Strength training and body building involve the use of weights for the purpose of developing muscle mass. Lifting weights concentrates resistance on certain muscle groups which causes your muscle fibers to tear ever so slightly. Repeatedly tearing your muscle fibers with weights causes new muscles to develop. Weight training generally involves the use of nautilus machines, free weights like dumbbells and barbells, and body weight exercises such as sit-ups, pull-ups and push ups.

If your purpose for working out is to increase total muscle mass then your workout regimen should rely primarily upon free weight exercises. Machines are very adept at isolating certain muscle groups but free weights are generally much better at building muscle mass. Machine and body weight exercises are very good exercises but they should play a much smaller role in your workout than free weight exercises. Free weights work better because of the basic physiology of the body. In short, free weight exercises stimulate more muscle fibers and ultimately cause more muscle to be developed.

Supporting muscle groups are those groups of muscles that support other major muscles (hence the name). Free weight exercises such as bench press and shoulder press concentrate resistance on the major muscles as well as the supporting muscles. The difference between a free weight exercise and its machine counterpart are actually very noticeable if you use one then the other. More than likely you will find that you can do less weight with free weight exercises than on the machine version. This is because the free weight exercises fatigue your muscles much faster than the machines.

Within the range of free weight exercises are what’s called compound or multi-joint exercises. These exercises are so called because they cause stimulation of the major muscles and the supporting muscles. Compound exercises are practically essential in developing muscle in a relatively short period of time. At the minimum, every advanced workout regimen should incorporate bench press, squats, shoulder press, triceps press, and dead lifts. Just focusing on these exercises can make very noticeable differences in your strength and physical appearance.

Heavy lifting puts an enormous amount of stress on your muscles and joints. You need to make sure you receive at least eight hours of sleep each night and perhaps even take a short nap following a heavy workout. Your joints can wear out very quickly if you don’t get enough rest and the last thing you want is cortisone injections in your joints because you overdid it. Purchasing and regularly taking joint supplements can help prevent the deterioration of your joints and is strongly advised.

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