Breaking down the best workouts to build strong muscle

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2016

By Corey McMickle

I have to share a warm thank you to everyone for their prayers and good wishes concerning the recent events with my daughter.

Along with these messages and conversations have been some awesome questions concerning particular exercises and what’s good for one thing or another. So with this week’s column, I hope to tackle some of my favorite pieces of my routines I simply couldn’t go without for particular workouts, but with a slight deviation to make sure I’m not saying anything you can’t particular tackle by yourself without knowing exactly what you’re doing.

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The number one thing a lot of people want and were concerned about was improving their mass in the chest area. To most people ,this is a no-brainer; just do the simple barbell bench press. While this is a great workout, I believe it’s imperative that there always be someone there to spot (or assist) you when doing this workout. Everyone’s ego always gets the best of them when they do this exercise, and they want to pile on the weight, resulting in you hurting yourself one way or another. Instead, dips are number one in my book. Dips actually isolate your chest and take emphasis off your shoulders and focus more on the pectorals more than everyone’s beloved bench press. The best part? You’ll never need a partner for these.

Chest, check!

Since we mentioned them, what about shoulders? “Shoulder press, duh Corey!” Wrong. Pressing motions have significantly fallen out of favor over the past few years due to the ongoing shoulder problem epidemic continuing to rear its ugly head on everyone. Any raising motions that mimic the natural movement of the shoulders are typically my go to movements. Front raises, lateral raises, rear raises; hit all three heads of the deltoids with these and big (as well as healthy) shoulders will easily start to pop up.

Now that we’ve taken care of shoulders, let’s tackle those chicken wings.

Arms are usually spot-on in most scenarios. Curls actually reign supreme. The problem I have just simply saying, “Do barbell curls 4 lyfe!!” is the fact that these only emphasize the bicep muscles. A great set of arms include you investing in the back of the arms as well; your triceps. This healthy balance of biceps and triceps will start making you have to update your wardrobes simply due to your arms not fitting in some shirts any more. In order to achieve these horseshoe-looking muscles you envy on people with great arms, we have to start with cable pressdowns. Straight bar, v-bar, ez-curl bar; it doesn’t matter which you favor. Just get to getting.

Now my favorite: back. I’m going to tell you, I absolutely love deadlifts. If I was on a stranded island… well, I wouldn’t work out, but if I had to and could only choose one exercise, it would always be deadlifts.

But unless you know what you’re doing (and I mean really know), I’d never advise you to flirt with this idea. So what is a safe alternative? Pull-ups. As much as I love deadlifts, I hate pull-ups; however, I can’t deny the fact that they are just as effective as deadlifts. You can achieve the same thickness and width in your back with pull-ups as you can deadlifting three hundred pounds a handful of times.

Lastly, legs. I hate to say this, but squats are the single most important exercise anyone can learn. Anyone who tells you anything else probably has never done them. Like I tell everyone who argues with me about it, claiming they’re bad for your knees. I tell them, “Squatting isn’t bad for your knees, being overweight is bad for your knees.” Now I’m not saying barbell squatting a million pounds is necessarily the way you may want to go, but hold two 10-pounds weights or one 40-pound weight with both hands and squatting may be more beneficial for you.

Regardless, get in there and squat, and stop listening to people who have no clue what they’re talking about.

As always, take this all with a grain of salt. If you have had hip problems, of course you need to steer clear of squatting. If you have a herniated disc, talk to your doctor about doing anything at all with your back. Use common sense at the very least in the gym, even if we’re not using it anywhere else. Have a great week Port City.