A Good Workout Plan to Build Muscle

A Good Workout Plan to Build Muscle
No matter what type of athletic activities you enjoy, chances are you'll perform them better after using a combination of aerobic fitness, flexibility and muscular strength. Building muscular strength doesn't have to involve complicated training plans on expensive equipment, but you will need to pay attention to all of the major muscles groups that include the chest, shoulders, lower back and abdomen. Here's how to get started.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Variety of free weights
  • Weight training machines
 
Step 1
Design a total fitness program that includes aerobic exercise, flexibility and muscular strength. Assuming that you are training five days a week, devote two to three days on strength training. Strength training can take many different forms. You can build muscle strength using your own body resistance and things you have around the home. It can also mean performing a routine of exercises at the gym using machines or free weights.
Step 2
Divide your body into three general areas and work on one area each day--the upper body and extremities, lower body and extremities and your core (abdominals and lower back). Each session should take between 20 to 30 minutes, or until the area is fatigued. It helps to write the three areas on a calendar so that you don't lose track of what area needs work on a specific day.
Step 3
Start with exercises that use the resistance of your body. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions of push-ups, pull-ups and tricep dips to build strength in your shoulders, chest and arms. Building upper body strength will help when carrying heavy loads in a backpack. If you would like to take your workout into the gym, focus on weight machines or free weights to build strength in the same areas, using more resistance. Increase the weight approximately 10 percent each week and chart your progress in a journal or day planner.
Step 4
Complete three to five sets of 15 to 25 repetitions of sit-ups. Use your body weight as resistance in the beginning. As your abdominal muscles get stronger, try holding a 5 or 10 lb. free weight disc against your chest for more resistance. Alternate abdominal muscle exercises with lower back strengthening exercises. Begin by lying on the floor with your hands clasped behind your neck. Slowly lift your chest off of the floor and hold for 10 seconds. Complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Step 5
Climb stairs or a series of short steps to begin strengthening the quadriceps in your legs. Begin by taking one step at at time, then increase it to two or three steps, each stride. Climbing stairs is a great way to build muscular strength and endurance. When you reach the top of the stairs, turn around and walk down, slowly bending your knees. By walking down stairs, you build "negative" muscle strength that is important for many types of outdoor activities like snow skiing and hiking. For more of a challenge, try wearing ankle weights or holding 3 to 5 lb. hand weights in each hand.
Step 6
Spend at least 10 minutes cooling down and re-hydrating after each workout. Alternate strength training workout days with aerobic fitness days.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Devote at least three days a week to strength training. Let your body rest at least one day a week.
 
Devote at least three days a week to strength training.
 
Let your body rest at least one day a week.
 
Be careful not to increase resistance until your body is ready. Avoid securing your feet while doing sit-ups.
 
Be careful not to increase resistance until your body is ready.
 
Avoid securing your feet while doing sit-ups.

Article Written By Allen Smith

Allen Smith is an award-winning freelance writer living in Vail, Colo. He writes about health, fitness and outdoor sports. Smith has a master's degree in exercise physiology and an exercise specialist certification with the American College of Sports Medicine at San Diego State University.

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