This is a guest post from Vic Magary of Gym Junkies.com. Vic is a personal trainer, karate/taekwando blackbelt, and a U.S. Army veteran.
Walk into any commercial gym today and you’ll see the same thing over and over… overweight guy walks on the treadmill for 5 minutes, then hits the fly machine for a few sets, then he grabs the curl bar, stares into the mirror, and cranks out 3 sets of bicep curls. When he’s done with that, he grabs a squishy mat and does crunches for 10 minutes (all while checking out the cute chick on the elliptical). If this sounds like you, you’re in for a rude awakening…
Let’s think about this logically for a second. Hundreds of years ago we got exercise from sprinting through the woods and tracking down big game with a spear; now we’re sitting on a $5,000 chromed out machine doing flys and calling it a workout? It’s time to ditch the BS and focus on compound muscle exercises that will jack your testosterone, help you look great, and make you feel like a real man.
Here are the 7 best exercises that will make you look and feel like a man:
What’s more manly than grabbing a bar with as much weight on it as you can possibly lift and ripping it off of the ground? The deadlift requires true max effort, demanding all of your focus and strength. Not only that, but the deadlift is the surest path to a powerful and strong appearance. This results from its emphasis on the glutes, legs, and back while being the best overall body developer in your fitness arsenal. Learn how to deadlift!
As men, we sometimes feel as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders. Well, get used to bearing some weight by stepping under the squat bar! The squat will give you legs that are pillars of strength and a torso that is rock solid. So make like Atlas and squat big! If you avoid squats because you’re an “upperbody only” type guy, then it’s time to reevaluate your workout and make a serious change. Squatting heavy and deep will make you look and feel like a warrior.
Push Press/Shoulder Press
If pulling as much weight as possible off of the ground with the deadlift is the exercise that makes you feel most manly, then pushing as much weight as you can overhead is a close second. The bench press is given far too much credit. I struggle to think of a scenario in life where we are we caught with our back braced to the floor and a heavy weight extended towards the ceiling. However, the functionality of pushing weight overhead from a standing position is undeniable. Need to put that heavy box in your attic? Or help lift your buddy over a high fence when it’s time to escape and evade? The push press will help you move heavy objects to high places and give you the round, broad shoulders that make women swoon.
With a rope, chain, or nylon strap, hook yourself up to a shoulder harness or belt connected to a heavy object like a tire or weighted sled. Now lean forward, start stepping, and pull! Not only will your legs be pushed to the maximum, your heart and lungs will crank at top speed. Enjoy the heart pounding sensation and know that you are training like a real man.
Sledge Hammer Drills
Manual labor is well, manly. And in modern society’s sea of white collars and cubicles, it pays to create some physical work when your paycheck doesn’t require it. Repeatedly slam the sledge hammer with all of your might into an old tire or some soft earth. Your back, shoulders, midsection, and forearms will benefit and sledge hammer drills are great for stress relief.
Another throw back to manual labor, the sandbag clean is a great exercise for overall physical development a well as grip strength. If your sandbag has handles, don’t use them. Just grip the bag by the cloth and work on developing some man-hands. Strong grip = strong man.
I’d love it if the common gym question of “How much can you bench?” was replaced by “How many pull-ups can you do?” The problem is that most guys cheat the pull-up by failing to fully extend their arms at the bottom or get their chin above the bar at the top. If you can knock out 10 honest pull ups, try adding some weight. You can use a weight belt and hang some plates from it, pinch a dumbbell between your ankles, wear a weighted vest or back back, or put your wife or girlfriend on your back if you’re (and they’re) up to it. Adding weight to the pull-up will help add width to the back and give you the tapered V-shaped look.
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