There are more weight training exercises that can be done than there are muscle groups in the body, and to know which one targeta which muscle group would be a lengthy exercise. So we have chosen four of our favorites, first because taken together they cover most of the muscle groups, and second because each of them individually work out multiple areas. All but one qualifies as exercises on exercises without weights, so for these you do not even have to go to the fitness center.
1. Lat pull down. The only exercise that requires a machine, you sit with thighs braced and reach overhead to a bar that is connected to the weight stack. The movement is initiated by pulling the bar down to below the chin, and completing the exercise by returning to the initial position. A variation of this is to lowering the bar to the back of the neck, which is great for the upper back, but should be done with less weight.
The value of the lat pull down is the muscular work surrounding the elbows and shoulder joints. These exercises are similar to chin-ups, but with the machine you have more control of the weight being applied.
2. Lunges. To perform this, stand feet shoulder-width apart, then step forward. The front knee should be at 90 degrees, and the motion is continued until the back knee touches the floor. The motion is completed by moving upward to a standing position from the front leg.
These exercises are great for the gluteal muscles as well as the quadriceps, as well as keeping the hips and hamstrings flexible. Many variations can that help other muscle groups may be brought into play, such as the use of small weights, either small dumbbells in either hand or barbells. But this would only be recommended for more advanced trainers.
3. Push ups. Also known as the press-up, this is a common exercise performed in a position position by raising and lowering the body using the arms. This exercise greatly benefits the pectoral muscles, the anterior deltoids and the triceps, with additional benefit to the core midsection as a whole.
As with all of our exercises, many variations of the push up can be done, either for more advanced people who exercise or people not able to support their weight. More advanced forms are elevating the feet, placing the knuckles on the floor instead of the hands, and supporting the weight on the fingertips. For the less advanced, wall push ups, knee push ups and chair push ups are designed to put less weight into the exercise.
4. Squats. This exercise is considered vital for increasing the size and strength of the legs and buttocks in addition to developing core strength. Beginning in a standing position, the hips are moved back and the knees bent to the point where the hips are at least to the height of the knees, and preferably lower. Then using the legs return to the initial position.
Both dumbbells in each hand or barbells across the shoulders can be used, and this exercise not only builds strength in this region of the body, but creates greater flexibility in the hips and knees. There has been some controversies with this exercise causing injury to the knees and spine. As with most training, especially training strength for beginners, you must know your limitations and ease into it gradually and with the proper form.