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What are the Different Types of Muscle Strengthening Exercises?

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  • Written By: R. Petrossian
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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Muscle strengthening exercises are physical activities designed to boost energy and improve strength and muscle fitness. These exercises focus mainly on muscle contractions that produce pressure and tightness in the muscle itself and make the muscle work, increasing its strength and size. Muscle strengthening exercises can be categorized based on the types of muscle contractions they require, including isometric and isotonic, with the latter being divided into concentric and eccentric contractions.

In isometric exercises, the muscles work without moving the joints. This type of training is beneficial to people who have suffered joint injuries or have arthritis. These exercises are done by applying force to an immovable object or by holding an object in place against resistance.

Isotonic contractions are done by moving the joints. Muscle strengthening exercises that use isotonic contractions typically involve resistance in the form of weights or resistance bands. Some examples are arm curls, in which the elbows bend, or leg presses or squats, in which the knees bend.

A concentric muscle contraction is when the muscle shortens as it works, such as a bicep muscle contracting as the weight is lifted during arm curls. In eccentric contraction, the muscles stretch and extend. One example of eccentric contraction is the bicep muscle lengthening as the weight is lowered during arm curls.

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Muscle strengthening exercises typically focus on specific parts of the body. For example, core muscle strengthening exercises mainly focus on the abdominal muscles, the back and pelvis. Neck muscle strengthening training helps to release tension in the neck muscles, reduce migraine headaches and correct poor posture.

The knee joints are two of the most delicate joints in the body, and there are more significant injuries to the knees than to any other body part. By flexing and extending the knees, the muscles surrounding the knees will become stronger, and this will help protect the joints. Knee muscle strengthening exercises include leg presses, squats and cycling.

Some of the important tips for performing muscle strengthening exercises are proper breathing while flexing and lifting, and starting the workout routine first with light weights and a manageable number of repetitions. This will maximize the benefits of the workout and help prevent injuries. The weights and repetitions can gradually increase in order to achieve a more extensive exercise and obtain better results.

These exercises can help prevent injuries to different parts of the body by building muscles that are more fit and healthy. They also increase joint mobility, leading to healthier joints. Muscle strengthening training also can help increase range of motion, especially in the knees.

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lighth0se33
Post 4

I think that old fashioned pushups and crunches are some of the best strengthening exercises you can do. My abdominal muscles went from nonexistent to totally defined after about six months of doing crunches every other day, and my puny biceps firmed up with the pushups.

The important thing about strengthening exercises is to give your body a break. That's why I only do them every other day.

The day after a workout focusing on building my muscles, I will do an aerobic workout like dancing that focuses on raising my heart rate and helping me burn calories. I let my muscles rest up, so any damage I may have done to them has a chance to get repaired, and they won't be too tired when it comes time for the next workout.

orangey03
Post 3

My dad owns a home gym, and I use it to strengthen my muscles. It has a section for lifting metal arms attached to weights, and you can vary the amount.

I can sit on the padded bench and press the metal arms forward, or I can insert a peg and push the arms inward toward my chest in a butterfly press. I can also hang another bar from the top and pull it down behind my back to work my back muscles.

The home gym also has a stair stepper. Just a few minutes on this will work out my glutes and thighs very well. It's great for people who have a flat rear, because it lets you build muscle back there.

OeKc05
Post 2

@cloudel – Isometric exercises are awesome, because you don't have to hurt yourself doing them. The risk of injury is much less than with isotonic exercises, and you get to build muscle while staying fairly safe.

One of the best isometric exercises for building arm muscles is pushing against a wall. You should stand about two feet from the wall and keep your feet apart while leaning into the wall with your hands.

Push against the wall with the weight of your body, and hold the position for about twenty seconds. Start out with reps of four and increase your time and reps as you are able.

You will start to see more definition in your triceps and biceps. It is so easy to do.

cloudel
Post 1

I did a wide range of muscle strengthening exercises as a teenager. I was very lanky, and I really wanted to have good muscle tone. Being a girl, I didn't want to bulk up in a major way, but I did want to have a good shape.

I did crunches and biceps curls, along with push-ups and lunges. The only equipment I used was a pair of five pound weights. All the other exercises could be done using my own body alone.

Now that I'm older, I admit that I've let my workout routine slide a bit, and my muscles are weaker. I've heard that isometric exercises can build muscle. What are some good ones to try?

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