So you want defined biceps and triceps; you want calves that pop; you’d rather have chest muscles than man boobs. Call it vanity or call it pride, there’s no harm in wanting to be in shape and look the part. But what healthy habits to incorporate? These 28 moves are a great place to start. Incorporate these into a rounded exercise routine (and, it goes without saying, eat well) and you will find the muscle definition that you always wanted will be soon to follow.
Sit on edge of chair, hands facing forward and grasping the chair seat edge. Inch your hips forward until your butt is off the chair and your arms are supporting your weight. Bend your elbows and drop your seat toward the floor and back up.
Lie on your back beneath a table. Position yourself so your shoulders align directly below the table edge. Reach up and grab the table edge. Bend your elbows and pull your body, in a straight line, up as high as you can. Lower back down.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding weights. Raise both arms directly out to the side. Make small circular motions – 10 times in one direction, then 10 times in the other for one complete set.
Stand with your feet together, holding one end of a rope in each hand. Place your right foot in the center of the rope. Using your right leg for resistance (allow it to bend as needed), bend your elbows and raise hands toward your chest. Release.
Start by hanging from the bar, hands shoulder-width apart (close hands mean greater biceps load; wider hands mean more back muscle). Bend elbows and raise chin above the bar. Return to hanging.
Using a weight suitable for 8-10 reps, unrack the barbell and place it behind your neck on your shoulders, holding it with an overhand grip (palms forward). Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Allow your chest to lean forward slightly, back flat, as you bend your knees, aiming to get knees over toes. Straighten back to standing.
Holding a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet parallel, arms by your sides. Take a big step forward with your right leg, landing with a bent knee. Bend your right knee until your leg forms a right angle, knee over toes, and back left knee hovers just above the ground. Push off right foot and return to standing.
Bavarian Split Squat
Stand with your back to a bench, about a foot away. Holding a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand, lift your right leg behind you, knee bent, and rest your right toes on the bench. Bend your left knee over your left toes, letting your right knee drop toward the floor. Straighten up again.
Face a bench with a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand. Step up onto the bench with your right leg, allowing your left leg to swing through until it is raised in front of you, knee bent. Step back down with your left leg first.
Stand with your back to a bench, about a foot away. Holding a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand, lift your left leg in front of you. Bend your right knee and sink back and down to the bench until your butt just touches the seat. Immediately engage your quad and return to standing, without letting your left leg touch the floor.
Stand facing a bench or box about two feet off the floor. Bend your knees and let your arms drift behind you. Explosively push through the floor, jump, and tuck your knees as you spring up onto the box, landing on both feet. Step back down.
Find yourself a set of stairs, and race to the top, jog to the bottom, for 60 seconds, lifting knees as high as you can and moving your feet as fast as they will go.
Incline Dumbbell Press
Sit back on a bench inclined at 35-45 degrees. Holding a dumbbell in either hand, bend your elbows and place hands at your chest. Inhale, then exhale as you raise dumbbells over your chest, arms straight. Inhale and lower to your chest.
Low Cable Crossovers
Set your cable pulleys to ankle or shin height. Holding a pulley in your right hand. Step three to four feet away from the machine, feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back and arm straight, raise your right arm on a diagonal plane in front of you, allowing it to cross the midsection of your body to chest height at your left side. Slowly release your arm until it is by your right side. Repeat on left side.
Reverse Grip Barbell Bench Press
Sit back on a bench inclined at 35-45 degrees. Hold a barbell at chest height, elbows bent and palms shoulder-width apart facing your chest. Make sure your thumbs are hooked around the bar for safety. Exhale and raise the bar directly above your chest, arms straight and palms facing forward. Inhale and lower barbell to your chest.
Incline Dumbbell Flyes
Sit back on a bench inclined at about 30 degrees. Holding a dumbbell in either hand, raise arms straight above your chest. Allowing a slight bend in your elbows, drop your arms out to the sides, keeping them at shoulder height. Hold for five counts feeling a stretch across your chest. Squeeze your chest muscles and raise arms directly above your chest again.
Landmine Chest Press
Use a bar weighted for two sets of 4-6 presses. Begin by standing at a distance such that the near end of the bar touches your shoulders when your elbows are completely bent. Wrap both hands around the bar at the near end, one on top of each other. Lean slightly forward so that the bar subtly supports your weight. Raise hands in the air until your arms are straight. Lower back down.
Incline Bench Press
Lie on a bench with the incline set to 45 degrees. Using a barbell with a weight you can perform 10 reps with, lift the barbell above your chest, arms straight, palms facing away from you. Bend elbows and lower to chest. Straighten.
Decline Bench Press
Lie on a bench with the decline set to 45 degrees. Use two dumbbells with a weight you can perform 10 reps with. Lift the dumbbells straight above your chest, arms straight, palms facing away from you. Bend elbows and lower to chest. Straighten.
Lie face-up on a bench, feet flat on the floor. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, raise arms straight up in the air over your chest. Inhale, then exhale as you open your arms wide out to the sides. Contract your chest muscles and raise the dumbbells overhead again.
Standing Overhead Press
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Holding a barbell, raise arms directly overhead, palms facing forward. This is your start position. Bend elbows and lower bar to your shoulders. Raise back to start.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding hanging rings or TRX straps in each hand. Raise your arms directly out in front of your torso. Keeping your body in a long, straight line, lean forward to about a 45-degree angle. From there, bend your elbows as if you are doing a pushup, allowing your body to tilt forward at an even greater incline. Squeeze arms back together in straight position and return to the 45-degree incline with your body.
Place your left knee and left hand on a bench, leaning forward so that your back is flat. Hold dumbbell in your right hand, allowing your right arms to hang straight down. Bend right elbow and raise dumbbell to your chest. Release.
Attached cables or resistance bands to two different spots about 10 feet apart and roughly in line with the middle of your body. Standing mid-way between the bands, grab one end of the cable or band in each hand, adjusting so that there is tension on the bands when you arms are straight out to the side. Engage your chest muscles to squeeze your arms together, allowing wrists to cross in front of your body before releasing.
Get down on all fours, hand, and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Extend your legs behind you so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Bend elbows back and lower your body so the chin is just above floor. Raise back to the start position.
High Plank Single Arm Swaps
From an extended push-ups position (arms straight), lift your left hand off the floor and tap your right shoulder, stabilizing your body with your right arm. Return to start position and repeat on the opposite side. Two sets of 10 taps.
From push-ups position, bend your right elbow to rest on the floor and drop your right side to follow. Quickly bend and drop your left elbow so your body is now in a plank position. Shift your weight to the left side while straightening your right elbow again, followed by your left elbow, so you are back in your original extended push-ups position. Complete 10 of these “box” moves in one direction. Rest. Reverse directions and do 10 more.
Start in a plank position (face down, elbows bent, legs straight). Shift your weight to your right side, and raise your left arm toward the ceiling as your body rotates until it is perpendicular to the floor. Keep your legs straight and your body in a straight line. Hold for 60 seconds. Repeat on the left side.