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Get Ripped with These 8 Essential Exercises

Essential Exercises

Resistance training should be an essential part of any training program for fat loss. It’s more effective than cardio and combined with a good nutrition and supplement regimen, will have you on your way to that ripped physique in no time. The compound, multi-joint exercises are the most effective and efficient for fat loss because they utilize multiple body parts that don’t usually get exhausted from isolation exercises. It takes time and a lot of hard work to get a ripped physique, but it is possible to get the body you’ve always desired.

Every fitness professional has their own ideas about the best methods for bodybuilding and weight loss, but what works for one person might not work for you. You can hire a personal trainer who will teach you the basics and make you accountable for showing up to your gym sessions but if you’re a disciplined person or you can’t afford a trainer then you can do your own research to find the best workouts for you and mix and match lifts for your own circuit training. When you’re starting out there are some staple moves that should be in every bodybuilder’s plan. Compound moves are always the way to go because they work for multiple muscle groups at one time for optimum muscle building and fat loss at the same time.

You also need to be mindful of your diet and cardio exercise when your goal is to get ripped. Too much cardio promotes weight loss, and weight loss results in loss of fat and muscle, not just your unwanted fat. Stick to steady-state cardio only during cutting periods when you want to lose weight, where you scale back your bodybuilding diet and focus solely on weight loss. Cutting periods usually happen after a period of a lot of muscle growth and some weight gain so that you can lose water weight and excess fat to look ripped. Keeping in mind that weight loss involves fat and muscle loss, try to gain weight before starting a cutting period, about 10 pounds more than your target weight so that you don’t lose too much muscle. Remember to keep you diet clean and healthy at all times too. Carbohydrates are a bodybuilder’s best friend when you’re trying to build muscle, but during a cutting phase is sure to significantly decrease your carb intake to promote weight loss.

There are a few basic moves you can stick to for getting ripped. Create a circuit routine or assign different body parts to different days of the week, whatever works best for you. You can vary weight, number of sets, and number of reps for each of these exercises, but these are the 8 essential moves for getting ripped:



Squats target the whole body, with more emphasis on the core and lower body. There are different variations of the squat, including front squats which focus on the quads, and back squats which focus on the glutes and hamstrings (recommended over the front squat because it uses more muscle activation). of your stance also affects which muscles you work the most during squats. Narrow stance squats work the quads while wide stance squats work the glutes and hamstrings.

For weighted squats use barbells, dumbbells, or Swiss balls, but this move is usually done with a barbell in a squat rack for safety. Set the barbell on the rack above shoulder level then step under the bar with your shoulders across it. Hold the bar with both arms and lift it off the rack by pushing with your legs and straightening the torso to stand up straight. Step away from the rack and place feet shoulder width apart, keeping a straight back at all times and head up. Now that you’re in starting position, lower the bar slowly as you bend your knees and sit back into a squat position until the hamstrings are almost at calf level. Exhale as you raise the bar back up by straightening your legs and extending the hips to starting position.



Deadlifts work the entire back and core as well as large body muscles from the shoulders to the legs, putting the on the glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips, and abs. The lower back is usually one of the weakest body parts which can lead to instability and injuries during deadlifts so it is an important strengthening exercise but it requires careful execution throughout the entire movement.

To do a deadlift you should be standing with your feet halfway under the barbell with feet apart and toes slightly turned out. Grab the bar with a narrow grip, hands at shoulder width, and arms placed just outside the legs. As you go in for the lift, bend your knees until your shins reach the bar, then lift your chest as you straighten your back without moving the bar or dropping your hips. Pull the bar as you stand up straight, keeping the bar against your legs and locking your hips and knees. Return the barbell to the floor by pushing back the hips and bending your legs as the bar lowers to knee height.

Power Clean

Power Clean

This exercise uses the same muscles as a deadlift but usually involves lifting less weight. It is a compound move to work the legs, quads, glutes, upper back, and deltoids. This is one of the most effective exercises for fat loss when done correctly.

Power cleans are a complex bodybuilding move requiring several phases to complete. For Phase 1, stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width and toes slightly pointed outward. Squat down to grasp the bar with palms down in a closed grip. Your hands should be at the same width apart as your feet, outside the knees with elbows extended. Place the barbell 1 inch in front of the shins and let your back arch slightly with chest up and shoulders retracted. Phase 2 is the first pulling phase in which you start by lifting the bar off the floor by extending the hips and knees forcefully while exhaling. Keep your elbows fully extended, shoulders over the bar, with the bar staying very close to the shins as it rises. In Phase 3, thrust the hips forward and bend the knees so they don’t lock as you bring the bar past the knees and keep your back arched slightly.

