Building lean muscle is a simple process, once you become accustomed to the proper lifts and form in which to execute them. The problem lies with the notion that they are too hard to perform or could cause some sort of injury. Injury is only a result of improper form and miss-use of the weights. The best thing for novices to do is start small, and slowly work your way up to bigger lifts. This takes time and patience, and the best thing you can do right now is to practice. Don’t worry if you can’t lift a lot. This is not a competition, and you only have your own self to look at, when it comes to progression.
5 of the best lifts to build lean muscle mass.
- Deadlifts. This is the ultimate exercise you can do, and I highly recommend you deadlift twice a week if you can. There are so many variations of it, and this is not the blog post to go through them. When starting out, or if you have a back injury, start with a hexagonal bar. This bar is around your body, and you are placed in the middle. This bar actually forces you to perform the deadlift properly and can even be used by anyone who is in rehabilitation from a back injury. It’s perfectly safe to use – but do use it as you would a straight bar. Lift light and progress slowly. When you feel confident, you can then move onto the straight bar and sumo deadlifts. These too take practice, and it most certainly helps if you start from the bottom, and just keep practicing.
- Squats. Again, with squats, there are a lot of variations – but nothing beats the classic one. Just weight on either side of the bar, and you moving to a sitting position. This is a full range squat -and it’s the best one to start getting used to. Full range of motion is the best way to build strength, size and get leaner. It takes some flexibility, but it’s most definitely worth the effort. Once you master this, then you can move towards elevated heel squats, 3/4 squats and just putting some heavy weights on the bar.
- Chin ups. The best upper body lift, and strength builder you can get here. If you want to build your neck, abs, back and shoulders at the same time, you can’t beat a chin up. Alternate your grip to work different muscles in the back – but note that this is a multi-joint exercise. It takes a whole of energy to perform this movement, and it works more than just your back. If you struggle with this, use negative chin ups and eventually, you will be able to move towards the full pull and chin up. It does take some strength, but keep working on your deadlifts, bench presses and shoulder presses. All these movements will help you build more strength and stamina in preparation for this movement.
- Bench presses. A great upper body movement that places the body into metabolic stress – igniting its fat burning potential. The great thing about bench presses, is that you can alternate the angle of a bench, as well as use dumbbells for a deeper stretch. I often use the smith machine, as I don’t have a spotter handy – and sometimes need that extra bit of confidence if I’m performing a heavier lift. Use this to your advantage as well. It’s most certainly worth having peace of mind in terms of safety, if you get to lift a lot more.
- Lunges. This is a killer for your glutes. I like to use dumbbells for this one, as it does help me with my stability. Use a wide stance, narrow for working the quads, and an angled lunge to really make it just that little bit more challenging. Women love this exercise for its ability to re-shape the glutes and hamstrings. If you find this a little difficult, perform lunges in a neutral position without movement forward. You can also lunge backward for extra glute activation. Couple lunges with leg extensions for even more of a burning sensation!
These exercise above are the bare basics in weightlifting, which unfortunately a lot of people don’t dream of doing. If you want the best results, use the exercises above within every workout to get the best results. For instance, on leg day, perform squats. On upper body day, perform bench presses, on biceps and triceps day, put some chin ups in your program. Then alternate to another movement in your next session. If you appreciate this, why not stick with my ranting via my website or join me on fb and insta social. Please feel free to upvote this answer if it has been useful in some way to you.