What are the best exercises out there for developing your muscle mass?
Whether men or women, everyone wants to look beautiful and well-proportioned. For women, beauty lies in a slim and smart body. On the other hand, men desire strong and bigger muscles. A beefy and symmetrical body is what almost every man wants. They want to gain power by building muscle mass. It is common for bodybuilders to stay in the gym for two to three hours straight and five to seven days a week. They work hard to exhaust every muscle fiber and motor pool for an extended period.
But everyone can’t spend as much time in the gym and work nearly as hard. Moreover, not everyone is willing to look like walking human anatomy. So the long for a well-shaped and symmetrical body compels them to search for different types of exercise that can assist them in attaining their goal.
Are you also trying to find out such types of exercise to feed the desire to gain a shapely, well-built, and athletic body? Worry not. We have listed down the most authentic and reliable types of exercise that will prove helpful in your journey of gaining muscle mass at a fast pace.
But before discussing the main topic, let’s have a look at two primary questions to understand the process thoroughly:
- What are skeletal muscles?
- How does skeletal muscle gain mass?
What are skeletal muscles?
There is a total of three kinds of muscles in your body:
- Smooth Muscles
- Cardiac Muscles
- Skeletal Muscles
Of these three, only skeletal muscles are voluntary, meaning that these muscles are not automated but bound to your will. These muscles are attached to the bones via specialized structures known as tendons, and tendons are fibrous tissues that help the muscles to move the bones.
Along with enabling the body to move, skeletal muscles also play a vital role in keeping the body balance and posture. Furthermore, these muscles are also essential for a normal and healthy respiratory process.
On average, 30 to 40% of total body mass comprises skeletal muscles. Typically, men have more skeletal muscle mass as compared to women. Skeletal muscles tend to deteriorate with age, but you can maintain a steady shape with a proper diet and workout. This leads us to our second question, which is:
How does skeletal muscle gain mass?
To understand the exact mechanism of muscle growth, we need to learn about a biological process known as Muscle Hypertrophy. It is the body’s way of repairing or replacing the injured or broken muscle fibers after working out. This process comprises two steps:
- Your body fuses damaged muscles when repairing them, and muscle repair increases muscles’ size and mass.
- Secondly, a particular cell type in the body is known as Satellite cell. These cells attach more nuclei to the muscle fibers building the muscle mass when required.
Additionally, some hormones like testosterone, insulin growth factor (IGF), and human growth factor (HGF) also play a key role in muscle growth.
Now that we have gained background knowledge about muscles and how they grow, let’s talk about those magical moves and exercises that are very beneficial for muscle building.
What is the most effective and easiest way to strengthen upper body muscles other than pushups? Pushups have long been the best home-based exercise for building upper body strength.
Different types of pushups work other muscles in the upper body region. Even a slight change in the traditional way of doing pushups can shift the stress from one muscle to another. Here are the different variations of pushups and the areas they affect the most:
– Wide Pushups help strengthen the chest region.
– Diamond Pushups assist in building triceps.
– Revers Hands Pushups increase biceps growth.
– Super Man Pushups put more significant stress on the back.
– Pike Pushups are effective for solid shoulders.
Hence, instead of going for the traditional way of doing pushups, you can use the variations to beef up your triceps, chest, and upper back muscles. So if you want to boost your fitness level and build upper body muscles without going to the gym, it is the best way to start with.
Usually, muscle building is linked with heavy weight lifting. People consider that they can increase their muscular mass only by using massive tools. But what about those who are not comfortable with lifting hefty tools? We have a piece of good news for them.
Continuous running over a long distance and for a prolonged time exerts stress over your lower body muscles as stress on muscles causes injury or damage to the muscle tissues; consequently, the body’s attempt to repair or replace the damaged fibers results in increased muscle growth.
There are two types of skeletal muscle fibers:
- Slow-twitch muscle fibers
- Fast-twitch muscle fibers
Slow-twitch muscle fibers help you in long-distance running and do not exhaust quickly, while fast-twitch muscle fibers come into action when the body needs a sudden and fast movement. Hence, we can say that various runs need work from different muscle fibers, and it is good to use both the slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. This exercise will assist you in strengthening your lower body muscles from hips to feet.
It would be best to keep in mind that you do not run the same distance consistently, as it may result in the loss of muscle tissues. Instead, keep incorporating a variety of runs to get the desired results in a short period.
Crunches are another traditional way of building a solid core and abdominal muscles or abs. The abs crunch also helps work other muscles like muscles in the lower back and hips, pelvic region, and trunk.
Like pushups, crunches also have variations. The different types of crunches target other regions in your body and help strengthen them. Some variations and their targeted areas are listed below:
- Crossover and Bicycle Crunches: This type of crunches mainly targets oblique muscles and rectus abdominis (commonly known as six-packs)
- Reverse Crunches: Their target area is transverse abdominis (muscles below the abs) and oblique muscles.
