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The Best Basic Bodybuilding
Workout Exercises and Techniques
Either do all the exercises correctly, or don't do them at all. Don't follow an exercise technique that doesn't feel right to you. Avoid any exercises that cause you pain.

THE DUMBELL SHRUG:
Purpose: develop the trapezius.
Execution: Stand with arms at your sides and a heavy dumbell in each hand. Raise your shoulders as high as you can. Imagine trying to touch your ears with your shoulders. Hold for a slight pause, then release and lower back down. Lift the weights with your shoulders only. Try to use your arms and hands as hooks for the weights, and don't lift with your arms. Keep your shoulders square and lift the weights simultaneously. Keep weight under control at all times. Don't get into a sloppy continuous rhythm. Using straps can help you grip the weight better.
Variations: Instead of shrugging with a pair of dumbells, you can use a barbell, or even the handles of a Universal bench-press machine.
Points to avoid: Avoid lifting the dumbells with your arms and avoid bending forward or hunching - this often happens when too much weight is being used.

ONE-ARM CABLE LATERALS:
Purpose: develop the outer delts.
Execution: Hold the handle of a cable (floor pulley). Stand with your arm down and across your body. Place your free hand for example on your hip for balance. In a steady motion pull the cable outward and upward to your side. Keep your arm straight and lift until it's slightly higher than your shoulder. Twist your hand so that your pinky is higher that your index finger as if you were pouring water. Remember to lift with your deltoid, not your arm.
Variation: Try doing the movement with the cable running behind your back instead of in front.
Points to avoid: Avoid getting into too much of a swinging motion - remember to always control the weight.

BENT-OVER CABLE LATERALS:
Purpose: isolate and develop the posterior (rear) delts.
Execution: Using two floor-level pulleys, take a handle in each hand - left to the right pulley, right to the left pulley. Keeping your back straight, bend at the waist until your upper torso is parallel to the floor. Start with your hands crossed in front of you. In a smooth motion pull the handles across your body and extend your arms out in a straight line. Stretch out as far as possible, hold for a slight pause, release, and slowly lower back to the starting position. Keep your upper body and head fixed throughout the exercise. Remember to keep your arms aligned with your shoulders and cable pulleys.
Variation: You can do this exercise with one deltoid at a time. Support your free hand on your thigh or hip area.
Points to avoid: Avoid lifting the upper body during the exercise, avoid turning your head and avoid bringing your hands too far back or too far forward.

SEATED BENT-OVER DUMBELL LATERALS:
Purpose: develop the rear delts.
Execution: Sit on the edge of a bench, take a dumbell in each hand. Bend forward from the waist, arms extended, dumbells by your feet. Your palms should be facing each other. Lift the weights out to either side, turning your wrists slightly so that your pinky in higher than your thumb. Keep your upper body fixed. Lift dumbells until they are slightly above the shoulder level. Lower the weights slowly and under control.
Variation: you can use the low pulley cables to do this exercise.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps, avoid moving or turning your head and avoid raising your upper body.

FRONT DUMBELL RAISE:
Purpose: develop the front delts.
Execution: Stand with a dumbell in each hand, against the front of your thighs. Lift one weight straight out and up in a arc until it is slightly above your head. Lower the weight in full control. Repeat movement with the opposite arm.
Points to avoid: Avoid moving the weights simultaneously. Avoid locking out elbows. Avoid lifting the weight too high.

