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5 Ways to Build Muscle and Improve Your Health

Do You Even Lift? If not, you should! Read on to find out why everyone should be doing weight bearing exercises and learn 5 to get you started.

 There are so many benefits to performing weight-bearing exercises.  The obvious benefits are gaining stronger muscles and toning your body, but there are many other advantages as well.  Weight-bearing exercise helps build bones, increase muscle mass, and can improve or prevent some health conditions.  It has also been known to help reduce a person's risk of injury and might even help speed up weight loss.

Weight-bearing exercises build and strengthen your bones.  While you are exercising with weights your muscles pull on your bones making them stronger and more dense.  When your bones are strong there is a lesser chance of injury and a reduced risk of osteoporosis which is a disease causing brittle, weakened bones.

Some other advantages besides building muscle strength are better coordination and improved balance as well as a more toned physique.  When you work out with weights you begin to replace fat with toned muscles which can reduce your risk of accidental injury.  Adding muscle mass make your joints, bones, tendons and ligaments hardier and less susceptible to injury.

Obviously lifting weights is important if you are looking to build bigger muscles and gain overall strength but a lot of people don't realize the importance or benefits lifting weights can have when it comes to weight loss.  Muscle requires the body to use more energy than fat does.  This means that a person with a higher level of muscle mass burns more calories naturally than someone with a higher fat percentage over an average day.

In addition, exercising with weights can increase a person's overall stamina.  It may also help slow the aging process when paired with cardio exercises such as walking or running.  Having less body fat puts a person at a lower risk for developing cancer, diabetes and other health problems associated with being overweight.

Here are out Top 5 favorite muscle building exercises:

1. Deadlifts- This exercise works the whole posterior part of your body from your traps to your calves.  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.  Grab the bar right outside your knees and exhale as you stand up.

2. Squats- This is a full body weight-bearing exercise.  Start with your feet shoulder width apart, toes slightly pointing out.  Keep your chin up and hips back.  Try to keep the same angle between your shins and back.  Exhale a full breath on your way up.  Try to squat as low as possible maintaining a pain free range of motion.

3. Push Press- This is a full body explosive exercise.  It combines a conventional strict press with a partial squat.  Start with the barbell resting on your chest, bend your knees slightly and explode towards the ceiling.

4.  Shrugs- Hold the weight at your hips and bring your shoulders up towards your ears. Pay attention to not roll your shoulders forward or back as this can be bad for your rotator cuff.

5.  Bent Over Rows- Stand with feet shoulder width apart.  Keep your hips hinged and a slight bend at your knees.  Exhale and bring the weights up to your waist.  These can also be done underhanded to work your biceps.

Be sure to check out the video to learn how to do all these great exercises!

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