Now at the halfway point, Phase 4 brings you into the second pulling phase. Still keeping the bar close to the body, extend the hips and knees to stand up on your toes. Shrug the shoulders upward without flexing your elbows to pull your body under the bar and continue to pull your arms as high as possible. Phase 5 moves into catch phase as the bar reaches the maximum height and you rotate your arms around the bar. Flex your hips and knees to move into a quarter squat and lift the elbows so that the upper arms are parallel to the floor. Then, catch the bar in front of the collar bones and extend the hips and knees again to stand. Finally moving into Phase 6, lower the bar slowly by reducing tension in the arms until the bar reaches the thighs. Flex your hips and knees to cushion the weight of the bar on the thighs and squat until the bar touches the floor.

Bench Press

Bench Press

This power move is the primary lift for working the pectoral muscles. There are a lot of variations for this move to target different areas of the chest using different types of weights or altering your grip width on the barbell, but first, learn how to do a basic bench press.

To do this move, lay with your back flat on a bench. Prepare to lift the barbell out of the rack with a medium grip, then lift and hold it straight over your head with locked arms. Now that you’re in the starting position, inhale then slowly bring the bar down until it touches the middle of your chest, pause for a second, then exhale as you push the bar back to starting position. If you’re new to this move it’s a good idea to use a spotter or be conservative with how much weight you put on the bar.

Reverse Bent Over Row

Reverse Bent Over Row

This move works the back, the biggest upper body muscle group. The back muscles include the area from the top of the trapezius all the way down to the hips, and this is a great move for counterbalancing the bench press which works the front of the upper body. It uses more muscles than the traditional bent over row, making it a better multifunctional lift for building muscle. You can also change your grip width to target different back muscles, or elevate your feet on a bench to increase intensity.

For this move, stand up straight holding a barbell with palms up. Start by bending the knees to bring the torso forward, then bend at the waist while keeping your back straight until it is parallel to the floor. Your head should still be up and the barbell should be hanging directly in front of you with arms perpendicular to the floor. Now keep the elbows close to your body and your torso still while you squeeze the back muscles then slowly lower the weight back to starting position.



Pull-ups are another exercise great for working all of the back muscles, especially the latissimus dorsi. Try a variety of variations to every muscle group in the back. This is also an exercise that can be done fully using body weight or on an assisted machine if you aren’t strong enough for a regular pull-up from the beginning (which most people aren’t).

This is a simple (albeit very difficult) exercise to do. To complete a pull-up, use an underhand grip on the bar, then bend your elbows as you use your back to pull your body up until your head is above the bar. To work up to a full pull-up try isometric holds, negatives, assisted pull-ups, and partner pull-ups.

Military Press

Military Press

This move is also commonly known as the shoulder press. It targets the deltoids by forcing you to stabilize your core when done in a standing position instead of using a bench for support. Barbells are a preferable weight method for this exercise so that you don’t create muscle or strength imbalances from unilateral dumbbell movements.

Before you begin this move, place a barbell at chest height on a squat rack. Once you’ve added the appropriate amount of weight, grip the barbell with palms forward and hands wider than shoulder width apart. Bend your knees slightly, place the barbell on the collar bone and lift it while it stays lying on the chest. Take a step backward and position the feet shoulder width apart, then lift the bar overhead into starting position. To do one rep, lower the bar to collarbone height while inhaling, then exhale as you return the bar to starting position.



This is the best exercise out there for working the triceps. Start off with bench dips (hands on a bench and feet on the floor) to build up strength before progressing to dips on dip bars. you’ll even be able to add weight to bar dips with a dumbbell between the feet or a hanging plate. You can vary the on these moves to build more muscle with slower reps at heavier weight or do them quickly for cardio workout.

To do a dip using your own , position your hands at shoulder width on a bench or chair then slide your butt off the bench and extend your legs in front of you. Straighten your arms with a small bend in the elbows to keep weight off the elbow joints, and slowly bend the elbows as you lower your body toward the floor until the elbows are at a 90-degree angle. As you reach the bottom of the movement, straighten your elbows again to return to starting position.

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