INCLINE BENCH PRESS:
Purpose: develop the upper chest.
Execution: Lie back on an incline bench. Grab hold of the barbell, at normal bench press width. Lift the bar off the rack and push up almost untils arms are locked. Lower the weight slowly to the upper chest, pause slightly and then press back up overhead, stopping just before lockout. This keeps constant tension on the pectorals. When working out on the incline, it is extremely important to have complete control of the weight. You don't want the bar drifting down too close to the rack. Make sure feet are square and fixed throughout the exercise. And remember to keep your body aligned and back flat against the bench. The incline angle of the bench should range between 45' and 60'. Any higher or any lower brings in other muscles than those of the upper chest.
Variations: The same exercise performed with dumbells. This allows more freedom with the weights. You can lower them farther for more stretch, and when pressing the weights up, you may turn the dumbells, or keep them facing forward, just for variety.
Points to avoid: Avoid pressing bar up unevenly. Avoid twsiting or turning your head. Avoid using excessive weight that causes bad form. Avoid arching or lifting your body off the bench and avoid erratic leg positioning.

INCLINE DUMBELL FLYES:
Purpose: develop mass and definition in the upper chest.
Execution: Lie on an incline bench with an incline of 45' and 60'. Hold the bumbells straight overhead, palms facing each other. Lower them out and down to either side in a wide, sweeping arc. Keep dumbells fixed in the same position in the hands and remember to keep your elbows bent slightly. Lower as far as you can and come back up through the same arc. Control the weight and keep your form strict.
Variation: The same exercise performed in a low-pulley cable machine. Set yourself up between the uprights and execute the exercise as you would with dumbells.
Points to avoid: Avoid bending the arms too much. Avoid incomplete reps.

STANDING CABLE FLYES:
Purpose: develop and define the inner chest.
Execution: Stand between two uprights of a cable pulley machine, and grasp the handles attached to the overhead pulleys on each side. Stand erect, arms extended out to your sides. Bend forward slightly at your waist. Now bring your hands down and forward, as if you were hugging someone. Keep your elbows bent slightly. Feel your pec muscles contract. Bring the heels of your hands together for a good, full contraction in the chest. Lower the weight slowly and repeat.
Variation: Bend over at the waist to a 45-60' angle and execute the exercise as explained earlier. This method hits the pecs from a different angle.
Points to avoid: Avoid hunching and bending over too far. Avoid bending your elbows too much. Avoid tucking your head down and in and avoid stepping too far forward or hyperextending your shoulder joints.

DUMBELL PULLOVERS:
Purpose: develop the pecs and serratus and expand the rib cage.
Execution: Lie flat on a bench, head slightly over the edge. Keep your legs square and fixed on the floor. Grasping a dumbell with both hands, hold it straight up over your chest. Both palms should be pressing against the underside of the top weight. Keeping your arms straight, elbows slightly bent, lower the dumbell slowly in an arc behind your head and feel the chest and rib cage stretch. When you have lowered the dumbell as gar as possible, raise it back to the start position through the same arc.
Variations: You can do this exercise with ex-curl bar with a close grip. Other variation is done with dumbell but your feet up on the bench.
Points to avoid: Avoid bending your arms and dropping the weight down too far. Avoid turning or moving your head during the exercise. Avoid dropping your head off the end of the bench.

SEATED CABLE ROWS:
Purpose: thicken the back.
Execution: Take hold of the handles and sit with your feet braced against the crossbar, kness bent slightly. Extend arms and bend forward slightly, feeling the lats stretch. You should be seated far enough away from the weight stack so that you can stretch like this without the weight touching bottom. From this beginning position pull the handles back toward your body and into your sternum. Feel the back muscle doing most of the work. Arch your back and stick your chest out as you try to touch your shoulder blades together, while drawing the weight toward you. At completion of the rep you should be sitting upright, not leaning backward. Pull the handle into your sternum and keep elbows close to your sides. Keeping the weight under control, release and let the handles go forward again, once more stretching out the lats.
Variations: You can use a wide grip. By using this grip you will work the outer lats and upper back. Another variation is to use an overhand grip.
Points to avoid: Avoid bending too far forward, as this puts stress on the lower back. Avoid turning head while exercising. Avoid leaning back while performing seated cable rows. This minimizes the effect of the exercise. Avoid pulling handle into body too high or too low and avoid straightening out legs.

