You Should Work on Building Muscle

muscleThere are many reasons why we should ALL work on maintaining or building our muscle mass.  Here are a few off the top of my head:

1. Muscle burns calories 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.  So, when we have an ample supply of meat on our bones, the muscle burns extra calories which makes it easier to maintain a nice trim body.  Also, because extra muscle burns extra calories, keeping up muscle mass allows us to eat more without gaining fat.  In fact, one of the main reasons most people become fatter and fatter as they age is because they allow their muscles to become smaller and smaller through non-use.

2. Muscle helps us look our best.  Muscle is what gives fit people the “toned” look.  There’s no substitute for muscle, and unless you work on maintaining or building it, you will NOT have a “toned” look.

3. Muscle is what gives us strength and enables us to move.  So having a decent supply of it keeps us strong and enables us to more easily do everything that involves physical activity.

So, how do we build muscle?

The most efficient (i.e. quickest) way to build muscle and strength is by concentrating on the “basics”.  What are the basics?  The basic exercises.  They are:

squat Squat

deadlift Deadlift

overhead press Overhead press

bench press. Bench Press

Also, let’s throw chin-upschin-ups in the mix to work lats (the “wing” muscles on each side of your back) and arms.

These exercises can be done using barbells, dumbbells, or with body weight.  For now, we’ll concentrate on performing these exercises with a barbell.  At some point in the future we’ll look at body weight equivalents.

These basic exercises can be used to build overall body strength, tone, and muscle mass for your entire weight lifting life.  When you first start working out, all you need are these four exercises.  Here’s a simple routine.

Workout on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

On Monday of week 1, do the squat and military press.

On Wednesday of week 1, do bench press and deadlift.

On Friday of week 1, repeat Monday’s workout.

On Monday of week 2, work on bench press and chinups.

On Wednesday of week 2, perform squat and military press.

Finally, on Friday of week 2, do bench press and deadlift again.

Repeat the above 2 week cycle for 3 months, at which point you will have built a nice base of muscle (tone) and strength.  You will then add additional exercises for variety.

For now, however, make these four exercises your workout mainstays.

Later this week we’ll talk more about how to perform these exercises, as well as about other vital muscle building basics.  Stay tuned.


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