- Basic Crunches: These crunches help strengthen the rectus abdominis only.
You can use variations for gaining stronger abdominal muscles and attractive six-packs. But this is not their only benefit. Crunches also help you with back pain and burn calories to lose fats in the abdominal region. In short, crunches are the best way to enlarge your muscles, lose extra fats, and treat back pain.
The dips are probably the most effective home-based exercise to gain powerful and enlarged upper body muscles and a strong core. Dips are superior to pushups if you want to gain well-shaped and symmetrical muscles because pushups work only a small portion of your body, while dips work the whole body weight.
Moreover, it is a compound exercise that is not confined to building only one or two types of muscles. With dips, you can exert stress on multiple muscles simultaneously, and you can add extra mass to your triceps, chest, and shoulder muscles using dips.
Probably the most challenging exercise among all is pull-ups. Even a skilled and trained bodybuilder finds it difficult to do more than a few pull-ups. As hard as it is, pull-ups might have the best impact on building your muscles.
You should start doing pull-ups at two to three reps per set if you are a newbie. In case of any difficulty pulling your whole body weight upwards, you can start with the help of a stool. Then gradually increase the number of reps per set, moving towards removing your body without any aid.
Like other types of exercise, you can do pull-ups with variations. These variations come from various grips. These variations will work different muscles in your upper body. Some of the variations are given below:
– Wide Grip Pull-Ups: work your lats (latissimus dorsi muscle on the lower posterior thorax)
– Medium Grip Pull-Ups: exert more stress on your biceps.
– Close Grip Pull-Ups: focused on the lower lats.
If you are looking for an immediate result, you should start doing pull-ups properly and carefully. It is the best way to strengthen your back muscles, nourish arm and shoulder muscles, and improve grip strength. What else do you want then?
If you want to maintain an attractive and explosive upper body shape, shoulder press, also known as overhead press, is what you must include in your daily exercise routine. The shoulder press is a whole exercise for the upper body itself.
The overhead press is not as easy as other types of exercise for beginners, and it is a test for your upper body strength. Therefore, doing this type of exercise without proper instructions and care may result in an injury. Start with a minimal impact if you are a newbie, like using a dumbbell or landmine press.
The shoulder press also comes in variations with different focus points. Some of the alterations and their focused muscles are shown below:
– Strict Overhead Press: Also known as the military press, it is a traditional way that stresses the trapezius (Muscle on the upper back) and deltoid (muscles on the topmost part of the arm and shoulder).
– Seated Barbell Overhead Press: This variation toughens the chest, shoulder, and triceps.
– Z Press: It works your core, levator scapulae muscle, upper pecs, and upper traps.
– Dumbbell Shoulder Press: This variation is good for strengthening the triceps, upper chest, and deltoids.
– Single-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Press: This type helps shape and work forearms, upper pec, triceps, and core.
Hence overhead or shoulder press is the best option if you want a rapid positive change in your upper body. By making overhead press your routine, you can gain an aesthetic shape and muscular body in no time.
Do you want giant thighs and more muscular legs? Then squat! It is the only leg exercise that works almost all lower body muscles. With regular squats, you will get symmetrical and massive glutes and quads. Not only that, but your upper body muscles also work during the squat. Hence, stabilizing the topmost muscles as well.
You can do squats with variations, just like the exercises mentioned above. These variations will work in different areas and thus stabilizing them gradually.
– Goblet Squat: Helps build your hamstrings, glutes, and quads.
– Zercher Squat: Along with glutes and quads, it also works your core and lowers your back.
– Barbell Front Squat: It will strengthen your lats and other muscles.
– Split Squat: It also stresses your forearms.
– Bulgarian Split Squat: The main work area is the hamstrings, core, and glutes.
Accordingly, the squat is the best exercise to build your lower and upper body muscles. After including squatting in your daily exercise routine, you can make both your upper and lower body muscles at a fast pace.
With several exercises, you can build your muscles and satisfy the desire to be strong and symmetrical. Although it will take time, effort, and patience to get the desired results, you will be happy with the results.
It is a fact that these exercises help increase muscle mass. But what most people do not know is that genetics plays a vital role in muscle growth. Recent studies have introduced us to several genes that are critical for building muscles. That is why some people are genetic freaks at muscle building, while for others, it takes time.
Therefore, you must know about your genetic makeup to get better and fast results before getting started. HealthCodes DNA provides you with the most authentic and effective custom exercise plans based on your genetics. Our Fitness Panel DNA test will help you optimize your workout regimen in a way best suited to your body’s needs. This way, you will get the best return on investment for your efforts in the gym and kitchen. Visit the HealthCodes DNA homepage for more information.