Building a slimmer, more athletic body can be difficult if you are unsure how to go about it. But body sculpting is all about working all the major muscle groups in your body, and you can do that with just 10 gym-based exercises that will help you build a beautiful, eye-catching body that is firm and toned.
Your upper body consists of five major muscle groups: chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps and back. When you train your chest, use bench presses. Having a strong chest supports breathing, especially when exercising. The military press exercises your entire shoulder. Having strong shoulders benefits swimming, volleyball and racket sports such as tennis. Curls work your biceps, and triceps extensions challenge the back of your arms. Working these muscles helps prevent flabby arms. The cable row is an effective back exercise that is easy to do. Strong back muscles support healthy posture.
A slim, sexy midsection is very appealing, and developing one may be easier than you think. You need only two exercises to gain strength, tone and firmness in your core: situps and planks -- both front and side planks. Your balance will improve as your core gains strength. Better balance enhances sports, such as running and tennis.
Your legs comprise four groups of muscles: glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles. Squats will thoroughly work your glutes and quadriceps. Runners benefit from strong quadriceps, which helps them avoid injuries such as runner's knee. Lunges are great for hamstrings and have the added benefit of also working your glutes. Cyclists generate power from strong glutes ,and athletic hamstrings create a more efficient pedal stroke. Simple calf raises are an effective calf-shaping exercise. Having strong calves benefits any activity that involves your legs.
To perform these exercises, use resistance-training equipment such as free weights, gym machines, or a mixture of both. The goal for each exercise is three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. If you are unable to finish your third set but you can do at least eight repetitions, this is enough. However, if you cannot finish eight repetitions, reduce the resistance for your last set.
Ideally, you should do situps in three sets of 20 or more. If this is too difficult in the beginning, aim for at least one set of 20. From here, increase in sets as you become fitter and stronger. Hold planks for 30 to 90 seconds each and perform three front planks and three side planks to each side.
You may work out your entire body with these 10 exercises two to three times per week. Give your muscles 24 to 48 hours of rest between workouts.
Marcus Schantz is an author and licensed attorney based in Chicago. He holds a Juris Doctor from the Northern Illinois University College of Law, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin.