Although it is important for men to engage in any type of exercise to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity, some exercises are more beneficial than others. Men tend to concentrate on the “show” muscles, such as the biceps and chest. Unfortunately, overworking the chest pulls the shoulders forward and creates a concave appearance-the opposite effect they are going for. Focusing on the back muscles, however, can help combat the adverse effects of aging and improve body posture. Strong back and rear deltoid muscles will pull the shoulders back and help keep the spine in proper alignment while also pulling the chest upward, the appearance most men are aiming for. Men tend to ignore the lower half of the body as well, but it is important to strengthen and increase the flexibility of the leg and gluteus muscles to keep the body moving comfortably. Here are ACE's top 10 exercises for men:
TOP 10 EXERCISES FOR MEN
- SQUATS: Since many men would rather concentrate on their upper-body workout, the squat is a great multi-joint lower body exercise that works the gluteus muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings without taking up too much time.
- LEG PRESS: The leg press is also a multi-joint exercise that works the muscles of the lower body. The leg press can be done with one leg at a time to be sure to balance both sides without having one leg do more work than the other.
- HAMSTRING PRESS: Men tend to have tight hamstrings, which can lead to lower back problems and poor posture. Stretching the hamstrings will help keep the strain off the lower back and possibly prevent injury.
- STABILITY BALL CORE STRENGTHENING: Men tend to carry excess weight in the abdominal area, which can cause strain on the lower back. Abdominal work on the stability ball helps strengthen the core muscles, which hold the spine in proper alignment and alleviate strain on the lower back.
- LOW-BACK EXTENTIONS: Working at a desk keeps the muscles of the lower back compressed and rounded, but exercises that work the lower back, such as low back extensions, help keep the spine erect and extended in proper alignment.
- SEATED CABLE ROW: Since the back muscles are responsible for good posture and most of the activity we do during the day forces our bodies to curl forward, the seated cable row is a great exercise to keep the shoulders back and chest open.
- PULL UPS: The pull-up works all the major muscles of the back while also working the core. This multi-purpose exercise also strengthens the deltoids and biceps, which must also contract in order to complete the exercise correctly.
- PUSH-UPS: The push-up, like the pull-up, is a great upper-body exercise that targets the chest, biceps and core muscles. For those who find the basic push-up too easy, a reverse push-up with the feet elevated can help increase the intensity of this exercise.
- TRICEPS DIPS: Men tend to focus their attention on the biceps, but it is important to also work the opposing muscles. Triceps dips are a great exercise that can be done just about anywhere using only body weight for resistance.
- CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE: Cardiovascular exercise is essential for keeping the most vital muscle in the body, the heart, in good shape and staving off heart disease.