Saturday, September 26, 2015

Three Exercises to Increase Muscle Mass and Strength

Muscle loss and consequently a decrease in strength can begin as early as your 30s.  Left unabated this process accelerates each year causing you to lose more muscle and strength until the activities of everyday life becomes difficult to do.  However, the good news is you can do something to slow down and even reverse this scenario.

Strength training (weight lifting), and proper daily protein intake are two of the most effective ways of maintaining your muscle mass and strength as you age.  In this post I will show you three exercises you can do to help you maintain and increase their muscle mass and strength.  You should perform these exercises in combination 2 to 3 times each week for best results.

Exercise 1.  Lat Pulldown

The lat pulldown is a great exercise for strengthening and developing the upper back muscles that are critical for good posture.  People whose shoulders are slumped forward most likely have underdeveloped upper back muscles.

First, sit down and adjust the thigh pad to a position that firmly fits over your thighs.  Then select a resistance with which the last three repetitions are difficult to complete.  If this is your first time doing this exercise, it may take experimenting at several weights before you find the right resistance.  Next, grip the bar a little wider than shoulder width, sit down on the seat and place your knees firmly under the pad.  Start with your arms fully extended and your chest held high.  This is your start position. Now, pull the bar slowly down to the base of your neck while squeezing your shoulder blades back and together.   Slowly return the bar to the starting position.  (It should take about three seconds to pull the bar down and about two seconds to return the bar to its starting position). Proper breathing is very important, so remember to exhale as you pull the bar down and inhale as you return the bar to the starting position. 

Exercise # 2 - The Dumbbell Chest Press