Don't neglect traditional body-weight exercises such as pushups as part of your lean muscle-building routine.
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Body-weight exercises are ideal for gaining lean muscle mass because they combine resistance training and fat burning in one workout. According to Craig Ballantyne, a writer for Men's Health, body-weight exercises are the workout of choice for most of the fitness cover models and others with long lean bodies. Gymnasts, martial artists, olympians and athletes in numerous other sports have relied on body-weight exercises as part of their training routine. Incorporating body-weight exercises into your routine is an easy way to boost your ability to gain lean muscle.
Lean Muscle Benefits
Lean muscle mass burns fat and improves your quality of life. As you age, you lose muscle and gain excess fat. And so building lean muscle mass through resistance training such as body-weight exercises can help you maintain muscle while burning excess fat. In fact, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Muscle also protects your joints from injury.
Use Your Body to Build Muscle
Body-weight exercises use your body mass to burn fat and build lean muscle. They are just as effective as traditional weight training for gaining muscle and burning calories. If you need to increase resistance for a body-weight exercise, there are simple modifications you can do such as completing each repetition slower. Some examples of body-weight exercises that build lean muscle are pushups, planks, triceps dips, wall sit, squats, abdominal crunches, side planks, step-ups and lunges.
Step It Up With Circuit Training
You can step up your lean muscle gains using bodyweight exercises as part of a circuit training workout. According to "Fitness" magazine circuit training burns 30 percent more calories than the average weight workout. Combine that with body-weight exercises and you've got a winning combo. To build lean muscle, choose 10 to 12 body-weight exercises such as the one's listed above. Choose exercises that hit every part of your body. Complete 15 to 20 repetitions of each exercise with 30 seconds or less rest between exercises. Run through every exercise once, rest for two to three minutes and repeat. Run through all of the exercises two or three times.
Watch Your Diet
Body-weight exercises alone won't help you achieve the lean muscle gains that you want. Diet plays a key role in your lean body mass. A diet that is high in lean protein, leafy greens and healthy carbohydrates is just as important as what kind of workout you do. Avoid processed foods and drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water daily. While body-weight exercises do burn calories, don't forget to add cardiovascular exercise to your weekly routine. Circuit training, running, swimming, bike riding, and dancing are some enjoyable ways to add to your lean muscle gains.