LAT MACHINE PULLDOWNS:
Purpose: widen the lats.
Execution: Sit at the pulldown machine, knees hooked under the support. Grasp a bar with both hands, using a wide overhand grip. Pull the bar down smoothly until it touches your upper chest area. Make your upper back do the work and be sure not to involve the lower back by swaying the the upper body while pulling the bar down. Let the bar up again, fully extending the arms and feeling the lats stretch out completely.
Variations: You can grip the bar with hands close together, using an underhand grip. You can pull the bar down to the back of your neck.
Points to avoid: Avoid leaning back too far. Avoid turning or moving your head. Avoid pulling the bar down past your upper chest area.

HYPEREXTENSIONS:
Purpose: develop the spinal erectors.
Execution: Position yourself face down across a hyperextension bench. Hook your feet under the rear supports. Cross your hands across your chest or behind your head. Bend forward and down feeling the lower back muscles stretch out. Now bring your body back up until your torso is above parallel.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps and avoid coming up beyond the point of full contraction of the spinal erectors.

T-BAR ROWING:
Purpose: develop mass and thickness.
Execution: Position yourself on a block. Bend over and grasp the handles of the t-bar machine with an overhand grip. Lift the weight until you're at an angle of 35 to 45', arms still fully extended. Keeping your body fixed, lift the weight to your chest. Then Lower slowly until your arms are extended fully again. Keep your back flat and straight at all times.
Variations: By using the narrow grip you will be able to use heavier weights than with the barbell row.
Points to avoid: Avoid bending over or hunching your back. Avoid stiff legs. Avoid standing too high or coming up too high and avoid upper-body movement.

PREACHER-BENCH CURLS:
Purpose: develop the lower biceps.
Execution: Position yourself with your chest against the bench, arms on bench in contracted position. Keep elbows fixed througout the movement and position feet squarely and keep fixed. Use an underhand grip on the bar, hands shoulder width apart. Slowly lower the bar until arms are fully extended. This is the start position. In a strict and controlled manner, curl the weight up in a strict and controlled manner and then lower again to full extension, resisting the weight on the way down. Preacher curls are usually done while sitting, but can be done in a standing position also.
Variations: Close grip with barbell works the outside of the biceps, wide grip with barbell works the inside of the biceps or use dumbells and execute the exercise as you would with a barbell.
Points to avoid: Avoid lifting your buttocks, as this will cause loose style and could include injury. Avoid lowering weight only partially. Avoid turning or twisting your head during the exercise. Avoid curling the weight up too high and removing the stress from the biceps. Avoid slouching or dropping your head into your shoulders.

HAMMER CURL:
Purpose: develop the upper forearm and the outer biceps.
Execution: Stand as you would to perform the dumbell curl. Start with the dumbells at your side, palms facing inward, towards each other. Remember to minimize elbow and upper arm movement as you curl the weight all the way down to start position.
Points to avoid: Avoid leaning back or leaning forward.

TRICEPS CABLE PUSHDOWNS:
Purpose: develop a complete triceps.
Execution: Use a short bar on an overhead cable pulley. Stand close, straight and stationary. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands approximately 10" apart. Make sure your elbows are tucked in close to your body and remain stationary. From this position press the bar down until your arms are straight. Now let the bar return slowly to the start position, without moving your elbows. Don't lean forward to help press down the weight with your body.
Variation: Grip the bar with a reverse grip. This puts more stress on the inner triceps.
Points to avoid: Avoid leaning over. Avoid sloppy form and letting elbows come away from your body. Avoid letting arms and elbows come up and avoid twisting or turning the head while exercising.

