In the last post I introduced the top 9 muscle building exercises by discussing the deadlift, shoulder presses, and the classic push-up. I also talked about the importance of including these nine compound exercises as the basis of your weight lifting routine. Use these nine, and add in a few more to make a well-rounded workout.
These nine exercises, however, will ensure you are building your muscles on a solid, well-balanced platform.
Today I’ll discuss the next three exercises: the pull-up, standing barbell curls, and dips.
Let’s get started!
You may be in the camp of believers that the pull-up is only good for building your back muscles. You are not completely wrong, as the pull-up is a great exercise for building your back, especially working on those wings (aka lats).
But, the pull-up works other muscles as well. Performing the pull-up will increase your pulling strength which will help you perform all those pulling exercises you do. Pull-ups also work your chest ( a small amount, but still…), your shoulders, and performing the pull-up will definitely work those biceps! If you want big guns, do not forget about pull-ups!
The pull-up will also help develop a strong core, as you work hard to remain stable and not swing throughout the motion of the pull-up.
Here is a video demonstrating the proper way to do a pull-up.
The reason this is such a great exercise is that there are so many variations. Start with the classic, get to the point that you can do 20 in a set, and then start to add variations. Here are a few variations you can do:
- Wide Grip Pull-ups – this will work on widening your back, increasing the stress on the lats
- Palms facing inwards – this will place more stress on your biceps as it is almost a chin-up
- Kipping pull-ups – here is a video to demonstrate
- Diamond Pull-ups – this will work more of your lower back
- Muscle-ups – this will activate your triceps and chests as well
- Parallel Pull-ups – this will focus more on the brachialis in your arm and will ultimately lead to bigger arms
- Towel Grip Pull-ups – this will work more on your forearms and grip strength
Here is a video that demonstrates a variety of pull-ups:
That’s the first one for today, the pull-up. Seems easy, but it isn’t, and mastering it will be great for the foundation of your muscle growth. Now on to the Standing Barbell Curl.
Standing Barbell Curl
The standing barbell curl is the best exercise to build your biceps. I stand behind that statement. If you curl heavy weight, while using the proper form, you will grow big biceps.
This exercise will also engage your core and your lower back, if you are performing it properly. It will also improve your grip strength as you squeeze the bar as hard as you can.
Start your routine with this exercise since you have the most energy at that point. Then move on to other exercise.
I cannot stress enough the proper form for this exercise. Pick up the weight with a shoulder width grip, keeping your feet firmly pressed against the ground with your knees slightly bent and your shoulder blades pushed back.
Your goal is to only move your elbows. Keep them pressed against your sides, and then move the weight in an upward motion to the point that your elbows need to move away from your side. Stop at that point and lower the weight down in a controlled arc.
You shouldn’t be pulling the weight toward your body and your elbows should not move back. You also should not be jerking your body around or leaning forward or backwards. The weight should be moving in a controlled arc both up and down, with the only movement being in your elbow.
I know this seems to be counter-intuitive to the compound exercises that we have been discussing, but this exercise will benefit many other push and pull exercise you perform if you do it with proper form.
Here is a video to demonstrate the proper form.
There is the second one. Now on to the third one for today: Dips
Talk about a fantastic compound exercise! This exercise will develop your shoulders, your chest, your triceps, and your back. And it will improve your pushing strength. You can go really heavy and your bench press will improve and your pectoral muscles and arms will grow at a rapid pace. Sounds great, eh?!
Also, there is no greater exercise to stretch your chest than dips. A wider upper body, especially the chest, awaits those who perform dips on a regular basis. Plus, this exercise will work your shoulders from every angle and will increase your shoulder flexibility. And let’s not forget the abs and core. These will be strengthened as you work to not swing back and forth while performing the exercise.
At the bottom of the movement, your deltoids will be in their max stretch position. This is really good for them. Remember, if you can build strong shoulders, you can build muscle mass with greater ease. Keep your shoulder strength as a top priority when you are planning your routine.
The main difference is that to put the emphasis on the chest, you will need to lean forward a bit. This can be accomplished by tucking your feet up toward your bottom. This will force your shoulders forward, allowing the stress to be put on your chest.
To perform the dip as a tricep exercise, stay in a more upright position, and don’t flare your elbows out as much.
Here is a video that will help distinguish between the two methods of performing the dip.
So there you have it. Today’s installment of three exercise that need to be included in your routine to build a solid foundation for your muscles.
The next post will finish up this three part post with Squats, Barbell Rows, and the Bench Press.
Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day!