Bodybuilding: the essential exercises


The pumps

THE classic bodybuilding. For both neophytes and regulars in the gym, pumps are a must. What makes it an essential exercise? The simplicity of the movement first, which consists, in support on the arms, to go down then raise the bust, making sure to keep the back straight so as not to suffer at the lumbar level. 

Another advantage: no material is needed and “push up” is accessible even for beginners. Finally, make the pumps is the insurance to solicit many muscles of the upper body – pecs, triceps, deltoid especially – and allow a harmonious body development. Especially if you vary the movements: with hands apart, with tight hands, inclined pumps, pumps declined …

The abdominals

man doing abs workout
photo credit: freepik

The quest for the famous “chocolate bar” is often one of the reasons for getting into bodybuilding. To get a developed abdominal strap, there is no miracle: you have to make it work often and efficiently. For this, there are dozens of exercises that allow the work of “abs”: straight, oblique, crunches, leg lifts … Again, it is important to vary the exercises to work the entire abdominal strap and do not develop one “zone” to the detriment of another. 

Take care, for example, to seek the obliques, sometimes neglected in favor of the right muscle of the abdomen.


The sheathing is the ideal and indispensable complement of “abs”. The two exercises are complementary since the sheathing makes it possible to solicit deep abdominals, thanks to isometric contraction work (the working muscles are not moving).

In its classic position, the cladding consists of maintaining a horizontal position, resting on the elbows and the tip of the feet. The benefits of sheathing are many: your trunk will be more toned, your stomach flatter and this prevents back pain including. Above all, do not limit yourself to the “traditional” position and enjoy the variety of cladding exercises to work your entire lap belt.


Unlike the first three exercises, pulls require an investment at the hardware level. But it is minimal since it is possible to get a drawbar for about 20 euros. And the investment is quickly profitable given the effectiveness of the pulls.

 If you do not know the basic movement, it’s very simple: it’s about grabbing the bar and lifting your face above it only with the strength of the arms. With the pulls, the muscles of the back are very solicited, as well as the biceps and the pecs. Depending on your abilities, you can also try out different pull-ups, which will allow you to fully work your upper body muscles.

The squat

In bodybuilding, it is important to work all parts of the body not to create an imbalance, which is dangerous for health. The squat is not far from the exercise king because it allows a whole body work at one time even if it focuses primarily on the thighs and glutes.

The movement consists of bending the legs, with the feet flat on the ground, while carrying a drawbar, loaded or not, on the back. The squat is an exercise at once simple but also technical. The poor performance of the exercise can be very dangerous. But once mastered, the squat will give you satisfactory results.

The leg press

To strengthen your legs, what’s better than the thigh press? Lying on the machine, lumbar and back leaning on the backrest, feet resting on a platform with legs bent, the motion is to push on a load until your legs are fully stretched before returning to the original position.

 Considered less risky than the squat because the load is distributed over the entire back thanks to the back of the machine, the thigh press promotes the development of quadriceps, glutes, back thighs, calves, lumbar and lower back. abs.

The bench press

When you talk about bodybuilding, it’s almost impossible to miss the bench press. This very popular exercise is also very effective because it can take both mass and power. Lying on a bench, the movement consists of lifting a loaded traction bar and then keeping it in a high position before lowering it to the level of the chest then raising the bar.

The bench press solicits the muscles of the trunk – small and large pectoral – but also the shoulders and triceps. It is advisable to practice the bench press with the assistance of a partner to avoid accidents, especially if the loads are heavy.

The deadlift

Like the squat, the deadlift is an exercise that allows you to work multiple body parts – glutes, quads, back thighs, back, abdominals and forearms – in one motion. As the name implies, the movement involves grasping a pull-bar, with the hands spreading shoulder-width apart, at the ground level, lifting it up to the knees using the quadriceps, and straightening the bust. 

This exercise requires a perfect technique because it can be dangerous when it is poorly executed. It is for this reason that beginners will have to use state-certified coaches to learn how to perform the movement perfectly.

The dips

Looking for a way to develop your triceps, your pecs, and your shoulder muscles? Try dips! For this, the ideal is to have a dips machine. But if you train at home, you just need to have a place where it is possible to perform this exercise, which consists, placed in support on two parallel bars, down and then back to the strength of the arms. Chairs or trestles can do the trick.

The curl

Like the bench press, the curl is part of the classic bodybuilding exercises. Ideal for developing the biceps, the execution of the curl is simple and consists in bringing the dumbbell at the level of the shoulder, the force of the biceps while performing a rotation of the wrist.

During exercise, only forearms should move and do not use momentum to lift the dumbbell. Exercise can also be done with a drawbar.


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