ONE-ARM TRICEPS EXTENSIONS:
Purpose: work the entire triceps ans separate the three heads of the muscle.
Execution: Sit on a bench. Take a dumbell in one hand and hold it extended over your head. Keeping your upper arm and elbow stationary and close to your head, lower the dumbell in an arc behind your head, only your forearm should be moving. Feel triceps stretch as far as possible, and then press the dumbell back up to the starting position. Finish your set with one arm and then repeat the movement with the other arm. Use a lighter dumbell to start with to ensure good form.
Variation: Use a heavier dumbell in both hands. While the one-armed extensions promotes shaping and separating, this variation is more for overall size and thickness.
Points to avoid: Avoid letting the dumbell stray backwards. Keep it close, behind the head. Avoid not fully extending the arm. Avoid loose, sloppy form and avoid moving the upper arm.

BENCH DIPS:
Purpose: develop overall triceps thickness.
Execution: Place a bench behind you and hold onto the edge, with your hands about shoulder width apart. Extend your legs and place your heels on another bench. Lower yourself by bending your elbows. Go down as far as possible to get a full stretch. Keep your elbows close to your torso to keep the stress on the triceps. Push back up, locking out your arms to get a full range of motion. Keep your upper body in control at all times.
Variation: If your own weight feels too light, increase resistance by placing weight on your thighs. You must have a training partner to do this.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps and avoid letting your knees come up.

CLOSE-GRIP BENCH PRESSES:
Purpose: build overall mass and thickness in the triceps.
Execution: Lie on a bench as you would for a bench press. Grip the bar with hands 8-12 inches apart. From full extension, slowly lower the bar toward your chest. Maintain the stress on your triceps by keeping the arms close to the body. The bar should touch your chest at the bottom of your pecs, lower than a bench press. From this position drive the bar back to the top to full extension.
Points to avoid: Avoid gripping the bar with hands too close together. Avoid bouncing the weight off the chest. Avoid using too much weight.

REVERSE CURLS ON THE PREACHER BENCH:
Purpose: develop the forearms and outside head of the biceps.
Execution: Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip, hands about shoulder width apart. Keep the upper body fixed throughout the exercise. Position yourself on a preacher bench, arms extended. Curl the bar upward as far as possible toward your chin. Begin the movement with a curling motion of the wrist. At the top of the movement hold for a slight pause before slowly lowering the weight back down to starting position.
Variation: You can also perform the reverse curl on the preacher bench with dumbells rather than a barbell. The execution is basically the same.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps. Avoid pulling the head up and back. Avoid pulling the upper body back. Avoid moving the arms or placing the elbows too high on the bench.

CRUNCHES:
Purpose: develop upper and lower abs.
Execution: Lie on your back, legs bent at a 90' angle, feet on a bench. Place your hands at your temples or ears to avoid pulling your head with your hands. Raise your head and shoulders toward your knees with a situp motion and simultaneously lift the pelvis. Exhale all the air from your stomach. Feel the lower and upper abs contract together. Flex the abs hard at the top of the movement to get maximum contraction. Release, inhale and return to the starting position. The whole movement should involve only four to eight inches of flexion. Train the abs without any added weight.
Points to avoid:Avoid holding your head with your hands clasped behind, this can cause injury and put undo stress on the neck. Avoid getting into too much of a non-stop rhythm.

BENT-KNEE LEG RAISES:
Purpose: develop lower abs.
Execution: Hold on to a chinning bar with an overhand grip. Hang at arms' length. Bend your knees and lift your legs high. Hold them at the top of the movement for a two-count. Then lower back to the starting position. Keep your upper body fixed all the time.
Variation: A variation of the bent-knee leg raise is to twist at the top of the movement. This still works the lower abs, but it also brings the intercostals and serratus into play. Alternate side to side with each leg raise.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps. Avoid swinging the whole body while performing the exercise and avoid loose or sloppy form.

