nothing like the tried-and-true sit-up to build your stomach muscles! For this, you can put your hands behind your head, and leave your feet firmly planted on the ground; once you’re in position, touch your elbows to your knees, and then lower yourself back to the ground.

Arm Half-circles: To work your shoulder muscles without any weights, arm half-circles are a great exercise to do, and are highly recommended by Madonna! To begin, hold your arms straight out to the sides so your body is in a T-shape and your palms are facing down. From here, rotate your arms so that your palms are facing up, then rotate your arms so that the palms are facing down again. Your arms should be making a half-circle motion as you do this exercise.

Couch Dips: A good way to add muscle to your triceps is to do couch dips. To start with these, put your palms behind you on the front section of a couch, and put your feet on a stool or other piece of furniture in front. When you are in position, lower your body as far as you can go, then push yourself back up to the original starting position.

Weighted Exercises

Assuming you have access to weights and want to build muscle, you can do some weighted exercises. After all, resistance training is one of the top ways to add muscle and lose fat. When doing these exercises, try to shoot for at least 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions; when this becomes too easy, add more weight.

Bench Press: The bench press is a great exercise to do because it works your triceps, chest and shoulders at the same time. If you’re unfamiliar with the bench press, you need to lie on a flat bench, grab the barbell, and slowly lower it down to your chest. Once you touch the bar to your chest, raise the barbell back up and repeat. This exercise is good for working your entire chest; however, you might also try decline bench and incline bench to work different muscle groups.

With decline bench, the part of the bench where your head is should be pointing towards the ground. You bench press like normal, but the slight decline recruits your lower chest muscles more into play. As for incline bench, this works your upper chest muscles and shoulders more. To do this exercise properly, the part of the bench where your head goes should be angled up at around a 45 degree angle; from here, you bench press like normal, and keep in mind that it will be more challenging.

Squat (w/ weight): The squat muscle-building exercise is a part of all strength training regimens because it builds your legs, as well as other areas of your body. The traditional way to do squats is by getting under the barbell (should be on the squat rack) so your shoulder blades are directly under it, and your hands are gripping the bar for support. From here, you unrack the barbell on your shoulders, take a step back, and put your feet at a shoulder width apart. Now you lower yourself towards the ground until you are parallel (hopefully), and raise yourself back up.

Another variation of the squat exercise is the front squat, which works your quad muscles quite a bit. To do this, keep your feet a shoulder width apart, and hold the bar in front of your body on your shoulders/chest. You can cross your hands and hold the bar, or simply bend your elbows back to have stronger control while bending your knees, and holding your torso in an upright position.

Dumbbell Curls: The best way to build and tone your biceps is by doing dumbbell curls. These are fairly easy exercises that begin by picking up a dumbbell in each hand, standing straight up with dumbbells down near your sides, and lifting the weight toward your body. Make sure to alternate curls with each arm so you get an equal workout.

Military Press: A good method for working both your shoulders and upper chest area involves military presses. To do this, you either take a barbell or dumbbells (one in each hand), and bring the weight up in front of your shoulders. From here, you raise the weight above your head, slightly in front of you, then bring it back down to the starting position.

Tricep Pull-up: To give your triceps a good weight workout, grab a barbell with your palms facing towards the ground. Proceed to lifting the weight up near your chin, then lower the weight back down to the original starting position. If you do tricep pull-ups in conjunction with the other weight exercises mentioned in this article, you will definitely add some muscle tone to your body (how to tone your body). Furthermore, you will have a much more attractive look for yourself too!

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