Below, you will find 7 sample exercises below which can be performed at home or at the gym.
Exercise 1: Bench press
Exercise 2: Squat
Exercise 3: Dumbbell clean and press
Exercise 4: Lunges
Exercise 5: Lateral raise
Exercise 6: Barbell row
Exercise 7: Medicine ball abdominal crunches
1. Bench Press
The bench press is an exercise that primarly works the pectoral muscle group, or the chest area. However, since this exercise is a compound movement (works more than one muscle group), it also exercises the front deltoid (shoulder), and triceps (back of the arm).
For those of you who want to firm up the chest, shoulder and the back of your arms, this is the exercise to do it all. If this is your first time doing the bench press, the very first thing you have to do is pick a weight.
I strongly suggest you start with the bar and have someone there to observe – I suggest a gym staff member. To get into position, simply lie back on the bench. Your eyes should be directly under the bar. Make sure that:
1- Your back and butt is flat on the bench;
2- Your feet are firmly planted on the floor and spaced apart by about 10 inches or so.
3- Your head is on the bench.
Now, grab the bar with both hands and make sure they’re spaced about 2 and a half feet or about 80 CM apart. Well, try spacing them just beyond shoulder width apart. Lift the bar from the rack and keep it at arms length for a moment.
Take a breath and slowly lower the bar to your chest area. Lightly touch your chest and slowly press the weight back up. repeat until your repetitions range is complete.
I suggest doing 12 repetitions. Once you’ve finished 12 repetitions, that is considered one set completed.
For a complete description, illustration, and video on how to perform the bench press, see this page here.
In my personal opinion, this is the number one weight training exercise you can do for developing your entire lower body. For those of you looking to develop the thighs and butt, this is the number one weight training exercise to do it.
No other exercise will even come close to firming up these areas and the results will be immediate.
To do this exercise, you need to pick a weight. I strongly suggest you start with an empty bar. Remember, have another pair of eyes on you when you do this exercise. I suggest that you use the gym staff. The staff is there for one reason, to make sure you do the exercise right and in a safe manner.
Now, to do this exercise, I suggest you use a squat rack. To start, approach the squat rack and grab the bar with your hands spaced just beyond shoulder width. Duck under the bar and rest the bar on your shoulders. Your feet should be spaced at about shoulder width apart. Stand upright with the bar on your shoulders. Make sure that:
1- Your back is straight;
2- You are looking straight ahead – Never look up or down, especially when you are performing this exercise. It will shoot
off your balance and can be dangerous.
To perform this exercise, simply squat down until your knees and thighs are parallel to the ground. Slowly squat the weight back up. Always keep your hands on the bar and back straight. Remember, don’t look side to side or up and down.
To see how this exercise is performed, simply click here.
For those of you who don’t have a squat rack, you will have to clean and press the bar over your head. Simply pick the bar up and lift it over your head and rest the bar on your shoulders.
Now, some of you may feel uncomfortable doing this exercise with a bar. If you prefer, you can try doing this exercise with dumbbells. You can see how it’s done here.
3. Dumbbell Clean And Press
This is a total body exercise and works both, your upper and lower body. This is a great exercise for anyone looking to strengthen and firm up their entire body.
To perform this exercise, stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Grasp two dumbbells with your palms facing inward and in one motion, pull the dumbbells up to your shoulder level. Hold them at your shoulder level. Press both weight upward over your head and then slowly lower to the starting position.
The lunge is an exercise designed to exercise your lower body – especially the thighs and butt. It may take some time to get used to this exercise, but it is well worth the effort.
To perform this exercise, grab two light dumbbells and place them at the sides of your feet. Your feet should be at shoulder width apart. Squat down to pick the weight up and place the dumbbells at your sides with your arms fully extended.
What you want to do is lunge your left leg forward, about 3 feet and bend at the knee until your upper leg is parallel with the ground. Using your left leg, push back up until you are standing. Do the same for your right leg.
To see how this exercise is perform via a video, click here.
5. Lateral Raise
The dumbbell lateral raise is an exercise that primarily works the side deltoids (shoulders). For those of you looking for sexy and well shaped shoulders, this is the exercise you are looking for. Remember, this exercise is all about form and technique so make sure you pay extra attention on how you are doing this exercise.
To perform this exercise, grab a pair of light dumbbells and stand straight up with the dumbbells at your sides. Slightly bend at the knees and arms. Your arms should be slightly bent in order to get the most from this exercise. Slowly raise the dumbbells until they are parallel with your shoulders and slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position.
Also, this exercise can be done while standing or sitting.
For a complete description, illustration, and video on how to perform this exercise, click here.
6. Barbell Row
This exercise is a pure compound movement (multi joint exercise) that is designed to strengthen your mid back. It will also work your shoulders, and biceps (front of your upper arms).
To perform this exercise, you will need a barbell. I suggest you choose the bar with no weight attached. Stand with your feet spaced at about shoulder width apart. Bend down to pick up the weight.
With a slight bend in your knees, bend at the waist until your back is just above parallel with the ground. Keep your back straight and your head level.
Slowly row the weight upwards until it lightly touches your upper stomach area. Pause and slowly lower the weight back to it’s starting position. TO see how this exercise is performed, click here.
7. Medicine Ball Abdominal Crunches
Lie on a medicine ball and place your hands behind your head. Keep your feet on the floor or raise them so that your knees are bent at around 90 degrees. Using your abdominal muscles, lift your upper body from the floor towards your legs, careful not to pull on your neck. Tense your muscles while in the crunch and slowly lower back down.
Remember, weight training movements are all about form and technique. The above noted exercises will all help you develop and strengthen your entire body. Just remember to always practice good form. The exercises may seem uncomfortable and awkward at first but over a couple of weeks, you will start to get a feel for them. If you have any questions, please email me at:
I’ll be happy to answer any question you may have. All the best, Blake
Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.
Blake is the founder of Building-Muscle101.com, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years.