ROPE PULL CRUNCH:
Purpose: develop the intercostals and abs.
Execution: Kneel on the floor holding on to the ropes attached to an overhead cable pulley. Keep your body upright and your knees together. Pull the cable down until your hand are by your head just above your ears. Curl your trunk forward and down until you feel your abdominals cruch together. At this point hold for a slight pause, flex your midsection and then relax and return to the start position. Your arms should remain fixed by the side of your head throughout the exercise.
Variation: To isolate on side of your intercostals and abdominals, try pulling down alternately to each side.
Points to avoid: Avoid curling your trunk too far. Avoid performing this exercise too fast. Avoid using too much weight.

FULL SQUATS:
Purpose: develop the thighs.
Execution: For safety reasons it is best to squat from a barbell squat rack. Keep your shoulders square, rest barbell across your shoulders and step clear of the rack. Your foot stance should be slighty wider than shoulder width and your toes pointed slighlt out. If that's not comfortable for you, you should find what's most comfortable for you. Find a local point at or above eye level to help keep head up. Keeping your head up and back straight, bend your knees and lower yourself until your thighs are just lower than parallel to the floor. From this point, push yourself back up to the starting position.
Variations: A wider stance, with toes pointing slightly out, works the inside of the thighs predominantly, while a narrower stance tends to work more of the outside thigh.
Points to avoid: Avoid leaning forward while squatting. Avoid coming up out of the bottom position buttocks first. Avoid squatting too low and irregural foot stance. Avoid using too much weight and avoid bringing your knees together.

FRONT SQUATS:
Purpose: develop the quadriceps.
Execution: Step up to a bar on a squat rack. Bring your arms up under the bar and cross them in front of you, keeping your elbows high. Place bar across the front of your shoulders. Graps the bar with hands approximately under your chin. Lift the weight and step away carefully. Feet should be shoulder width apart. Keep your head up, back straight, and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push back up to starting position.
Points to avoid: Avoid leaning forward, avoid squatting too low or not squatting deep enough.

LEG EXTENSIONS:
Purpose: develop the thighs.
Execution: Sit on the seat of the leg extension machine. Hook your feet under the padded bar and grip onto the sides or handles of the machine. Keep your upper body fixed and in complete control. Straighten or extend your legs out to achieve maximum contraction of the thigh muscles. Lock out and flex your thighs at this point. Slowly slower the weight back down to the starting position. Remember to focus on the muscles being worked.
Variations: You can point your toes inward or outward to work the thigh muscles at different angles. Pointing the toes inward shifts the stress to the outer thigh, while pointing the toes outward shifts the stress to the inner thigh.
Points to avoid: Avoid swinging or jerking the weight up in a continuos motion, always execute the exercise in a slow and completely controlled manner. Avoid excessive upperbody movement and avoid incomplete reps.

LEG CURLS:
Purpose: develop the leg biceps.
Execution: Lie face down on a leg curl machine and hook your hells under the padded leg bar, legs extended straight out. Keeping flat on the bench, curl your legs up as far as possible, until the leg biceps are fully contracted. Release and lower the weight slowly back down to the starting position.
Variations: Standing leg curls; for this excercise you will need a standing leg curl machine. You will train one leg at a time. Stand in position in the machine with your leg behind the leg pad. Curl your leg up as high as possible until leg biceps is fully contracted. Release and lower your leg back to the starting position. Keep the movement strict and controlled.
Points to avoid: Avoid lifting your head or arching your back during the exercise and avoid incomplete reps.

STANDING CALF RAISES:
Purpose: add mass to calves.
Execution: Stand with your toes and balls of your feet on the block of the standing calf machine, the rest of your feet out in mid-air. Hook shoulders under the pads and straighten your legs, lifting the weights clear of the support. Lower your heels as far as possible, stretching the calf muscle to its maximum. Keep your knees bent slightly throughout the movement, thus working upper and lower muscles in the calf. From the bottom of the movement, come up your toes as far as possible. Use enough weight to work the calves thoroughly, but not so heavy as to limit your range of movement. You want to work the calf through the full range of motion. The normal position, toes straight ahead, is best for overall calf development.
Variations: If you have a weak inner or outer calf, by simply chancing your foot placement, you can directly work this weakness. Toes in work the outer calf and toes out work the inner calf.
Points to avoid: Avoid using too much weight, preventing full extension to the top. Avoid keeping legs straight and knees locked and remember to stretch down as far as possible.

