There are 6 basic muscle groups that you need to develop when bodybuilding. These are as follows:
There is an array of exercises that work these muscle groups, many of which involve free weights (dumbbells, barbells, etc.) and exercise machines. Of the two, free weights are better for building muscle mass as these involve more muscles for balance and stabalization. But whatever the exercise, it's important to reach muscle failure at every set to experience muscle growth. For many bodybuilders, the best way to do this is to find a weight that you can lift 6-8 times per set before muscle failure. It is important to do two sets as a warm up with the first set at about half the full weight you normally do for the exercise. So, five sets which would include two warm up sets is good. Failure is a term used for the last repetition you can perform in a set of which you are using correct form.
A basic exercise for the chest is the bench press. The bench press is usually done by lying flat on your back on a bench. You then press a barbell (or a pair of dumbbells) over your chest with both arms. Repeatedly extend your arms until they straighten without locking, exhaling as you go, then lower the weights to chest level. Keep the back of your hand in line with the back of the forearm when performing this exercise.
A popular exercise for the triceps is the overhead triceps extension. This may be done with a barbell or E-Z bar, but beginners can use a lighter weight dumbbell and do one arm at a time. With two hands, hold the barbell, or E-Z bar firmly over your head. Repeatedly bend your elbows until your forearm forms a 90-degree angle with your upper arm, then return the weight over your head again. The important part to remember is that with any tricep exercise the upper arm should not move, just the lower arm.
The easiest and probably the best-known biceps exercise is the barbell curl. In this exercise, you simply hold the barbell at thigh level with both hands facing forwards and shoulder-width apart. Tuck your elbows in beside your ribcage and keep them close to your hips and steady. Bend your elbows and curl your forearms up towards your upper arms, then lower the barbell to thigh level again. Do not bring your elbows forward as so many people do, also try to keep the back of your hands in line with the back of the forearm.
There are also a number of exercises that can be done for the shoulders. You can use free weights or specialized machines. The exercises for the shoulders include the military or dumbbell press, lateral raises, rear raises and the upright row.
For the back, there are three basic exercises that can be done with free-weights or specialized machines. These are the front pull down (note: lat pulldowns should never be pulled to the back of the neck), barbell row, one arm dumbbell row and pullovers.
Working the legs can be tricky as specialized gym equipment is sometimes needed to target specific areas or regions. The workout routines include barbell squats, Smith Machine squats or leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls and calf raises.
The abdominals can be worked by either performing crunches of which there are many variations or leg or knee raises. The important part to remember to achieving a 'six pack' is that it is what you don't have, i.e. much body fat that makes this achievable. You can have the best abs in the world, but if they are covered with too much body fat you will not see them. Diet is the important factor here, and body fat reduction.
Your gym instructor can give helpful advice regarding the best gym routine for you. Whatever your routine,
however, it's important to do some warming up with 5 to 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and stretching of
the muscles you are going to work before pumping iron.
This will loosen your muscles up, improve blood circulation, and help prevent injury. You should also stretch the muscles worked after exercise to help reduce the build up of lactic acid and soreness. Keep these things in mind to have a safe, enjoyable trip to the gym, every single time.
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