5 Common Exercises and Their Benefits

Whenever exercise comes to mind, some people imagine Lycra clad fitness enthusiasts doing countless press-ups in the gym. Then, in an attempt to get fit, some people start doing a random amount of press ups or squats, not knowing what they actually do or how many need to be done in order to benefit from them. So what are the most effective exercises?

We will help answer this question by telling you about five of the most effective exercises including press ups, sit ups, squats, pull ups and crunches. We will discuss how they actually benefit the body; alongside some information on how many should be done to get the desired effect. Doing all of the following exercises will help build overall strength and improve performance in all parts of the body.

Press ups or Push ups; what is the difference?

The only difference between the two names of the exercise is that in Britain they are known as 'press ups', whereas in America they call them 'push ups'.

Press ups, are without a doubt, the most well known exercise, people do them at the gym and school boys boast about how many they can do in one go, but what is to be gained by doing press ups? This exercise builds upper body strength as it works out the chest, shoulders, triceps and abdominals.

The best thing about press ups (or push ups) are that they don’t involve any equipment and can be done anywhere, even in the comfort of your own home. Try doing however many standard press ups you can everyday and steadily increase the amount when it becomes easier, then after a while try modified press ups as there are so many variations.

Sit ups

This is arguably the best exercise that you can do to tone your abdominal muscles and possibly even get abs. Sit ups also work out the lower back which in turn improves body posture; it’s a very common exercise and here is why:

Sit ups strengthen the core allowing greater flexibility in daily activities, they build muscle mass and prevent sarcopenia (experts say that women that can even do at least ten sit ups a day will greatly benefit from this in regards to health) which is the loss of muscle mass due to old age. Sit ups also have the potential to reduce the risk of back pain and increase athletic performance in general.

Although there is some debate between fitness enthusiasts whether sit ups are less effective than some other exercises, like crunches, sit ups have been proven to be a workout essential and doing them regularly will greatly benefit you. When first starting off with sit ups, it can sometimes be a challenge to keep your feet on the floor, if you’re working out at home try sticking them under the edge sofa or if you are with someone get them to stand lightly on your feet.

Squats

Upon contemplation, it becomes apparent that in almost all daily activities, humans use their legs constantly whether it be by walking around or climbing stairs and even just the simple act of sitting down and getting up again. Squats, which are another common workout staple, strengthen the legs and gluteus maximus (buttocks) which increases performance in almost all aspects of life.

The lower body has some of the strongest and largest muscles as legs support the weight of the whole body; working these muscles out will therefore enhance overall performance and not to mention tone your legs and buttocks (this is one of the main reasons why people incorporate squats into their workout).

One of the great things about squats is that, like press ups, they can be done anywhere without any equipment, although once they become less challenging, try giving weighted squats a go. Squats make even simple actions like bending down more easier to do.

Pull Ups

Unlike the first three, this exercise does require equipment, a pull up bar. Setting up a pull up bar isn’t that difficult, it can go somewhere in the garden, if you can’t set up your own then gyms are sure to have them. Here are some benefits of pull ups: they work out a quite a few muscles, from the ones on your arms to core muscles.

Pull ups are quite a difficult thing to start off with, a person who has never done them before might only be able to do two or three and then feel immense strain in the arms. The best advice for this is to keep trying until you can increase the amount, don’t be put off by people who can do twenty or thirty in one go, with motivation and practice; you will be doing the same as well. Pulls ups also increase grip strength which can be helpful in many daily activities and they also help with weight loss, an important benefit.

Crunches

Although crunches look easy to do, after about ten the tension can be felt and that’s a good thing. Crunches help tone the abdominal muscles and allowing a person to get a six pack.

Not heard of a crunch before? Here is how to do it: lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, then put your hands behind your head and curl your shoulders up. Starting off with ten is a good idea them slowly increase the amount as they become easier to do.

Which are best; Sit Ups or Crunches?

A good question to consider is whether a sit up is more effective or a crunch as both seem to work out the same muscles. There is much controversy over which one to do but in the end it’s down to personal opinion as both have valid pros and cons.

Sit ups work a range of muscles such as the abdominals, neck, chest, hips and lower back whereas crunches just work out the abdominals. However although sit ups help gain muscle mass in multiple places, the isolation of the abdominals when doing crunches helps an individual to develop good abs effectively. In terms of cons, crunches are safer than sit ups and involve less risks to the body, but while sit ups help an individual to lose weight, crunches don’t and just build muscle. In conclusion, sit ups are good for general exercise and weight loss but crunches are better for getting abs.

All of the above are exercises that work out various parts of the body, they should definitely be part of any workout as they will improve and build muscle in the entire body. Motivation and the right knowledge is the key to leading an active life style.

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