CALF RAISE ON THE LEG-PRESS MACHINE:
Purpose: develop the overall calf size.
Execution: Position yourself on the leg-press machine as you would to perform leg-presses. Move your feet so that the balls of your feet are on the edge of the foot platform, leaving your heels unsupported. Remove safety catches and keep legs straight and almost locked out. Keeping your heels fixed, let the weight push your toes back toward you, stretching out the calves fully. At this point press the weight back up with your toes as far as possible until your calf muscles are fully contracted. Hold for a pause; then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
Variations: Toes pointed out work the inner muscle of the calf and toes pointed in work the outer muscle of the calf. You can also use the vertical leg press. The execution of this exercise is basically the same.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps, always work the muscle through the full range of motion. Avoid lifting or moving your upper body during the exercise. Avoid letting the knees bend while lowering the weight back down.

SEATED CALF RAISE:
Purpose: develop the lower and outer calf.
Execution: Sit on the seated calf machine with your toes placed on the bottom crosspiece, knees hooked under the crossbar. Slowly lower your heels as far towards the ground as possible; then press back up your toes until your calves are fully contracted. Keep a smooth controlled motion for your reps.
Points to avoid: Avoid any rocking motion that gets you into a rhythm. Avoid incomplete reps and always make a definite stop at the bottom and the top of the movement.

CALF RAISE ON THE HACK-MACHINE:
Purpose: develop the overall calf size and strength of the calf.
Execution: Stand straight facing into the hack machine. Place the balls of your feet on the upper edge of the foot plate, approximately shoulder width apart. Tighten your abs and straighten your legs to help stabilize your pelvis. Now press the weight back up by contracting the calves hard. Lower the weight down to full extension, strectching out your calves, and repeat. Remember to keep your legs tight to help stabilizing your knee joints.
Points to avoid: Avoid bending your knees and avoid incomplete reps.

STIFF-LEG DEDLIFTS:
Purpose: develop and stretch the leg biceps and develop the spinal erectors.
Execution: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip or powerlifting grip. Hands should be at shoulder width. Pull back your shoulder blades and tighten your lats. Your back and upper body should be parallel to the floor and legs straight, knees semilocked. Tighten your abs, keep arms fully extended, and straighten up. Move your hips toward the bar slowly while keeping the spine straight and aligned. Arch your spine and flex the spinal erectors completely. Bend at the hips as you lower the weight, and move your hips backward slightly.
Points to avoid: Avoid rounding your back. Avoid using too much weight. Avoid focusing your vision in one spot.

CLEAN AND PRESS:
Purpose: develop overall size and power.
Execution: Squat with feet shoulder width apart, and grasp a barbell in an overhand grip. Keep your back flat, head up and start the movement driving up with your legs, lifting the bar simultaneously until it is resting across your shoulders/chest area. From this position press the bar straight up overhead. Lower slowly back to the shoulder/chest area. Reverse the previous movement to the floor.
Points to avoid: Avoid letting your back round. Avoid straightening the legs before the bar is off the ground. Avoid using too much weight. Avoid moving your feet during the exercise.

POWER CLEANS:
Purpose: develop overall power and strength.
Execution: Squat with feet shoulder width apart, and grasp a barbell in an overhand grip. Your hands should be spaced at about shoulder width. Keep your back flat, head up, and start the movement by driving up with your legs, lifting the bar simultaneously until it is shoulder high. Then push your elbows forward and roll your wrists backward until the bar is resting your upper chest/shoulder area. Reverse the movement back to the start.
Points to avoid: Avoid letting your back round. Avoid straightening the legs before the bar is off the ground. Avoid using too much weight. Avoid moving your feet during the exercise.

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