Many men find their way to the gym to strength train, and they perform the more traditional strength exercises such as chest press, lat pulldowns and squats. They gain good muscle and add size, but often don't know how to define their bodies. The popular areas where men want definition are the abs, triceps and glutes. Certain exercises can help refine these areas for a sculpted muscular physique.
Getting definition in the abdominals requires more than hundreds of repetitions of the same old exercises, such as bicycle crunches or ab crunches on a stability ball. Challenge the abdominals just like other muscle groups by adding weight to resist the muscles. The abdominals also respond well to powerful and dynamic movement patterns that require them to react quickly. Medicine balls, which are weighted balls, work the best for this type of abdominal work. Get a partner and try the oblique toss for a sculpted midsection. Start on a decline bench with your feet anchored under the foot pads and lean back from your hips, keeping your spine straight. Have your partner throw a 6- to 8-lb. medicine ball toward your right shoulder. As you catch the ball by your shoulder, engage your abdominals and rotate to your right, then as you come back to the center, throw the ball back to your partner. Continue this, alternating sides, for 10 to 15 repetitions on each side, and perform two to three sets each time you work out.
The tricep muscles, located on the back of the arm, are often overshadowed by all the bicep training that men tend to do. However, sculpting the triceps adds to the strong look of the arm. Add a tricep exercise to the end of your arm workout. Place your left hand on a bench, keep your left foot by the bench and step your right foot back, leaning forward from your hips. With a dumbbell in your right hand, bend your right elbow and pull your upper arm back until it is close to your ribs and slightly higher than your torso, with your palm facing your body. Straighten your arm, and as your move your hand back, rotate your palm to face up toward the ceiling. As you bend your elbow to return to start position you also return your palm to face your body. Repeat 12 to 15 repetitions per side for three sets each time you do an arm workout.
When it comes to training the legs and glutes, men tend to stick to squats, leg press machines, leg extensions and leg curls, but avoid the lunge. This exercise can be performed using a Smith machine with a fixed bar, a free bar across the upper back or with dumbbells held by your side. Use moderate to heavy weights, and be aware that a lunge does require some balance. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, then take a large step straight back with your left foot so that your feet are still hip-distance apart in the lunge stride. You will be on the ball of your left foot, and your right knee will be slightly bent in this start position. Keep your spine tall and over your hips, and try not to lean toward your right leg. To execute the exercise, bend both knees as you lower your left knee toward the ground and bring your right knee to a 90-degree angle, then press back to the start position. Perform 12 lunges on each side, three sets per leg workout.
- The Personal Trainer's Handbook; Teri S. O'Brien, MS; 1997
- Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Human Movement; Lawrence A Golding, PhD and Scott M Golding, MS; 2003