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How to Gain Lean Muscle - Four Easy Ways

1. Do push-ups: the good, old push-up. A much hated exercise at the school gym during sport, but ultimately a simple and useful technique that focuses on your pectoral muscles (upper body chest muscles) and of course, your arms (biceps and to a small extent, your triceps).

There are 2 ways to do it. Due differing strengths of male and women, men are expected to have their toes touching the ground, keep their back straight, have both hands flat on the floor, bend their arms until they are 90 degrees and then push themselves back up. Women: cross legs at the knees, have one over the other and balance yourself on one knee. Back should also be straight and bend identically to male push-up.

2. Do bicep curls: rummaging around in the basement, I found an old set of weights my uncle used to use. They were a 5 kilo and a 10 kilo set, which could be screwed on and screwed off. The way that I did it, which resulted in thicker muscles, was to firstly sit in a high chair, then let the weight hang from my arm. Keeping my upper arm still, I would bend at the elbow until I was slightly above horizontal level, then slowly let it drop back down again. You do it slowly so you control it all the way; letting it go quickly will result in damage.

3. Swiss balls: These things are awesome. They cost about $20, you blow them up with the included pumper, and there are all sorts of possibilities with them. I learned this technique from an online video. Lay flat on the ground and grab the ball with your legs. Gradually lift your legs up to about 45 degrees, and gently lower it back down. I personally did about 12-15 repetitions to start off with, but as my stomach muscles got stronger (and a more defined six pack) I could do up to 20. Alternatively, you may put your hands behind your head and do a stomach crunch, bending your legs while holding the ball, bring the ball towards your body and moving your head towards the ball. This focuses on your upper stomach muscles.

4. Barbell curls: I was pretty insistent on strengthening my upper body, but did not have a proper barbell. My bathroom towel rack had broken and one of the poles came loose. You guessed it: that became my bar. Given that it was slightly loose, I still experienced the familiar burn of lactic acid in my muscles as I did barbell curls. Carry the barbell in front of you with both hands. Keeping your upper arms rigid, curl up from your elbows until the bar reaches your chin. Slowly drop the barbell so that it reaches the place it started. It is important to keep your upper arms rigid so that the workout is more accurate, focusing the strain on your biceps. Again, this is good for upper body as well.

Let these four steps be the basis of your work out. They were for me and I still use them today to stay fit and strong. A pair of dumbbells costs around $50 but it i a solid investment for a person just starting out, as you can get a feel of what it is like to work out. Do not give up; if it feels like there is a cold burning in your muscle, that means it is working! Do it for yourself and a better, healthier you.


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