Ok so maybe we can’t all look like Arnold, but we can dream right? The summer is coming, T-Shirt season is upon us and most guys would love a little extra muscle in the parts that show. However it isn’t quite as easy as just grabbing a couple of dumbbells and doing curls until your arms fall off. There is some theory behind gaining muscle and particularly in trying to gain it quickly.
Firstly a little bit of science. In order to gain muscle or at least to shed some fat and show off the muscle underneath, you need to eat right AND get your body, it’s metabolism and hormones working the right way to produce that muscle. To do that you need to do a few things. Concentrate on eating high protein, lean foods such as Chicken, Turkey, Fish, lean red meat, nuts, beans and lots of vegetables as well as good carbs such as Sweet Potato and brown rice. Cut back on Acohol, ditch sweet/fizzy drinks and restrict white carbs such as bread, pasta, potatoes etc. Not only will eating this way provide your body with the right nutrients to build muscle but it will also help fire up one of the most important hormones in your body, Testosterone. If you can increase your Testosterone levels naturally it becomes far easier to both gain muscle size AND shed fat.
The second way to boost your T levels and therefore your muscle building potential is to do the RIGHT exercises, ones that will stimulate your entire nervous systems and FORCE your body to produce more testosterone and grow muscle. So what are those exercises? Well I have listed 6 of the best weight and body training exercises below that if you can hit hard 3 times a week for 2 to 3 months you should be in great speedo shape by the time the weather finally warms up. (This assumes you live in England like me).
They key thing here is to focus on “compound” exercises. Those are exercises that use multiple body parts at one time and force your nervous system, muscles and metabolism to respond. I know the temptation is to focus on your arms but believe me, if you follow these lifts and steer clear of isolation exercises like curls you will gain more muscle, more quickly than you thought possible. If you go to the Gym three times a week do all 6 exercises for only 3 sets of 8-10 reps at as heavy a weight as you can manage for that number of reps, you will gain strength and size very quickly. Don’t do more, you will only injure yourself or overload your system.
Click on the links highlighted in red for demo’s of the exercises. Forgive the cheesiness of a couple of these videos.
The Deadlift: One of the best exercises you can do. It works your entire back, your traps, Your legs, glutes (butt) and hip flexors. However, be careful. It is a complex exercise and if done wrongly can damage your lower back. Take it slowly, use strict form and use a weight that is heavy but manageable. You are not trying to break world records, just build some muscle.
The Squat: I love squats, no idea why, i just enjoy doing them. Squats will again work your entire lower body, thighs, glutes etc but will also actively engage your core muscles meaning you’ll improve your abs without even working them directly. Again focus on good form and use a weight that will allow you to squat as deeply as you can. The closer your arse gets to the floor the more muscles you will engage and it is also better for your knees. Squatting also gets you blowing and is great for cardio and your metabolism.
Bench Press: Everyone loves the bench press right? Well not necessarily. The bench is famed for building chest size and strength but actually that is not what it is best for. A barbell bench press actually works the triceps and deltoids (Shoulders) almost as much as the chest. However it is included here for precisely that reason, it is a compound movement that uses a number of muscles.
Military Press: This is a fantastic exercise to add shoulder size and width, grow your triceps and also builds great core strength which stabilises your body as you push the weight above your head.
Bent Over Row: This works your entire back as well as biceps and will help give you that deep wide looking back that fills T-shirts as well as promoting overall body strength. It will also work on bicep strength and size which I know you all want. You can use an overhand or underhand grip but do not go with too heavy a weight and keep strict form.
Pull Ups/Chin Ups: This is a fabulous but very tough exercise to conquer and build up any volume on. If you can use it correctly, do it regularly and start to do some decent numbers it will give you fabulous Lats to create that wide V-shaped, narrow waisted look that we all want. It is also one of the best exercises you can do for biceps but is often overlooked. Wide grip pull ups work best for a wide back and chin ups for your biceps. If you are new to this exercise a good way to do it is to do sets of just 2 to 3 reps and aim for 5 to 6 sets with only 30/40 seconds rest in between, then build up to longer sets and more reps as you become stronger.
That’s it. It seems too simple to you I’d imagine but believe me if you do this full routine 3 times a week and push yourself as hard as you can in every session as well as eating the right food you will shed fat and grow muscle like you wouldn’t believe. To finish each work out I’d add in 3 sets of hanging leg/knee raises super setted with 3 x 45 second planks. Then do 5 minutes of HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) on either the rowing machine or running machine. Basically go as fast as you can for 30 seconds then as slow as you can (or stop) for 30 seconds and repeat for 5 minutes.
The whole work out should take no more than an hour max. After 2 to three months you will probably get bored and need to add more variety into the routine but by then you will have added an inch to your arms, 2 inches to your chest, have a wider back and shoulders, jeans busting thighs and will have lost 2 to 3 inches from your waist.
Have fun, take care and remember i really would welcome any comments or questions,
PS: I realise that this is called Ordinary Guy Fitness and that many of the people in these video’s are very far from Ordinary guys or girls but that’s the nature of the internet and YouTube. It doesn’t change the fact that you, as an ordinary person can do all the same exercises that they can.