Regular exercise is one of those New Year’s resolutions few people can keep. Never mind that you’ve spent on gym membership, gym clothes and all the correct accessories to get you in shape (and in the mood). Within weeks, you have no time to do it. At all.
Which is why we’ve put together a simple workout routine for men that should take care of your resolution in the simplest possible way and in the least possible amount of time. You’ll have no excuse to get out of this. And you’ll love what it’ll do for you.
5 essential exercises for men
1. The squat
The squat has been the king of all weight-training exercises for a long time and for good reason. It improves balance, posture and coordination. It helps the ankle, knee and hip joint achieve dynamic flexibility, and builds muscle mass in the legs.
It is known to increase testosterone and growth hormones in a natural and safe way. Squats can improve your running power and endurance, and condition your legs to avoid injuries. This exercise separates the men from the boys.
2. The plank
The abdominal plank is a very simple but super effective exercise to build the deep core muscles. Though doing this exercise alone won’t give you a six-pack, it will lay the foundation for a strong midsection.
Unlike ab crunches, the plank works your midsection in an isometric contraction. This means there is no movement in the muscle, but there is constant tension. This helps you gain strength to tighten or ‘zip-up’ your belly.
Because the plank requires you to maintain contact between four points of your body (right and left forearms plus right and left foot), it teaches the abdominals to brace and work the whole body together. As the core gets strong, it acts like a strong corset around your spine. This helps prevent lower back pain as well.
3. The scapular band downward fly
Don’t get scared by the name and don’t think this is only a rehabilitation exercise. This will actually become your magic move every morning. The exercise will provide you strength to hold and move your shoulders under control, and also improve upper body posture. It is popular among a lot of elite athletes I work with.
Perform three sets of 20 repetitions every morning.
4. Standing side lateral raises
It works on the medial deltoid muscle, which is the outermost part of your shoulder, and gives you the broad-shouldered look. Plus, it strengthens the supraspinatus muscle, which is a part of the rotator cuff muscles that are notorious for getting injured if weak.
Stronger shoulders also create the illusion that your waist is narrow. Strong shoulders will help you not just to look good, but also to swim better, play racquet sports, and even make your punch powerful. Even moderate dumb-bells will be sufficient to make you break a sweat.
Aim for three sets of 10 repetitions with good technique. If you find it easy, try doing it with a single arm to make it harder.
5. The pull-ups
The pull-ups are different to most other strength exercises because your feet are not in contact with the ground, making them one of the hardest to do. They help build the controlled strength of a gymnast. This exercise will work the ‘lats’ and give you the much sought-after V-taper in the upper body. It will also help strengthen the bicep muscles. You can even buy online doorway pull-up bars so that you can perform them at home. The closer the grip, the more your arms can help you pull up, and the wider you go, the harder it becomes, so perform different grips to get more out of this exercise.
Aim to perform a minimum of three sets of five repetitions. Initially, jump up and come down. Then learn to hold the top position for two seconds. After four weeks, lower your body slowly for five seconds. Then get someone to help you lift and lower, and you should be well on your way to full pull-ups soon.
From HT Brunch, January 22, 2016
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