One of the most common challenges people face at some point in their fitness journey is regaining the lean muscle mass they’ve lost. There are many reasons behind this deficit, including the inability to train due to injury, a break for personal reasons, or an unexpected life situation that has arisen. Lean muscle also naturally declines with age if you don’t exercise to maintain it. It’s not uncommon to experience inconsistencies with your workout routine due to a situation beyond your control. When you’re ready to get back on track, and you will!, we’ve got the best exercises to regain your muscle mass.
When trying to get back into a solid strength training routine, I recommend training three times a week, focusing on full-body sessions. During each of these sessions, it is essential to perform mainly compound movements. Compound movements engage multiple muscle groups and will allow you to progress fairly quickly.
When deciding which exercises to do, it is important to choose a lower body movement, pushing, pulling, single leg and straight arm work. This combination will allow you to fully stimulate your body and help you rebuild that muscle mass. Want to get back to your workout routine and need advice? Here are some examples of exercises to regain muscle mass that you can perform. You have this!
Start your barbell squats with a barbell in each hand. Stand straight with your feet just outside shoulder width apart. Keeping your chest high and your core tight, push your hips back and start squatting until your hips reach a parallel height and the weights are under your shin. Cross your heels to come up, flex your quads and glutes to finish. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
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Begin this exercise by lying flat on an incline bench. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, position them with your palms facing each other. Pull your shoulder blades back, then lower the dumbbells using control. Get a solid chest stretch at the bottom of the movement, then bring the dumbbells back up, flexing your triceps and upper pecs to finish. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
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Begin your Lat Pulldowns by gripping the lat pulldown bar with your palms facing you just outside of your shoulders. Lean back slightly and pull the bar towards your sternum with your elbows, squeezing your lats at the very bottom of the movement. Resist on the way back, maintaining tension in your lats. Get a solid stretch at the top of the movement, letting your shoulder blades lift before performing another rep. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
Start with your Dumbbell Reverse Lungs. Hold a pair of dumbbells and take a long step back with one leg. Plant your heel firmly down, then lower yourself until your back knee touches the ground. Push off with your front leg to come back up, flexing your glutes and quads to finish. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
Grab a pair of dumbbells for this final exercise and get into position. Push your hips back, bending your torso forward at least 45 degrees and keeping your chest high, back straight and knees flexible. With the dumbbells hanging toward the floor and a slight bend in your elbow, raise your arms to either side of you so the dumbbells are parallel to your torso, squeezing the backs of your shoulders together as you do so. Resist on the way back to the starting position before performing another repetition. Complete 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
To perform your Dumbbell Hammer Curls, grab a pair of dumbbells with both hands facing each other using a neutral grip. Keep your shoulders pulled back and curl the weight up, flexing your forearms and biceps the entire time. Squeeze hard at the top, then resist on the way down. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Tim Liu, CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles. Learn more about Tim
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